Christopher Foyle, Foyle's Philavery

I’d certainly have chosen different words than Christopher Foyle did for his Treasury of Unusual Words (beautiful-looking book and fantastic birthday present from M. and J.) – as anyone of us would have. But I’d definitely have included the following too,

for their meaning

to moodle – to pass time in doing nothing, to meander aimlessly

thigmophilic – touch-loving, liking or needing to be touched or to feel the touch of something

blennophobia – an abnormal fear of slime or mucous

colombophile – a pigeon-fancier

for their onomatopoetic quality

susurration – a whispering, rustling or murmuring sound

curmudgeon – a bad-tempered, mean-spirited or miserly person

to murken – to darken, to grow dark, to become overcast; to make dark, to obscure

rambunctious – exuberant, boisterous, difficult to control

and for its straightforwardness

to unnun – to expel a nun from the religious order to which she belongs.

4 thoughts on “Listmania.

  1. Thanks for yr comments – all very welcome. The publisher has asked me to do a second volume which I’m working on. DO let me have yr suggestions – all the best.
    Christopher Foyle

  2. Wow Marion. I’ll bookmark your site for later when I have time to read it properly: slow and thoughtful.

    And aren’t humans by nature list makers? And isn’t taxonomy the greatest of sciences?

    I do love the gentle susurration of wind through the tress (and is there any other kind of susurration?). But unnun? Is that the feminine form of defrock?

    Some art historians hold that creating art is a way for mankind to feel in control of the world around us. I’ve often felt that taxonomy provides that same feeling of control. Once you categorize things you exert some control over them through knowledge and understanding. And once understood you can predict outcomes thereby reducing risk and anxiety.


  3. An abnormal fear of slime or mucous? That must be some kind of crazy fear. I think a fear of slime or mucuous is entirely reasonable. Blennophylia is much, much more distressing as a concept.

    “As the sky murkened, the shrubbery erupted in susurration.”

    The best word in English is rain.

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