Words: Swimgloat, n.

WHO EVER used some coinings logged by the OED? Swimgloat was invented by Bernard Berenson's brother-in-law, that languid man of letters Logan Pearsall Smith whose Trivia is much admired by Gore Vidal.

According to Peter Conrad, swimgloat means "the buoyant negotiation of the vanities and temptations of society . . . a term which suggests the eternal resilience of the picaresque hero". Pearsall Smith had in mind that enigmatic American in wartime London, the art critic Stuart Preston.

Only Kenneth Clark appears to have used it since when he recalled his boom years which

had as little to do with talent as Australian gold shares have to do with the precious metal in a mine . . . absurd as it sounds, I think that the real explanation was our innocence.

Will his son ever have recourse to it?