This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday 31 May 2019

Word To Use Today: splat.

One may regret the passing of the seventeenth century, and with it the passing of both Shakespeare and piccadill collars:

one may look back with longing at the Age of Reason, and feel that perhaps the couplets of Alexander Pope:

Spin all your cobwebs o'er the eye of day
The Muse's wing shall brush you all away.

 were a trifle more elegant than those of Dizzee Rascal:

I gaze quite a lot, in fact I gaze always
And if I blaze, then I gaze always my days

It may even be the case that civilisation just suddenly seems much too much and nothing appeals more than a chance to sit round a camp-fire and gnaw at the leg of a mammoth.

I get all that. I really do.

But what do we have that none of those times had?

Something simple, free, and at the same time hugely satisfying?

The word splat.

The best things in life, eh?

Word To Use Today: splat. This word wasn't coined until the 1800s. As well as being a lovely wet slapping sound a splat is also a long flat piece of wood, especially one that makes the centre strut of the back of a chair.

Thursday 30 May 2019

Safe words: a rant.

A new clause is being written into the contracts of some Hollywood actresses.

If an actress's role involves a scene of intimacy then 'safe words' are now available to bring a halt to the proceedings if some other person in the scene is beginning to get over-excited.

Examples of such words are, apparently, pineapple, sweet potato or mayonnaise.

Now, they say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and if that is in fact the case then these words would be unlikely to cool his ardour. But the principle of using a word that'll shine a bit of daylight into a steamy situation is sound enough.

There must be better ones than mayonnaise, though.

How about bubonic plague? 

Or Income Tax Return?

Or, better still, it might be a good idea, if you want legal force and clarity, to stick with the simple word stop.

Word To Use Today: intimacy. In Roman times an intimus was a very close friend,. The word comes from intus, which means within.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Nuts and Bolts: monsters and microwaves.

Which animal do the French call after a snake-haired monster?

Some clues: if you were Danish you would call it vandman, which means water man.

If Spanish aguamala, or bad water.

In Hungarian, it would be an erélytelen ember, or feckless one.*

Any ideas?

I was led to this subject after being told that in Welsh this animal is called a pysgod wibli wobli. Sadly that turned out not to be quite true. The term pysgod wibli wobli has become very popular in Wales (it is, after all, utterly delightful) but the normal Welsh word for this animal (all right, it's the jellyfish) is pysgod môr.

Still, to console us, there's also another new and popular Welsh term, this time for the microwave, the popity ping, or oven that goes ping. 

The idea of it warms me to the core of my being.

Word To Use Today: your local one for jellyfish.

*Or so the notoriously inaccurate Google translate tells me.

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Thing Not To Be Today: prissy.

The one thing that everyone's agreed upon about prissy people is that they're annoying.

Prissy people are correct - correct, I mean, in the sense of conforming to the pettier rules of good manners.

A prissy person will surround a guest with napkins and an appetite-extinguishing anxiety about crumbs.

A prissy person will cock her little finger when taking tea (why does anyone do that???).

A prissy person will always wear an outfit exactly three and a half degrees more formal than is suitable for the occasion, and therefore give the (completely justified) impression of disapproving of everyone else in the room.

Yes, there's a lot of parade with a prissy person.

And there's never any doubt at all in the mind of the prissy person who should be be leading the show.

Thing Not To Be Today: prissy. This word first appeared, in America, in 1895. It seems to have been made up by the writer Joel Chandler Harris, but whether it's a mixture of prim and fussy, or an alteration of precise, no one knows.

It's a jolly good word, however it came about. I mean, you can practically hear the purse-mouth, fuss and frills, can't you?

Monday 27 May 2019

Spot the Frippet: jingo.

A jingo is, according to my dictionary, a loud and bellicose patriot.

Fortunately, they're not usually hard to spot.

Spot the Frippet: jingo. This word appeared in the 1600s, probably as a polite version of Jesus. The aggressive-patriot meaning probably came about in the 1800s because of a music hall song which used By jingo! in its chorus.

Sunday 26 May 2019

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: megaphanerophyte.

A megaphanerophyte is a term used by botanists to describe a tree - any tree - over thirty metres in height.

And, you know something? 

