Dot Wordsworth

Shocking bad hat

23 September 2017 9:00 am

My husband complains that the disposition of teenagers in London is one of mocking hostility. I seem to suffer less…

Gorblimey trousers

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Piles of black plastic rubbish sacks lie in the streets of Birmingham because, since the end of June, the dustmen…

Go ballistic

9 September 2017 9:00 am

I had always thought that to go ballistic was the same as to go nuclear, metaphorically. But the ballistic figure…

Bacteria

2 September 2017 9:00 am

It’s like whipping cream. All of a sudden it goes stiff and you can turn the bowl upside down without…

Sixteen-hundreds

26 August 2017 9:00 am

I was puzzled by the caption to a picture in the Times Literary Supplement. The picture showed a model of…

Mechanistic insight

19 August 2017 9:00 am

No, hang on, don’t turn to Dear Mary yet. This is not as dull as it sounds. It’s just that…

Wuthering

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Haworth is in a constant simmer of Brontë anniversary fever. It is looking forward to Emily Brontë’s 200th birthday next…

Greenland and India

5 August 2017 9:00 am

‘Remember what the fellow said — it’s not a bally bit of use every prospect pleasing if man is vile,’…

Epiphanic

29 July 2017 9:00 am

‘I love the pumping station,’ said my husband, waving a copy of the Docklands and East London Advertiser which reported…

Support

22 July 2017 9:00 am

The Foreword didn’t bode well. This was on the first page of The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. It…

Pride of lions

15 July 2017 9:00 am

‘Are they all gay too?’ asked my husband, waving the Sunday Telegraph with its headline ‘Pride of Lions’. He had…

Clichés

8 July 2017 9:00 am

The most tired cliché in English, suggests ​​Orin Hargraves, the American philologist, is at the end of the day. I’ve…

Romance liver

1 July 2017 9:00 am

‘Ha, ha!’ said my husband, waving the Spectator letters page in the air. ‘Ha, ha, ha!’ He was overcome by…

Narrative

24 June 2017 9:00 am

Laura Kuenssberg was right. Even my husband agreed, and he often throws soiled beermats from an unknown source (which he…

Trooping the Colour

17 June 2017 9:00 am

Language is a weapon to do down others. ‘He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy!’ said Estella disdainfully of Pip…

Not bloody likely

10 June 2017 9:00 am

In My Fair Lady, which came out as a film in 1964, 50 years after Shaw’s Pygmalion, they decided to…

Reference

3 June 2017 9:00 am

When Dickens wanted to buy a house in 1837, he wrote to Richard Bentley, who had started the magazine in…

Goof

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Susie Dent has been trying to make us love Americanisms on Radio 4. Now Miss Dent knows far more about…

Anniversary

20 May 2017 9:00 am

‘It’s like Pin number,’ said my husband, drifting into lucidity. So it is, in a way. The construction under discussion…

Progressive

13 May 2017 9:00 am

I laughed, in a sympathetic way I hope, when I read a letter in the Daily Telegraph pointing out that…

Compliance

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Ralph Bathurst was accused shortly after his death in 1704 of being ‘suspected of Hypocrisy and of mean Complyance’. I…

Jane

29 April 2017 9:00 am

‘What are you laughing at?’ asked my husband in an accusing tone on Monday morning last week as he unloaded…

Envelope

22 April 2017 9:00 am

One can push many things — a pen, one’s luck or (up) daisies. But the MP Dominic Raab told the…

King Charles’s head

14 April 2017 11:00 pm

‘It has become something of a King Charles’ head, or should that be a King Charles’s head?’ said my husband,…

An historic

8 April 2017 9:00 am

Everybody’s saying it, even though the latest research declares that only 6 per cent of the population is given to…