ædˈvɛspəreɪt advesperate: to draw towards night Writing about crepuscular rays recently reminded me that there are two kinds of crepuscule (twilight): matutine, from the Latin matutinus, “morning”, and vespertine from vespertinus, “evening”. Vespertinus is of course the origin of vespers, the evening prayer in some versions of Christianity. And it gives us my headword for … Continue reading Advesperate


ˌflɒksɪˌnɔːsɪˌnɪhɪlɪˌpɪlɪfɪˈkeɪʃən Floccinaucinihilipilification: The act of estimating as worthless Flocci, nauci, nihili, pili, assis, hujus, teruncii, his verbis, aestimo, pendo, facio, peculiariter adduntur. Eton Latin Grammar (1758) What the sentence above was telling generations of Etonians is that the verbs aestimo (“to value”), pendo (“to weigh or consider”) and facio (“to make”) take certain objects irregularly in … Continue reading Floccinaucinihilipilification

Graeme Dingle & Peter Hillary: First Across The Roof Of The World

We’ve been watching Levison Wood‘s Channel 4 series Walking the Himalayas. (And I’ve now reviewed his book of the series here.) The Boon Companion and I had to fight down a wave of nostalgia during the second episode, having spent a happy couple of weeks in Kashmir back in the early 80s, albeit followed by … Continue reading Graeme Dingle & Peter Hillary: First Across The Roof Of The World