Sometimes I wonder how well these botanists really understand the point of language.

Sunday Rest: megaphanerophyte. The word is made up of Greek bits: mega, huge or powerful, phaneros, visible, and -phyte, plant.

Yes, I'm wondering how many invisible plants there are about the place, too.

Saturday 25 May 2019

Saturday Rave: The Love-Sick Boy by W S Gilbert.

It may not be very poetic, nor very burnishing to the self-importance, but the fact remains that most love-affairs turn out to be comedies rather than tragedies.

Well, they do if we would only let them.

When first my old, old love I knew,
My bosom welled with joy;
My riches at her feet I threw -
I was a love-sick boy!
No terms seemed too extravagant
Upon her to employ -
I used to mope, and sigh, and pant,
Just like a love-sick boy!
Tink-a-tank! Tink-a-tank!

But joy incessant palls the sense;
And love, unchanged, will cloy,
And she became a bore intense
Unto her love-sick boy!
With fitful glimmer burnt my flame,
And I grew cold and coy,
At last, one morning, I became
Another's love-sick boy.
Tink-a-tank! Tink-a-tank!


Tink-a-tank indeed.

Well, probably. (Sorry, no idea at all.)

Word To Use Today: bosom. English-speakers have had bosoms since Old English times. The word then was bōsm

This song is sung during Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury.

The trial is, of course, one for breach of promise.

Friday 24 May 2019

Word To Use Today: temperature.

I think I've got a temperature...

...well, of course I have. Even dead people have a temperature, although it tends to be low.

What I really mean, of course, is that I think I have got a fever.

Ah well. 

I suppose the great thing is that I feel only half dead.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Word To Use Today: temperature. This word came into the English language in the 1500s, when it meant a mingling. It comes from the Latin word temperātūra, proportion, from temperāre, to temper.


Thursday 23 May 2019

Beast Police: a rant.

A policeman's lot is not a happy one, says the old song, and it's certainly true that despite all the work the police forces of the world do to keep us all safe (yes, I do realise that some of you will be laughing mockingly) the public isn't shy about hurling insults at the boys in...well, they used to be boys in blue round here, but nowadays they tend to come in luminous green.

Scum, Pigs, Bœufs (French, because of their supposedly blank stare) Chimps (Completely Hopeless In Most Policing Situations), Chien (dog) Filth, Fuzz, Plod (Enid Blyton character), Moosor (Russian, garbage), Rati (Argentinian, from word for rat), Schmier (Swiss, grease (as in corruption)).

Hey, but what was that about fuzz? That's an odd one. It's not even obviously an insult. Where did that come from?

Well, the common view is that it refers to the static interference to be heard on police radios, but a sentence in the Telegraph online of May 14 may provide a different explanation. It describes a police investigation into a man who had claimed that various very high-ranking officials in British life had been members of a murderous ring of child abusers.

The man, the report tells us

was now the suspect as police officers pawed over the allegations with a fine-tooth comb.

Well, if the police have paws then I think we can see where the word fuzz came from, can't we?

Word To Use Today: paw. This word comes from the Old French powe, paw or fist. Before that, no one's sure, but there's a lovely German word Pfote which might be related to it.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Nuts and Bolts: contractions.

Contractions happen when you miss out a bit of a word (or two).

Don't is an obvious example. And I'll, can't, won't...there are plenty of them.

In English they're used a lot, but they aren't compulsory; you can always say (or write) do not, I will (or I shall) cannot or will not.

Some other languages are different. In French, for example, a lot of contractions are compulsory in both in speech and writing - c'est, l'arbre.

Spoken contractions are common everywhere. (How many of us say, for example, the word everywhere, ev-er-ee-wair, and not evreewair?). And I remember with affection the wonderful Alan Coren's stories featuring taxi drivers who seemed to end every sentence narmean?*

The important thing is to remember is that when you use a contraction you're not being wrong, or sloppy: you're doing grammar!

Word To Use Today: contraction. The Latin word contrahere means to draw together.

*Do you know what I mean?

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Thing Not To Be Today: a tattie-bogle.

Here's a lovely example of the Scots tongue:


A tattie is a potato (tattie-peelin, bafflingly, means to be affected or pretentious) and a bogle is an evil sprite.

