Readysteadyblog: gin, hearth and bees – or meaning more than we say

boy in disguise

Have you ever noticed how one little word can stand for such a big and complex feeling? Far more than it’s actual meaning. 

Some words just mean what they say: spoon, photo, wedge and mascara for example. Man, woman, child and baby… all pretty straightforward. 

Try bachelor – now that’s never just an unmarried man, is it? Likewise spinster. 

Here are some others:

Cake – means a gathering of women for gossip around some bakery item with icing. The gossip is always more important than the bakery item. 

Gin – means the release valve at the end of something stressful. Not just a juniper berry-based spirit. In fact, the suggestion of adding gin to the equation usual reflects on the seriousness of the aggravation currently being endured. 

Hearth – Never only the bit where the fire is. Attached to “and home”, it’s about a warm and comforting place to hang out. (I wrote dwell at first and thought that was a bit pretentious.)

Clutter – Unnecessary stuff somewhere it shouldn’t be. Like indoor weeds? No it’s far more than that. It means that defeated feeling that arrives with the understanding that however hard you try to resolve the clutter, you will fail. See also fingermarks.

Bees – not just stripey, stinging insects. No. Adaptable, honey-making bees (and we all know how magical that expensive honey is, or at least they’d have us believe) are the very symbol of all that’s good and wholesome in the world. That they are at risk means, basically, we’re doomed. 

Camping. Used to mean spending time living under canvas. Now it means weekends of misery, inevitable rain and a marriage-risking inability to construct the flipping thing.

Diets – notionally just a list of everything you eat, but really it’s a period of madness when food becomes an obsession and things such as cauliflower mash and sugar substitutes will be considered. Fortunately the phase of serious mental impairment usually passes quite quickly and normal behaviour returns.  

Do you have any words that mean more than they say?

This post was brought to you by Ready Steady Blog. In the absence of inspiration, I asked the wise people of Twitter for some topics to write about. @Pogster said hearth, @deborahsmumnuts said diets, @h0pefulmummy said gin and @Smudgerella said bees. 

@GHmltn suggested six things that drove me to drink this week, but by the time I listed three kids and a husband, I only had to find two and that was too easy. 

It’s possible I’ll do Ready Steady Blog again… feel free to have a go too.

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  1. says

    Ellen, great idea for a post. For me, the word “cocktail” has always held a treasure trove of meaning: grown-up conversation, sophistication, glamour, a frisson of sexual excitement. I think it dates from watching my parents parties when I was young.

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