What's in a hometown name?

That’s a question Douglas Adams and John Lloyd explored in their book, The Meaning of Liff, in 1983.

They took some of the spare words that have little or no meaning and put them to good use. And 28 years later, we’re still finding their explanations funny.

Here are some of their originals:

Shoeburyness (n.) The vague uncomfortable feeling you get when sitting on a seat which is still warm from somebody else's bottom.

Banff (adj.) Pertaining to, or descriptive of, that kind of facial expression which is impossible to achieve except when having a passport photograph taken.

Plymouth (vb.) To relate an amusing story to someone without remembering that it was they who told it to you in the first place.

A few of us Writer folk had a go, here’s what we came up with:

Winchester (n.) The feeling of gratification when cramming oneself into a shirt that, at first glance, appeared too small.

Tooting Bec (n.) When a car draws up at the traffic lights and hoots when the lights go green before realising that the car in front is parked and there’s nobody inside.

Tewkesbury (n.) The act of embarrassing oneself whilst on a bowling green.

Poole (n.) A body of sullied, stagnant water – widely agreed to be offensive to the nostrils.

Benfica (n.) A low chest of drawers, often used as a bedside table. Traditionally made from oak.

Tullamore (n.) A wart on your ear that, in a certain light, looks like an ear stud.

Kitwe (n.) The sound of animals in the landscape that you only begin to notice as dusk falls.

Walsall (n.) A small bruise that’s not all that painful, but keeps getting itself caught or knocked and so becomes irksome.

0 min read, posted in Culture, by Admin, on 26 May 2011