And a tattie-bogle?

Would that be some nasty power which makes potatoes go bad? Some sort of blight sprite, in fact?

Or would that be the unfortunate habit potatoes have of shrinking the waistbands of all one's favourite clothes?


A tattie-bogle is a scare crow.

File:Scarecrow. Drawing by Carus.jpg
Illustration by Carus.

Potatoes were a vital and common crop in Scotland in the 1800s, but I've never heard of birds eating potatoes (wouldn't they have to dig them up, first?) so I can only guess that perhaps the tattie-bogle was put there to frighten spirits away from stealing the potatoes. 

In any case, the principle remains: it's best to avoid the tattie-bogle look if you can.

Thing Not To Be Today: a tattie-bogle. Bogle comes from the Scots bogill, perhaps from Gaelic. The Middle Welsh bwg means ghost.

Monday 20 May 2019

Spot the Frippet: phyllotaxis.

Well, everyone knows what taxis are, and phyllo means to do with leaves, so...

...*scratches head*...

Here are some examples of phyllotaxis:

By Anders Sandberg from Oxford, UK - PhyllotaxisUploaded by Jacopo Werther, CC BY 2.0,

photo by Stan Shebs

photo and diagram by Jean-Luc W 

Phyllotaxis concerns the arrangement of leaves round a stem.

It's a thing to induce a sense of wonder in the mathematician, the artist and the mystic.

Choose which of those categories describe you best: and admire!

Spot the Frippet: phyllotaxis. This word comes from the Greek word phullon, which means leaf. The Greek word taxis means order. 

Sunday 19 May 2019

Sunday Rest: never. Word Not To Use Today.

In the words of the old saying, never say never...


...which just goes to prove, as the expression requires us to say the thing we're not supposed to be saying - twice! - that the old ones aren't necessarily the best.

Doesn't it.

Word Not To Use Today: the n word. That is, the one that starts with an n and ends with ever. It means, basically, not ever, and it comes from the Old English æfre, ever, with an n bunged on the front, which was a common Old English way of creating opposite meanings.

Saturday 18 May 2019

Saturday Rave: The Lost anf Fabulous Work of Omar Khayyam.

Omar Khayyam? He was a poet, of course - 

- except that actually he might not have been a poet at all.

What Omar Khayyam (1048 - 1131) definitely was, was a mathematician and astronomer. No, really. He wrote all sorts of serious stuff about the real number concept, the theory of parallels, binomial theory, and the solution of cubic equations. He invented a calendar, too.

He also wrote a treatise on extracting the nth root of natural numbers. But that, sadly, has been lost.

So why is he famous as a poet, if he didn't write poetry?

Well, what seems to have happened is that when people came across odd bits of orphan poetry about the place (which was Persia, nowadays known as Iran), they tended to attributed it to Omar Khayyam just because he was someone famous. Some of the poetry may even have been his, but the vast majority of it probably isn't.

This is plainly all deeply unfair, but, hey, it just goes to prove that what will survive of us is Art.

Here's a verse which may or may not have been written by Omar Khayyam. 

Whoever wrote it was a terrific poet, anyway.

Khayyam, who stitched the tents of science,
Has fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned,
The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,
And the broker of Hope has sold him nothing!

Word To Use Today: Khayyam means tent maker.

Friday 17 May 2019

Word To Use Today: maccaboy.

I accept that using this word is going to be a challenge, but it's such a lovely word, maccaboy, so full of energy and bounce, that it will add exotic grace any vocabulary.

Maccaboy is a dark rose-scented sort of snuff. (Snuff is powdered tobacco. You sniff it. It makes you sneeze. Yes, very odd.)

I can just remember people taking snuff. Well, I can remember one person taking snuff. There was an old man who was sometimes on the bus to town when I was a very little girl (this was in the 1960s). He was smelly, filthy and fat, poor man, and his handkerchief, when he dragged it out of one of his many pockets after he'd sneezed, was a thing of dreadful, horrid fascination.

I doubt this man's snuff was anything as refined as maccaboy, but I note the essences used in vaping also involve exotic scents.

So, it seems, the folly of man is constant, if not the fashions.

Word To Use Today: maccaboy. This word comes from the French macouba, from the name of the district of Martinique where it was made. 

