Category Archives: Absurdities

Do You See An Enemy?

Or is that a Sea Anemone?

I have always loved this verbal similitude.  And aren’t the phrases absolutely fabulous to say?  All those n’s and m’s.  And, yes I know, the apostrophes shouldn’t go in there but how else to show what I am saying?

An Enemy

An enemy (boo, hiss) is someone or thing with whom or which you are far from friendly.  He, she or it is the antithesis to your loving, wonderful self and are likely to produce feelings of animosity, hatred even.

When there is a collective hatred of another object, then conflict arises leading in all probability to warfare.

Hatred is an awful state and we must do all we can to not allow it into our lives.


When conflict arises between two bodies – individuals or peoples – then enmity exists between them.This usually arouses aggressive behaviour between the parties involved and is normally long-standing rather than short-lived.

Again, the word is lovely on the tongue due once more to the n and m sounds.  The t sound though gives the word more bite – appropriate for the word context.


Looks similar to enmity but amenity has a much pleasanter connotation:  a desirable or useful feature or facility of a place or building.


One needs to be careful choosing the correct word.  Anomy is very close linguistically to enemy and whilst an enemy may show the characteristics of anomy, the latter actually is a lack of social or moral standards, either in an individual or in society as a whole.


Yet another great sounding word.  The word-sounds are soft on the tip of the tongue and lips which is quite in variance with the acidity and tartness of the actual fruit.

Did you know trumpet, or other brass, players find it extremely hard to play their instruments when someone is close to them sucking on a lemon?

Give it a try yourself.


Eventually, all of the above preamble leads us to the purpose of this post and that is to enjoy the phrase “an anemone”.  Say it aloud but be careful not to stumble over the positions of the n’s and m’s.  It’s a great and fun phrase to get your lips around.

On land, an anemone is a flower:

But there is also a sea anemone:

Confusing, eh?  Even more cause for confusion however is the fact that the sea anemone is not a plant but is actually a marine animal.  Really.





“I say, old man, just look at that chap over there, what on earth does he think he looks like?”

“Looks bally ridiculous if you ask me. Never allowed to get away with it when I was his age.  What’s the world coming to I’d like to know? Harrumph.”

I love all these blustering, ex-colonel types.  A dying breed I’m afraid now.  In their ways, they were often comical, sometimes nasty, and always belligerent.  I know a lot of people disliked what they were and stood for – many of them civil servants or lesser local officials and usually quite officious – but they have left a legacy of a way of life that was emergent at the turn of the 20th Century and on to the second World War.

These men epitomised Pomposity.


It is such a darned shame that the negative connotation of Pomposity – arrogance, self-importance, stiffness, haughtiness – should come from the root Pomp, meaning ceremony and splendid display .  Its meaning being quite subverted.


It wasn’t just in their manner that the pomposity could be discerned, but they had a Tumescence – a pretentiousness in their use of the English language – that augmented the puffed-up presence they chose to portray.


The manner of speech was very often Magniloquent – lofty or grandiose and bordering on the bombastic and boastful.  Such was the nature of the thing.

All of the above  came about because I wanted to introduce Harrumph to the list of words here.  If  you haven’t yet surmised, Harrumph is a grumpy expression of irritation or disapproval, something which came easily to our pompous old chaps.

So, while these words aren’t truly “of the senses” they conjure up pictures of good old boys lost in a world that became far too modern for their and others’ liking.

The words are added  to the word list here.


How Do You Do

Well, this is a fine How Do You Do isn’t it?

I intended to start this post discussing the correct manner in which to meet and greet a person with the phrase “how do you do” when it occurred to me that the phrase is actually a question without intended meaning.

“What does he mean by that” I hear you ask (yes, my website has ears but that’s another story).  Well, I’ll tell you.

If you truly wanted to receive an answer to the question you would say the phrase with an upward inflection thereby indicating a question is being put forth.  You would therefore expect to receive a response from the person to whom the question was put.  Fair enough!  Not so, when first meeting a person and shaking hands.

Today, we are more likely to say “Hi, I’m Adrian” or “G’day” (Australian) when meeting a person for the first time which is rather sad as there is no intent made in the greeting to show interest in the other party, leaving them to respond only with a “hi” or “g’day to you” or some such.

The polite and proper way to meet and greet a person for the first time is to say “how do you do“.

Now, like a lot of idioms it is not to be taken at face value.  You are not expecting to receive, nor will the other party be expected to give, an answer.  In fact the phrase is said with a downward inflection, indicating a statement not a question.  The correct response is a “how do you do” statement in return.

“Hmmm, well that’s a fine how do you do I must say!”   Now this particular statement is a modest expression of mild surprise or disappointment.  The tone is vague and sarcastic.  “harrumph!”

It then occurred to me how many similar sounding words there are to “do you”.  Such as:

Due         due

Not to be confused with Dew      dew

Or Jew

Or Adieu!



I’ll get me coat and go I think.



Catatonic State Definition

I love the word Catatonic.  Not the catatonic state however,  The true catatonic state definition is “of or in an immobile or unresponsive stupor”.  So no laughing matter that’s for sure.  But just think of the word and you get a very different impression.

My definition of the word sound is the condition that owners or friends of feline companions get into when playing with their little treasures.  Or, the state of well-being that those little furry animals get into when being petted or just sleeping lazily when they should be working:


Catatonic should never be confused with GinaTonic which is a different pleasurable experience altogether, although I have known some people who manage to bring the two aspects together – one leading directly to the other.  Please be careful!


Absurd English Spelling – Ghoti is Fish


It has been said that it was George Bernard Shaw that first suggested that phonetics (the study of speech sounds) provided for the absurd English spelling of many words in our common usage.  To prove his point he demonstrated that it would be possible to spell the word “fish” as ghoti.

How come?  Well, the “gh” is found in the word “rough”, so there is the “f” sound;  the “o” is that of “women”; with the suffix “-tion” ‘ti’ providing the the “sh” sound.  GHOTI.

That amuses me considerably.

I am however completely flummoxed, if not completely confounded and bewildered to have read that a certain Mr Lloyd James, expert in phonetics has calculated that the word scissors could be spelt in no fewer than 596,580 different ways!


I do not intend to attempt to find out.