Words: gussy, v., n. and adj.

KINGSLEY AMIS often urged the dictionary habit, never let a word slip by. Chances are that many a trainbound reader of Robert Hughes's recent elegant demolition in these pages of The Phantom Menace forgot to look up what he meant by George Lucas's being "able to gussy it up with special effects that didn't exist 75 years ago".

To dress up or prettify, it comes from the shortening of Augustus to Gussie, which, in Australian eyes, is an effeminate name. Although first used there at the beginning of the century, it had been around in America: something not in the OED, nor is The Front Page (1928), 12 years before its first citation as an adjective.

Up North, however, from Norwegian gosse, it means pig, real and metaphorical.