Words: ken, n. and v.

NOT NEW to The Complete Lyrics of Noel Coward, and undoubtedly true, "Even Clergymen Are Naughty Now and Then" (On with the Dance, 1925) is not as well known as it might be. (The greatest such gem is "Time Will Tell", cut from several shows.) As for the clergy, Douglas Byng and Ernest Thesiger sang: "There's not a week goes by / In which some one doesn't die, / So we really mustn't grumble very much." One can picture this harmonising vicar and curate: "though we fill the cup of duty to the very brim / Ideas may sometimes swim / Into our ken".

Curiously, ken - with many European equivalents and defined by Johnson as "view; reach of sight" - is seemed rare by the OED, when it was surely given currency by Kenneth Horne's wireless show.