Earlier that day I had been in Broadmoor Asylum, researching the strange and tortured Victorian life of an American doctor who had murdered a Londoner in a fit of schizophrenic fury. Reading recently that both the Germans and the Chinese have cracked down on the names people are allowed to have, and knowing that the French and the Italians still have gloom-laden academies to protect the so-called purity of their languages, strips out all the amusement and joy that is so very apparent in the tongue we speak so happily.
Then suddenly, and in unison I swear, they spoke: Autopeotomy! Sub-prime , the current bogeyman of the financial crisis, was by contrast once a good thing: once everyone wanted a sub-prime mortgage, which indicated a low interest rate.
And these changes give me great pleasure, too, a reminder of how alive and ever-growing our language still manages to be.
I bought my first 17-volume set back in the Eighties, in Hong Kong.
But the things I discover, the ammunition I have for the hours of writing ahead!
For there seems to be a word for every concept, imaginable and many unimaginable.
An Aspen police officer saw Kennedy grab another man by his shirt, pull him down so he was bent over and hit him four or five times in the back of the head with his fists, according to Aspen police Sgt.
This prompted a friend to write a tongue-in-cheek polemic: the foul practice of mallemaroking, he declared, appears to have become unleashed from its native Greenland, and now threatens to extend its tentacles across the entire world.
Yet I would never dream of doing such a thing, however tempting.