The top ten: Lost positives
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 09 March 2014
Jane Penson started this one off with ept and shevelled. 'When I was at boarding school, my friend and I spent hours in the school library with the Oxford Dictionary (12 large dusty volumes) looking for them and we found lots,' she said. Here are my favourites.
1. Placable Chosen by Mark Wallace: "Last seen in Milton: 'Methought I saw him placable and mild.'"
2. Mantle Lawrence Freedman. French manteler, fortify, from Latin mantellum, cloak.
3. Dolent Via Solly. From Latin dolere: to suffer or give pain.
4. Traught From Peter A Russell. Distraught being a late Middle English form of distracted.
5. Ert Nominated by Tom Startup.
6. Gorm From Daniel Forman. Dialect gaum, understanding, from Old Norse gaumr, care, heed.
7. Ruth Tony Blair complained in his memoir that, far from being ruthless, he had "plenty of ruth".
8. Gusted From Michael Crick.
9. Plussed Nominated by Karl Turner: "The daddy of all lost positives."
10. Chalant Nominated by Sam Freedman.
Next week: Mixed metaphors
Coming soon: Genuine shop names (such as Melon Cauli, a greengrocer). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to email@example.com
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