This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Thursday, 11 February 2016

An epic rant.

'And here he is, coming round the last bend and this has been an epic run!'

'Last night's party? Yeah, it was epic!'

'Oh no, I forgot the oregano. Talk about an epic fail!'

Well, all right, then, if you insist, I will talk about an epic fail. How about Captain Scott's Antarctic expedition dying of hunger and cold just a few miles from safety? Or The Charge of the Light Brigade? 

The Battle of the Somme?

Or how about a straight-forward epic? Originally that was a long poem relating in elevated language the deeds of a hero or two. 

Homer was quite good at them.

(That's Horatius, of bridge fame, engraved by Hendrick Goltzius (yes, I know he's nothing to do with Homer, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing how gloriously ill-dressed and camp he is).)

But, hey, you know something? This need to narrate one's life in terms of imperishable heroism... some ways it's actually quite sweet, isn't it.

Word To Use Today But Only Either Accurately or Ironically: epic  This word comes from the Greek epikos, from epos, speech, word, or song.


  1. When I was young, I used to pop into the Games Workshop in Oxford to look at their models (orcs, goblins, tanks, etc). One of their tabletop warring games was called Epic, and that featured much smaller models than the other games, so that you could have more of them on the table and recreate much bigger battles. However, because the models were smaller, I thought 'epic' therefore meant 'miniature' or 'small' or something like that which, perhaps, was an epic fail of understanding.

    1. That's fascinating. I wonder how long it took for the manufacturers to come up with the name?