Thursday 16 May 2019

Pulling the trigger: a rant.

This is from the Telegraph online, 5th May 2019:

A Dundee University professor could be in for a £400m payday of one of Britain's brightest biotech companies decides to pull the trigger on its market debut plans

but what I want to know is, will the trigger start a race or shoot someone?

Word To Use Today: trigger. This word appeared in English in the 1600s as tricker, and came from the Dutch trekken, which means to march or journey, and before that to pull (as in an ox cart). Trek is basically the same word.

Having now read the whole thing, it seems that this trigger will start a race - though apparently, according to the article, the backers of the company haven't nailed down which Stock Exchange it will float on, yet.

Mind you, if they do nail it down, I can't see how it's going float, can you?

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Nuts and Bolts: micro aggression.

Micro aggression occurs when assumptions are made about a group of people because of their inherent identity.

It doesn't have to be an derogatory assumption. It can be positive (people from your country are all so clever!) neutral (so, where do you come from, originally?) or negative (the only place you men are any use is in bed or under the kitchen sink).

(If you don't see anything wrong with the positive assumption, above, then think what it would be like to be, say, a stupid child from that country. Or a very hard-working one. Mortifying, eh?)

Another troubling aspect of micro aggression is that it positions one group as normal and another as odd. There are all sorts of other difficulties, too. For one thing, micro aggression is almost impossible to study scientifically to find out what's really going on. For another, the idea of micro aggression can encourage people to see themselves as victims, thus taking up valuable head space which might be better employed in being happy.

Yet other problem, of course, is that it's such a misleading term - being not necessarily either tiny or aggressive - that most people don't have a clue what it is.

Thing To Consider Today: micro aggression. The word aggression comes from the Latin aggrēdi, to attack. The term micro aggression was coined by Chester M Pierce in 1970.

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Thing To Do Today: zhush up something.

(You say the zh like the j in the French je.)

To zhush up something is to make it more special or more noticeable and attractive.

You might zhush up a dress with a small tiara (the gentlemen among you could perhaps borrow one from an aunt or sister) or you could zhush up a meal with some edible gold flakes (guaranteed to add an intriguing sparkle to your plate of chips).

An otherwise uninspiring report for work will be made unforgettable by being adorned with small pictures of winged unicorns; and a simple lace ruffle will make your bathroom bleach bottle part of a glamorous luxury lifestyle.

And as for a blog post...

...well, how about these lovely people, to set us an example?

File:Drag Queens at High Heel Drag Race.jpg
photo by dbking

Have a gloriously glitzy day!

Thing To Do Today: zhush up something. This word goes back to perhaps the late 1960 s. It might have come from Polari.

Monday 13 May 2019

Spot the Frippet: loft.

This is an easy spot for me because I'm actually in a loft as I type. Most of my view is taken up by a huge ash tree which is showing no signs of sprouting even though the oaks behind it are nearly in full leaf.

When the oak's before the ash
Then there's bound to be a splash
When the ash's before the oak
Then there's bound to be a soak.

Yep: so it's going to be a wet summer, whatever. Ah well.

It's a common thing round here for houses to have their lofts converted into rooms, and a stroll along any street will disclose the tell-tale window of a loft extension among the tiles:

File:Chandos Avenue, Oakleigh Park.JPG
photo by Philafrenzy 

But it's not only people who live in lofts:

File:Pigeon Loft - panoramio.jpg
pigeon loft. Photo by Dg-505

Balls which are made to fly upwards also have loft, especially golf balls:

File:Lee Westwood bunker.jpg
Lee Westward in a bunker. Photo by Steven Newton.

Most marvellously of all (though you're sadly unlikely to spot one) a loft is a full-size drawing of a ship's hull or aeroplane, drawn by a loftsman.

Well, t
hat must be an absolutely wonderful job for someone with brilliant drawing and engineering skills and body odour issues, mustn't it?

Spot the Frippet: loft. This word has been around in English for about a thousand years or so. The Old Norse lopt meant air or ceiling, and is the same basic word as the German Luft, air, as in Luftwaffe.

Sunday 12 May 2019

Sunday Rest: unhat. Word Not To Use Today.

