WORDS

After so many years here in the Netherlands we have found that some words are simply better in Dutch (lekker and gezellig are two prime examples) and so we use them all the time.

When a friend recently told me she was "flabbergasted" I decided to use this page to return the compliment. So here goes:

Flabbergast - 19th century perhaps from combining flabby (going weak at the knees?) and aghast.

Cosy for gezellig

cosy 1 a fireside chat is cosy

a night out may be enjoyable, delightful, even convivial but not cosy

cosy 3 this is a teacosy

Vet - in the USA someone who has served his or her country in the military. In the UK someone who treats your animals. Two great nations divided by a common language.

Akimbo - This is a stance: hands on hips and elbows sticking out and has apparently been more recently adopted in computer gaming with "guns akimbo" meaning one weapon in each hand.

Balderdash - nonsense. It's origins are vague but I recently heard Susie Dent describing a possible source as a barber swishing balls about in a bowl of soapy water to create foam or lather.

Higgeldy-piggeldy - with no obvious order.

To take umbrage is to resent or become angry about something and then perhaps go off in a huff seeking a shady spot. Umbrage - of shade and shadows, displeasure, resentment (Professor Umbridge in the Harry Potter series?).

Glamour - originally meant magic, a spell. Photoshopping?

Sassenach - what the Scots and Irish call the English (derogatory). From "Saxon".

Hiccough - pronounced "hiccup". Possible cures here.

Riff-raff - any people you don't want your sons or daughters to mix with.

Desperado - one in despair, desperate adventurer. Great Eagles' song.

Brag - to boast and also a card game involving bluffing.