21.12.2021 | Ten Simple Words

A few days ago I tweeted this…

… and today I thought it was about time to follow through.

I’ve mentioned often enough that I love the English language. That might be because it is the only language – except my native tongue – I really comprehend quite well. Or it might be because my dad, who passed away 30 years ago had been an English teacher. I don’t know. Even with a thorough comprehension of the language, I still learn new (to me) phrases and words all the time. Through TV shows I watch, novels or articles I read and yes, over the years quite a few through Frank’s lyrics as well. Also through some of his interviews, because let’s face it, he is one eloquent ‘public school boy’, though he might not look like it 🙂

Frank Turner – Dudelange, Luxembourg, June 2014

Here is the list of my ten favourite words Frank “has taught” me through his songs. And no, I often can’t really explain why I like this particular word more than others, so I won’t even try to. It’s a sonic thing, I think. Looking at this list it seems like I have a thing for R’s and S’s.

#10 scurrilous, adjective

definition: expressing unfair or false criticism that is likely to damage someone’s reputation

With greed in his heart and his scurrilous claim,
He took the land for his own.
” (English Curse)

#09 insidious, adjective

definition: (of something unpleasant or dangerous) gradually and secretly causing harm

“Your distance insidious,
As soft as a blow.”
(Smiling At Strangers on Trains)

#08 scurry, verb

definition: to move quickly with small, short steps

“Now you can go down with the wreck, or you can scurry from the deck” (Out of Breath)

#07 wrought, verb

definition: (only as a past participle and in the past tense) caused something to happen

“And it seemed to be working for a couple of years;
I wrote a few songs and they wrought a few tears”
(Romantic Fatigue)

#06 tarry, verb

definition: to stay somewhere longer than expected

She earned her reputation on those bitter Camden streets.
If you’d tarry with the Bingham girl, you’d hold your manhood cheap”
(Jinny Bingham’s Ghost)

#05 mire, noun

definition: an unpleasant situation that is difficult to escape

“[….] one who condescends
To wash his hands down in the mire among the misery of men”
(One Foot Before The Other)

#04 furtive, adjective

definition: done secretly and often dishonestly

“Life is about love, last minutes and lost evenings,
About fire in our bellies and furtive little feelings”
(I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous)

#03 ire, noun

definition: anger

Love, Ire & Song (song and album title)

#02 skirt, verb

definition: 1. to go around the edge of something; 2. to avoid discussing a subject or problem, usually because there are difficulties that you do not want to deal with:

“I’ve been skirting round the rim of doing something
Brave, and not just standing, but jumping in”
(Plain Sailing Weather)

#01 jaded, adjective

definition: not having interest or losing interest because you have experienced something too many times

“I’m young enough to be all pissed off
But I’m old enough to be jaded
(Once We Were Anarchists)

[All references are from the Cambridge Dictionary, because my OALD is on the shelf at home and the online version isn’t available for free.]

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