Words: squeeze, n.

IN THE London Evening Standard, a Charles Rideout of Kent remonstrates, "I really do object to the term `squeeze'. Presumably it is supposed to describe a companion, or partner, but it conjures up images of lemons or failed slimmers trying to get into their jeans. Call me an old fuddy- duddy but I still feel that one's soulmate or friend is entitled to a more dignified description."

Call me hopelessly romantic, but squeeze sounds more affectionate than the businesslike "partner" or the grim "soulmate". It is no new coining (James Cagney used it), and perhaps echoes Byron's "pure Platonic squeeze". Whatever, it offers more congenial a pastime than the word's diverse other meanings: financial shenanigans, coal-mining, baseball or bridge.