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Wallop was a slang term for beer. In the 19th century a spiff was a well-dressed man. The word originally applied to anyone stylish but was later widened to become a general exclamation of approval. Giddy has been used to mean mad for more than 1, years.

Rosa Rankin-Gee's top 10 novellas about love

It's believed to originate from the Old English "gidi" meaning possessed and was frequently used by Shakespeare. At one stage "my giddy goat" was a popular term of surprise but it's not clear when or why it changed to aunt. The use of the word ace to describe anything cool or brilliant became very popular in the s. However the word was first used in medieval times when it had negative connotations. It referred to the side of a dice with only one spot, which had a poor value in games. There was a switch when playing cards became popular and the ace usually had a high value.

The word was adopted by pilots in the First World War to signify five enemy kills. In golf scoring a hole in one is known as an ace. This phrase which comes from Suffolk expresses irritation and is linked to the annoyance felt by candlemakers when dirt stuck to the wick while it was being handled.

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  • Diario de la expedicion reduccional del ano 1780, mandada practicar por orden del Virey de Buenos Aires (Spanish Edition).
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In the 16th century a chuff was a miserable or boorish person but the word has a multitude of ancient meanings. To chuff was to break wind. It's gradually come to be used as a safe alternative to swearing, such as in Yorkshire where anyone who is angry may well describe themselves as "chuffed off". But in other parts of the UK it means expressing delight. Gad was a 17th-century term used to convey astonishment but avoiding taking the name of God in vain. It started out as two words Gad for God and Zooks meaning hooks and thought to refer to the nails on the cross.

Back in the day there were a whole host of gad-words in popular culture including "gadsbobs", while "odds bodkins" was a variation of God's body. By George was another alternative for God. Exclamations sometimes move from popular films and TV programmes into everyday use. A few linger for a while before being forgotten. Cowabunga, to show amazement, comes from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons.

Cowabunga is based on the Native American word Kwabungu which is used to express anger. Bart Simpson adopted Cowabunga, helping explain its longevity. This expression of amazement comes from the US where it began life as a shortened form of Jesus and was further cut to "gee". The first record of a version appearing in print is in a newspaper in Pennsylvania in The use of a shortened euphemism in place of something more offensive is known as a minced oath.

Another minced oath, cor blimey is derived from "God blind me" in Biblical times. The phrase became a popular outburst in children's literature and has the rare distinction of becoming the title of a comic. An archetypal story of unrequited love, enjoyable for its Russian flourishes — out-of-luck princesses and strings of suitors — and its capturing of a first crush: This one tells the story of an academic Parisian, Michel, who, after a bout of tuberculosis, seeks "authenticity" through hedonism.

Exactly what he discovers is for the reader to judge, but his journey takes him from Tunis to Normandy, into the arms of young boys, and, in a typical Gidean manoeuvre, kills off his wife. It's the adults, though, who are getting the tattoos.

Rosa Rankin-Gee's top 10 novellas about love | Books | The Guardian

The Little Prince and his rose are commonly found intertwined in ink, embedded on a sleeve or thigh, alongside the lines "Because she is my rose" or "There is a flower, I think that she has tamed me". A cross-species love story for the whole family. Re-reading this, I was struck by the dialogue: Capote's novella, tracing the trials of Holiday Golightly with her perennial Christmas tree and unnamed cat, is bleaker and more tobacco-stained than the shiny film version, but all the more touching for it: Someone borrowed my copy of The Virgin Suicides and hasn't given it back.

When I find them, I will kill them, for this is as close to a perfect book as I've ever read. The story of five sisters who commit suicide over the course of one year in s Michigan is narrated in haunting first-person plural by the neighbourhood boys who came to love them. OK, so the New York Times says it's "almost novella-length" but it must be mentioned. It is extraordinary, given its modest word count, how full and devastating a world is created.

As we begin and many of us resolve to keep a diary, here are 10 of the best of the form for inspiration.

The bestselling thriller writer picks 10 addictive reads - from crime to poetry, all guaranteed to be unputdownable. From the frantic birth of rock'n'roll to the rages of punk, these books capture the excitement of popular music, writes Bob Stanley. Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin Baldwin's second book follows a young American man who falls into a relationship with an Italian barman called Giovanni.

The Enchanter by Vladimir Nabokov Another interesting use of the form although that is by no means its only merit , Nabokov uses The Enchanter as a one-autumn experiment: First Love by Ivan Turgenev Ivan Turgenev's novella draws from his own autobiography to tell the tale of year-old Vladimir Petrovich, infatuated with his beautiful and capricious new neighbour. Topics Fiction Top 10s. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All.


Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Travis Elborough's top 10 literary diarists. Sophie Hannah's top 10 pageturners. Bob Stanley's 10 best music histories. Ewan Morrison's top 10 books about communes. The top 10 books about servants.