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A blog about anything to do with the English language with occasional digressions into literature. Topics include contemporary cliche, jargon and journalese, grammar and spelling, wordplay, etymology, useful and interesting words, and literary style.

Owner: cecilyparsley

Listed in: Literature

Language: English

Tags: Language, Writing, Words, Grammar, English

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Latest Blog Posts for Inky Fool

  • My TEDx Talk on Rhetoric
    on Jul 12, 2016
    Concerned and solicitous people have been asking what I've been up to for the last few months. One of things up to which I have been was giving this TEDx talk at the University of Pennsylvania. You can also watch it on YouTube here.Pennsylvania, inci...
  • Mr Kowalski's Ferrari
    on Feb 5, 2016
    I thought I'd post this lovely map that was made by Marcin Ciura. I hope it's big enough to read. If not, click upon it and it ought to expand. It's simple really, it's a map of the most common surname in each European country that designates a job.
  • Another Book, Trullibubs and Kallithumpian Bands
    on Feb 2, 2016
    As I have been terribly lazy about updating the dear old Inky Fool, I think I should inform you all (if you're still there) that I have signed a contract with Penguin to write another book that will come out a little before Christmas this year.But wh...
  • Today Is Not Boxing Day
    on Dec 26, 2015
    A little repost from 2010:Today is not boxing day.Once upon a time, there was a thing called a Christmas box. A Christmas box was a box with a small hole cut in it, like a piggy bank, through which coins could be dropped. It was kept in a church and,...
  • Forcing Back the F Word
    on Dec 4, 2015
    I should probably warn readers that there may be swear words in this post, and they may come very soon. If you are of a delicate temperament, now is the time to reach for your smelling salts.I said in The Etymologicon that the word fuck was first rec...
  • Capital Geezers of Iceland
    on Oct 27, 2015
    Few things are as tedious as other people's holiday photos. That's why facebook exists: it allows people to show their photographs without anyone bothering to look. With that in mind, would you like to see my holiday photographs? You would? Splendid.
  • Tin Pots Bells and McDonald's
    on Jun 1, 2015
    I've been reading a novel called A Lady From The South, which is a peculiar little adventure novel so little known that I had to find it in the Rare Books room of the British Library (the copy I'm reading is NOT TO BE INTRODUCED INTO THE BRITISH EMPI...
  • Louche and Louching
    on Feb 17, 2015
    The other day, I was lying in bed, sipping a Campari, when it occurred to me to wonder where the word louche came from. I imagined that it had something to do with luxury, and fell back to sleep. Which didn't help the Campari.I was very wrong, becaus...
  • Farm Tax
    on Jan 29, 2015
    Today I have been paying the farmer. Because, of course, farmers aren't farmers.Some people have trade surnames: Mr Baker, Mr Butcher, Mr Farmer etc. And these people happily imagine that in some way off medieval time they had an ancestor who was a b...
  • Moors and Marrakech
    on Jan 15, 2015
    The weather in England is, frankly, deplorable. So I've booked a ticket to Marrakech in Morocco, only to find that they're the same place, etymologically speaking. Algeria is named after the city of Algiers (from the Arabic Al-Jazair "the islands").
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