Unhat has been a word for quite a long time, but until now its meaning has been, reasonably enough, the action of taking off one's hat.

But now suddenly the unhat is the accessory of the season. 

What is one

An unhat is a decoration for the head which isn't actually, well, a hat.

I don't know exactly where the perimeters of the unhat lie, but examples include hairbands, large hair clips, large bows, wisps of veil, and even those horrid stretchy little jersey turbans.

Would a knotted handkerchief count as an unhat

I don't know, to be honest, but I'd just love to see them worn at the next society wedding.

Anyway, unhat is a silly word for this sort of thing. These things aren't un-hats but not-quite-hats.

Actually, I like that....a notquiteahat? A notahat? 

No...they're too difficult to pronounce and understand.

A nottahat?

Oh dear, no, that's a monstrosity.

Ah well. All these things do have names already, don't they.

I can only suggest that we use them.

Word Not To Use Today: unhat. The Old English form of the word hat was hætt. The word goes right back to the Latin cassis, which means helmet.

Saturday 11 May 2019

Saturday Rave: Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Sembula Peyaneerar

Some people say this Tamil poem is twelve thousand years old, but most of those who claim to be expert say it was probably written in the first three hundred years AD.

It's the only poem we have by Sembula Peyaneerar.

It's very short, but layered with meaning, from the obvious image of the monsoon rain rushing to merge and soften the baked earth which allows the flowers to bloom, to (I'm told) the unmentioned but always present kurinji flower, which blooms every twelve years and is a symbol of a girl's maturity.

What could my mother be to yours?
What kin is my father to yours anyway?
And how did you and I ever meet?

But in love our hearts have mingled
Like red earth and pouring rain.

In the beautiful Tamil script it looks like this:

குறிஞ்சி - தலைவன் கூற்று
யாயும் ஞாயும் யாரா கியரோ,
எந்தையும் நுந்தையும் எம்முறைக் கேளிர்,
யானும் நீயும் எவ்வழி யறிதும்,
செம்புலப் பெயனீர் போல,
அன்புடை நெஞ்சம் தாங்கலந் தனவே.
-செம்புலப் பெயனீரார். 

File:Kurinji Flowers.jpg
kurinji flower, photo by Johirsuresh1998

Word To Use Today: earth. This word comes from the Old English eorthe, and is related to the Greek erā.

Friday 10 May 2019

Word To Use Today: oligopsony.

Ollie who? I hear you ask.


The dictionary will tell you that an oligopsony is a situation where  demand for a product comes from a very small group of people.

An obvious example might seem to be crowns:

File:Denmark crown.jpg
Crown of King Christian IV of Denmark. Photo by Ikiwaner

but an oligopsony doesn't really work in that way. An oligopsony is really when there are lots of people producing a product, but only a very few people to whom they can sell it.

Publishing is like that at the moment: there are a few very large publishers (who run lots of imprints, which disguises the fact that there are so few of them), and they publish the majority of books. This means that writers don't have too much choice about where to sell their work. The American tobacco industry works in a similar way, as do supermarkets in Britain. The producers have nowhere outside the oligopsony to sell their products, and so they have to accept the prices offered by this small group of purchasers.

No prizes for guessing that these are generally only just high enough to stop the producers from going out of business.

Well they are if the producers are lucky, anyway.

Word To Use Today: oligopsony. This word comes from the Greek olígos, meaning little or few (as in, coincidentally, the scruples of the purchasers) and the other Greek word opsōnia, which means purchase of food.

Thursday 9 May 2019

She is not amused: a rant.

The Scottish Maritime Museum has suffered an incident of vandalism. On a display board describing the steam yacht Rifle, all references to the vessel as she have been scratched out.

And what has happened next? Has the museum put up some CCTV to catch the blighter who did it? 

No, the museum has decided to change all references to vessels from she to it.

Admiral Lord West is not amused:

'It’s about time that those in charge of our institutions realised that they cannot let a vocal minority of right-on fools, often utilising the power of social media, push the rest of us around. Our history and traditions cannot be held hostage by people who choose to be perennially offended.'

Powerful stuff, eh?

