Thursday, 17 April 2008


Suggested by Nithin:

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that
they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

I love new words and phrases in books. If the husband (with his freakishly large vocabulary) is around I'll ask him. If not I turn down the page and come back to it.

The last book I read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart had many brilliant new words in. Not all of them real but still a lot of fun.

"When there's a negative word or expression – immaculate, for example – but the positive is almost never used, and you choose to use it, you become rather amusing. Or pretentious. . . . The neglected positive of immaculate is maculate, meaning morally blemished or stained. . . Other times the neglected positive is not a word. It is an imaginary neglected positive, or INP"


impetuous - Petuous - meaning careful.
Ept, meaning competent, from inept.
Turbed, meaning relaxed and comfortable, from disturbed.

After the explanation (which originally came about from P.G Wodehouse using gruntled) Frankie uses INP's throughout the book and they gave me pause. New words really leap off the page at me.

I think its a great way to play with language and would be a lot of fun to do in the classroom.

Can you think up any neglected positives or better yet INP's?


  1. Yes, this would be fun. Funnily enough the first word that came to my mind as I was reading through your post was (dis)gruntled. Wodehouse and I must have the same sort of perverse mind. What about (dis)cumbobulated? That's a nice one as well.

  2. Oooh, sounds like a fun book. Or, maybe I should say this book turbs me (as in the opposite of disturb, or perplex, being intrigue). I'll have to find this one. Thanks!

  3. Definitely a fun thing to do with kids in school! Great for vocabulary.

    In 10 Things I Hate About You Bianca asks her friend, "I know you can be overwhelmed and underwhelmed, but can you just be whelmed?"

  4. Table talk - I like that! PGW's a good person to have the same sort of mind as
    Chris - yes
    Softdrink - I hope you enjoy it. Love turbs me :)
    Linda - I love that! I am so whelmed. I must re watch 10 things I hate I love that movie.

  5. I love new words and always look them up. I can't help it, my mom still whispers in my ear.
    I'm not a fan of horror, so I have no idea why this popped into my head. It must be all the Stephen King I read years ago.

    dismembered? membrum latin for apart

    Can't say I ever used the word membered.

  6. Great post. Now you've given me a reason get this book. The book that most stands out to me for its vocab content is Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea. It's a book about a community that was founded by the guy who wrote "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" When one of the letters falls off the monument built to this sentence, residents see it as a sign that they shouldn't use the letter anymore. As letters continue to fall off, people have to be very inventive in their coversations. In the later chapters, I really had to get the dictionary!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Love2b - I like it :) Kind of creepy but I like it.
    Lenore - I hope you like it. That book sounds interesting :)

  9. That book is SO terrific! I loved it!

  10. That book is SO terrific! I loved it!


I adore comments, so thanks so much for taking the time. I'll try and return the favour :D