This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Iactantia: a rant.

The English, said James Agate, instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it.

It's certainly true that on the whole the English traditionally don't like swankThis is perhaps why our finest private houses tend to be hidden at the end of mile-long drives, disguised as warehouses, or carefully designed so they appear to be made out of a baby giant's toy bricks.

But there are, nevertheless, people in England who swank: they might flaunt their gold, brandish some form of new technology, or display a personalised car number plate. 

The effect on the rest of us is generally a glow of warm, as well as very happy, contempt.

Just sometimes, though, an example of swank appears that's so blatant, so ridiculous, that it comes surrounded by a sort of halo of joyful astonishment. 

I saw a car parked outside the ancient, famous, and expensive school Winchester College a couple of weeks ago. 

Its personalised number plate was in Latin.

URB1S: of the city.

Outrageous? Yes. Full of arrogance? Yes. Still making me smile?

Yes - and, you know something? 

I think it always will.

Word To Use Today: swank. This word might be from the Middle German swanken, to sway.

Now, a Middle German number plate. That would really be something...

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