As it happens, both the Navy and the British Marine Industries Federation agree with the Admiral. They will continue to call ships she

And why not, after all? It's not as if calling a ship she is in any way an insult to women. A ship is the fostering mother of her crew. A ship will always be treated with respect for the same reason a plane is treated with respect: because all lives aboard depend upon it.

There are, as far as I can see, two matters arising. 

First, how will the offended vandal get on if he or she goes to one of the many countries in the world where nouns are routinely assigned a more or less random gender (and the majority of languages have such a system)?

And, second, I do hope there aren't any militant feminist bell ringers out there. Because I'd hate to think that English ringers will no longer be called to attention with the words Look to; treble's going; she's gone.

Word To Use Today: she. No one is completely sure why a ship is called she, but it's likely it is a reference to the goddesses and saints which have long been called upon to look after sailors.

PS Ice breakers in Finland and French ships are masculine, and German and Dutch ships are neuter. 

There may be some conclusion to be drawn from this, but if there is I don't know what it is.

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Nuts and Bolts: pararhymes.

A pararhyme is a sort of rhyme - the sort of rhyme, in fact, that doesn't actually...well, rhyme.

A rhyme is where you have two or more words with the same final vowel sound and final consonant sound: hat, mat, cat, sat, for example, or more sore door. Or orange, sporange.

A pararhyme is where the consonants are the same, but the vowel sound is different: fire, fore, for example, or bet, bat, or clonk clank.

To be a pararhyme, all the consonants have to be the same, not just the final one. Otherwise it's a half-rhyme.

Pararhymes are obligatory in Welsh cynghanedd poetry, and their use in English has been a particular feature of poets with experience of living in Wales, such as Wilfred Owen and Robert Graves.

The general effect is rather like running across a ploughed field. 

But then that's one of the excitements of life.

Words To Use Today: a pararhyme. Why not see if you can get one into the most boring piece of writing you have to do today. 

The term pararhyme was coined by the poet Edmund Blunden. The word rhyme comes from the Old High German rīm, which means a number. (The silly spelling is mostly because of the Greek-derived spelling of the word rhythm.) 

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Thing To Be Glad Someone Else Is Doing Today: clooming.

I learned a new verb at the weekend: to cloom.

It seems to be a noun, too: you use cloom to cloom something.

Most of the dictionaries, when they deign to acknowledge the word's existence at all, give the definition to seal up with glutinous matter; but as they give no hint as to why anyone might want to seal something up with glutinous matter it really doesn't get anyone anywhere.

I myself came across the word because my son-in-law is making a straw skep, which, when finished, he will cloom. (A skep is a woven bee hive, usually made out of willow or straw.) The cloom is a mucky mix involving cow dung (apparently calves' dung is the very best) which you slather it all over the skep, where it acts as waterproofing, insulation, and draft-proofing.

File:Ruche traditionnelle en osier enduit.jpg
photo by Edouard Hue

It's a job that needs doing, obviously.

But on the whole I rejoice that someone else is keen enough to do it.

Although, I don't know...the word is possibly due a revival when it comes to face packs.

photo by Omcadam - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Thing To Be Glad Someone Else Is Doing Today: clooming. This word probably used to be cloam, which means adhesive mud. The Old English clām means mud or clay. There was probably a West Germanic word something like klaim which meant to smear, and that would be connected as well. 

Monday 6 May 2019

Spot the Frippet: chowk.

This is a word of the Indian sub-continent, but it's got an entry in the Collins English dictionary so I don't see why we all shouldn't use it.

You say it, as you'd expect, to rhyme with...actually, I can't think of anything that rhymes with it, but the ow bit is like the vowel sound you find in in owl or howl or jowl. The ch as in church.

What is it?

A chowk is a market place:

File:Lajpat Nagar marketplace in 2006.jpg
Lajpat Nagar market, Delhi, photo by Ville Miettenen

or a courtyard:

File:Courtyard of Samode Haveli, Jaipur.jpg
Jaipur, photo by Richard Moross

a road junction:

or a roundabout:

File:Old Street Roundabout from above in 2012.jpg
Old Street Roundabout, London. Photo by Jack Torcello

But all these places seem become much livelier and more full of promise when you know they're also called chowks.

Well, they do to me, anyway.

Spot the Frippet: chowk. This word comes from the Urdu caukīdār, from caukī, toll house and -dār keeper.