This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 3 March 2017

Word To Use Today: stompie.

A stompie is South African slang for a short man or a cigarette butt, and to pick up stompies is a brilliant expression, also South African, for something we've all done but never before been able to describe very well.

There's a nice example in PG Wodehouse's Meet Mr Mulliner:

Two men were sitting in the bar-parlour of the Angler's Rest as I entered it; and one of them...was telling a story. I could hear nothing but an occasional 'Biggest I ever saw in my life!' and 'Fully as large as that!'...when the story-teller finished his tale and left...[the other man] came over to my table.

'Dreadful liars some men are,' he observed, genially.

'Fishermen,' I suggested, 'are traditionally careless of the truth.'

'He wasn't a fisherman,' said my companion, 'That was our local doctor. He was telling me about his latest case of dropsy.'

You see? The narrator had been picking up stompies, that is, coming into a conversation late and misunderstanding what was being talked about.

And my life's all the richer for knowing that.

Word To Use Today: stompie. This word comes from stump, and is basically Germanic and related to stamp.

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