Monday, 3 August 2009


The other day I described Lily's hair as "tousled" and it occurred to me that "tousled" is a word which is only ever applied to hair.

It's a word that has been through Adjective School and missed all the lessons apart from Hair so has come out as a total specialist and one-trick pony. Just like double barrelled toff "one-trick" that only seemed to pop up in pony classes. One day someone is going to call them in and say "I'm sorry, Tousled. Times are tight and there's a lot of words fighting for employment in the average person's 500 word vocabulary. I think we can manage Hair without you from now. You're fired".

On the other hand, there are adjectives that are supremely versatile. Take the word "blue" for example. If you reported that "Jeremy Clarkson is a bit Blue" you could mean that he is:




Azure in Skin Tone

And all spot on!

Let's feel sorry for "tousled" - it should get out more and try and meet a few new interesting nouns for social engagement and variety with a view to possible declension.

Can anybody suggest any other specialist adjectives that have worked themselves into a corner?


Dave said...

I got out of bed this morning (the sheets were very tousled), glanced at the tousled heap of clothes on the chair, before looking in the mirror and realising my hair will never be tousled again.

zIggI said...

affordable, can't think of anything (I want) to describe thus, just recently.

Vicus Scurra said...


Sarah said...

Nor me, it's too early, though I suspect I probably couldn't think of anything later in the day either...

Arsehole is what coms to mind when I think of JC

KAZ said...

Funnily enough I only thought of one of these the other day when I was driving to Ashton under Lyne.
But I've forgotton what it was now.
I'll get back to you if it springs to mind.

Z said...

Has anyone else noticed the upsurge of use of "torrid" as applied to time? Particularly on Radio 4, which I don't think even uses the word with its previous meaning. Not that I can be arsed to look it up, but people used to have torrid affairs and now when finances go belly-up, the banks are having a torrid time.

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

Revealing things happen when you substitute 'tousled' for 'torrid'.
A tousled affair? The tousled zone? (Dave's bedroom, possibly?)

Rog said...

Dave: I may have been over indulging in Scrabble, but read that as "my hair will never be deloust again".

Ziggi: Is your stream affordable or abridged?

Vicus: That doesn't help.

Sarah: "Clarkson's Arsehole" is a little too much to bear on on Monday morning. James May.

Kaz: When I go to Ashton-Under-Lyne I also say "now why did I come here?". Anyway we can wait. I had loads I should have written down as well.

Z: It has useful connotations of "Tacky" and "Horrid" and is preferable to "Hacky". I wish Robert Peston would go away and have a torrid affair with Jeremy Clarkson.

Christopher: You are displaying rather too much information about Dave's bedroom. I can talk, I've been in his bedroom with him and Z admiring his en-suite facilities.

Geoff said...

Yes, Jeremy is pornographic.

I've never seen a bigger one.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Nobody uses this word any more. Clothes get ruckled up. Well mine do.

Rog said...

Geoff: I think you're sublimating a secret desire to be Jeremy.

Scarlett: Perhaps your clothes are the only ones in the world that get ruckled. Outside of Primark stores that is...

john.g. said...

My socks get *tousled*!

Do I need help?

Dave said...

The torrid affairs that go on in the tousled world that is my bedroom are best kept under a ruckled hat.

Billy said...

Z beat me to torrid.

Great word.