Doing our wordy bit
I CAN is a charity that’s running an Adopt a Word campaign, where £15 gives you custody of a word for a year. You get a certificate and the knowledge that your money is going to help kids who have trouble with speech and language.
I recently adopted ‘darkling’. I think it's lovely and evocative (which is another nice word). I’m in good company – lots of celebs have signed up to the scheme. Stephen Fry adopted ‘wordy’ (which might mean he can sue me for using it in the title of this post). Cherie Blair chose ‘potential’ while Liza Tarbuck went for ‘squit’ (apparently there’s a non-dodgy-tummy meaning). And Graham Norton plumped for ‘frolic’.
This got me thinking about some famous (and fictional) faces of the past. Which word would Henry VIII adopt? ‘Divorce’, ‘dissolution’ or ‘decapitation’? Or how about Count Dracula? Maybe ‘exsanguinate’ or ‘haematophagous’. Perhaps Winston Churchill would want ‘beach’ while Margaret Thatcher would have to have ‘iron’. Or ‘greengrocer’.
And if adopting a word meant no one else could use it, purging it from the English language for a year, what would you go for? Mine would be ‘proactive’. And ‘Monday’.
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