Words: analeptic, adj. or n.
Thursday 10 September 1998
In his 1963 masterpiece On The Circuit, W. H. Auden describes an airborne reading tour of America, the fatigue of which makes him exclaim, "is this a milieu where I must . . . snatch from the bottle in my bag an analeptic swig?" It probably wasn't milk.
Of Latin and Greek origins, the word - meaning restorative - turns out not to be in contemporary usage after all, but petered out in the mid- 19th century, when used to urge the curative properties of chocolate and sage. Auden was surely right to put his trust in the harder stuff.
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