Wednesday, 25 January 2017


Despite how it sounds, a portent isn't anything to do with camping under two sticks and a bin liner...

A portent is a sign or omen. Storm clouds may gather portentously on the horizon.

Something which is like, or serves as, a portent is portentous. Anyone coming to this blog for the first time might consider the opening line of this post a portentous warning, especially if they're not fond of really terrible puns.

Another meaning of portentous is pompously solemn. Don't think anyone can accuse me of that.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


To swish something (a rejection slip perhaps) is to move it through the air, so that it makes a sound. Helpfully my dictionary describes the noise produced as 'a swishing sound'.

You can also swish things away - horses swish tails to dissaude flies from bothering them, scythes can swish the long grass into neat rows of drying hay.

Swish is also another term for something that's a bit posh or smart.

The rate my hair's growing, I'll soon be able swish it in my swish mobile writing retreat.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


To be magnanimous is to be nobly generous rather than petty in feelings or actions. Hmmm, I do try to behave with magnanimity, but sometimes I get annoyed and fail to react magnanimously.

Do you like this word? It's a bit of a tongue mangler, isn't it? Decidedly tricky to illustrate too.

Umm... Aha! If someone who'd annoyed me fell into the sea I'd probably be magnanimous enough to throw them a life bouy – if I didn't have to go far to find one and I wasn't busy or anything.