June 8th, 2012


Death from overwork, unsurprisingly a Japanese word.

February 28th, 2016


Death from overwork, unsurprisingly a Japanese word.

January 4th, 2015


(Of winds) blowing downhill through having become denser with cooling, esp at night when heat is lost from the earth’s surface.

September 19th, 2013


To punish severely, traditionally by dragging under the ships keel.

August 17th, 2013


Combed, neat.

February 26th, 2012


To laugh loudly.

November 22nd, 2015


To laugh loudly.

July 18th, 2013

Kettle of fish

Alright, we’ve taken the bait, and decided this week is going to be all fish, all the time. Which is a perfectly fine decision  – but not a fine kettle of fish.

fine kettle of fish Before it found its raison d’etre as a boiler of water for tea, kettle was a word used to describe any water boiling implement. In days of yore – specifically the 18th Century days of yore – people used to have neighbourhood parties at which these kettles of fish would be served up. It’s not clear whether the use of “fine kettle of fish” to mean “unsatisfactory state of affairs” was some excellent 18th Century sarcasm, meaning that something was altogether not as pleasant as a picnic, or whether it referred to the aftermath of the picnic, where the kettle of fish carcasses was maybe not so fine.

The phrase “a different kettle of fish” was a descendant of the fine kettle, “kettle of fish” now becoming synonymous with “situation”.

August 24th, 2014


(Xhosa) Congress, political assembly – colloquially used to refer to the South African ANC.

August 22nd, 2014


(Xhosa) To take off one’s clothes.