Dot Wordsworth

What two little words that combine virtue signalling and denunciation?

18 November 2017 9:00 am

The inventor of the verse form known as the clerihew, Edmund Clerihew Bentley, had a way with this seemingly simple…

Is your conduct unacceptably inappropriate – or inappropriately unacceptable?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

‘When is physical contact “unacceptable”?’ asked Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph. He may well ask. Sir Michael Fallon said…

Medicine

4 November 2017 9:00 am

John Farquhar of Salisbury writes to say he is irritated. He is not just irritated, he has long been long…

The

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Veronica, who looks at Twitter, told me of an exchange she thought would interest me, about the use of the.…

Einstein vs Weinstein

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Before I forget, I was cheered by the letter from Keith Aitken in last week’s issue noting another sense for…

Not so much

14 October 2017 9:00 am

‘Kiss me mucho,’ sang my husband with a revolting leer, ‘and we’ll soar. And we’ll dance the dance of love…

Tube

7 October 2017 9:00 am

When George Eliot wrote ‘The tube-journey can never lend much to picture and narrative,’ she was not making an observant…

Boo

30 September 2017 9:00 am

In 1872, the 27-stone figure of the Tichborne Claimant was insisting he was Sir Roger Tichborne Bt, an heir thought…

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…