Those of you who joined me last Tuesday will have no doubt been waiting, with bated breath I hope, for this week’s Endangered Speechies. For new friends and casual visitors, Endangered Speechies are ickle bits of slang that have been lost in the fount of time. I found them in the yummiest old book, tucked away in the Misc. section at my favourite second-hand bookstore. So I’m sharing them. With you. Just because.
Today’s Endangered Speechies are coming to you from the letter B
1: Baby Blimp: this is apparently an old American slang for a fat girl. What I find most amusing about this book is the rather obvious political incorrectness of it all. I am not sure that these days you could even publish a dictionary which had a listing for ‘fat girl’. It might be more ‘overweight’, or weight challenged. Anyway in 1955, it was perfectly reasonable apparently to use the terms ‘fat’ and ‘girl’ in explanation. There you go – stuff changes!
example: Tess was not slim. Billy whispered that his sister was a baby blimp, and his friends snickered.
2. Ballyhoo: Noisy and vulgar publicity. Which is an absolutely fabulous word to resurrect in the age of social media and Youtube celebrity.
example: The Kardashians created some ballyhoo prior to the publication of their latest shoe range.
3: Battle Bowler: Tin helmet, made popular during WWI. Love this, especially seeing as my latest novel is set post WWI. Wonder if I could sneak it in there. Not sure how to use this in an example, though…
4: Bean-Feast: A workmen’s collective day’s excursion, generally organised annually by the employer. Do such things still happen or is it now a case of a work do with a free bar from the boss. Would we all now feel cheated if our boss only treated us to beans. Possibly… yes!
example: The Bean-feast this year was to be a bbq on the beach. There would be a bouncy castle for the parents and a free bar fort he kids.
5: Barmy on the Crumpet: crazy, foolish to the point of mental deficiency. This is the kind of classic slang that I love. Everything about it. And, in my eyes, any phrase that uses the word ‘crumpet’ has to be w inner.
example: Delilah stripped naked and danced in the fountain. “She’s barmy on the crumpet,” whispered one of her spectators before joining the round of applause.
6: Belly Timber: Food. Apparently even in 1855 this was an obsolete phrase. No idea why. It has a rather wonderful piratical quality. Could be a great name for a cafe r restaurant.
example: Her stomach rumbled. She needed belly timber and she needed it fast.
7: Bible-backed: Round shouldered. There is something rather comforting about this. Perhaps a more modern equivalent would be ‘laptop-lurched’, or ‘cellphone-crouched’???
example. Helena sat, bible-backed and tear-stained, waiting for him to call.
8: Blue Funk: A state of extreme fear. Everything about this phrase is utterly wonderful. It’s like the name of a really cool band, or some kind of dystopian party drug??
example: The phone rang again and her blue funk descended upon her. WOuld it be the same silent caller?
So there you go my lovelies. B to the B, and all that. These are pretty cool ones today. Prizes for the best examples posted in the comments. What is your favourite Endangered Speechies? Let me know and I could include them in future posts!!