Words: kilter, n.
Friday 04 December 1998
The noun is invariably used in this form, as a negative rather than the good order which it denotes. Sometimes spelt kelter, its origins are obscure, apparently unconnected with the verb for hitching up a skirt. It often meant a frame, or the mechanism of a gun, and is familiar across Britain and in America, where James Russell Lowell lamented in 1883: "I must rest awhile. My brain is out of kilter."
Over here, we are made of sterner stuff: the weekend should have one back in action, that is to say in true kilter.
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