I don’t know when it is that the list comes out detailing the words that have been added to the dictionary this year. It must be around now. After all we get bombarded with all other kinds of cack, Sports Personality of the Year, greatest moments of 2011 (good luck, it’s hardly been a cheerful year news wise – they’ll have to keep showing that clip of the Panda’s arriving at Edinburgh zoo to try and balance out the economy) and the reviews of the year, where you sit around going ‘Thora Hird is dead? When did that happen and why wasn’t I informed’. I have my own traditions, I go to my Mum and Dad’s house and read all the Christmas letters they have been sent and frantically try and piece together the lives of families I have never really met. I then set the freeview + to record everything I want to watch over Christmas and then delete it all come January. This all gives me an enormous sense of joy to counteract the usual force of my natural ennui.
Yes do note the use of ennui for it cunningly links back to the first sentence of this beautifully crafted piece. I find ennui sums up the trials of life neatly and there is not really the equivalent in English. Roughly translated (you’ll have to excuse me, my French is a little rough, my google skills however are second to none) it means “Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest”. Now consider it used in a sentence: “listening to Bernard talk about the traffic on the north circular gave me an enormous sense of ennui”. Sounds slightly more poetic than ‘Bernie bored the tits off me” doesn’t it?
In the same way ‘Bunga Bunga’ parties conjure up just the kind of ‘What the...’ image that is required to imagine Silvio Burlesconi’s party habits. Do we have anything that could quite vividly paint such a word picture? I think not. This is why we are so often reduced to exclaiming ‘They’re just so ..UGHHHHAGHDHGHHHHHHHHHHH”. I did fashion a word that totally summed up the vilest person I have ever met but sadly it’s so foul I can not use it in public, let alone write it down. I sometimes say it when I am alone just for the sheer pleasure it gives me as it trips off the tongue. It sounds a bit like ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’ and I am constantly amazed that people haven’t accidently called him Benedict ***********. Until I remember the filth only exists in my own head.
I remember a friend of mine once winning a game of Balderdash by claiming that a certain word (I forget what) was ‘A Dutch word meaning a kind of empty sadness’. The beauty of that phrase has stayed with me despite the fact I have forgotten both the word and it’s actual meaning.
However my favourite new word is Kummerspeck. A German word meaning excess weight gained by emotional over eating. It literally translates as ‘grief bacon’. This could be the finest word in existence. There is nothing that compares in the English language. I am thinking of creating a word that sums up the feeling you have as an adult that you really should like olives but still think they are vile. Answers on a postcard