a list of words that are only ever used in one phrase and one phrase only

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1. fro - "to and fro"

JZ, Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

2. petard - "hoisted on your own etc."

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Tony Robinson did a whole special the other day where he demonstrated what a petard was.

(And actually, it has two meanings - one for people involved in medieval warfare, and another on ships!)

I Dream Of Sleep (kate), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It's a kind of mediaeval grenade is it?

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

http://www.merlinnj.com/shop/media/holy_hand_grenade.jpg

g-kit (g-kit), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:21 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

pyrrhic - as in 'pyrrhic victory'

Bob Six (bobbysix), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

jetsam
morans

Haikunym (Haikunym), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"willy nilly"

elmo (allocryptic), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

2. petard - "hoisted on your own etc."

Funny, I was trying to come up with a list like this a couple years ago with a friend of mine, and this is the first one we came up with, I think.

jaymc (jaymc), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

woogie. (boogie woogie)

auk (auk and style)

mark grout (mark grout), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Wasn't an Auk an extinct type of bird? (Or am I thinking Auroc, which is an animal anyway.)

I Dream Of Sleep (kate), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I knew I was right!

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/1/1/0/7/11073/11073-h/images/auk.jpg

I Dream Of Sleep (kate), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The great auk is extinct, but there are still plenty of other auks around.

NickB (NickB), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

unrequited

autovac (autovac), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

(Actually the list I was trying to construct was more specifically words that were once in common usage but only exist now in an idiomatic context.)

jaymc (jaymc), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'vim and vigour'
'spic and span'

NickB (NickB), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 14:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'sleight of hand'
'fleet of foot' (in that sense of the word anyhow)

NickB (NickB), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

pale and wan

mark grout (mark grout), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'and never the TWAIN shall meet'

Sociah T Azzahole (blueski), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'as is my WONT'

Sociah T Azzahole (blueski), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't agree about 'wan' - I use it and have heard it used alone quite frequently.

Archel (Archel), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't agree about 'wan' - I use it and have heard it used alone quite frequently.

Well, you *are* on a Belle and Sebastian mailing list...

I Dream Of Sleep (kate), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hue and cry

beanz (beanz), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hatch-"down the hatch" (not in the context of eggs)
render-"render unto Caesar what is Caesar's..."

jocelyn (Jocelyn), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

(xpost) zing!

jaymc (jaymc), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'woe betide'
'kith and kin'

NickB (NickB), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I always thought that "profusely" had a limited usage, in that I would wager that 80% of the time, it's used with one of the following words: cry, sweat, bleed, apologize, and thank.

jaymc (jaymc), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

haha, bloody poets showing up and saying "Nah, 'wan' is in common use"! (xpost to Archel)

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'rent asunder'

NickB (NickB), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

(did I spell that right?)

NickB (NickB), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'stark naked'

NickB (NickB), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

cleave (in the sense of join, not split) "cleave to one's principles"

jocelyn (Jocelyn), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Ha ha Nick just reminded me of one of Billy Connelly's finest

Teacher: Woe betide the boy who plays football instead of coming into class

Young Billy: Who's this fucking Woby? He's got the right idea!

(or words to that effect)

Rumpea, Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Render" is not uncommon.

elmo (allocryptic), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The quick and the dead – quick as in alive
Hold fast – fast as in, er, not moving at all

beanz (beanz), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

You use a derivative of fast still - as in fasten.

I Dream Of Sleep (kate), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Duh

beanz (beanz), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I guess I meant render in the sense of "to pay", the whole action, not using "render payment" which is redundant.

jocelyn (Jocelyn), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Brimstone
Mickle, muckle
Hale

Markelby (Mark C), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'Hale', of course, is usually used in conjunction with 'twat'.

http://www.20six.co.uk/pub/channel26/hale_and_pace2.jpg

beanz (beanz), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

After the 'wan' thing I just shouldn't say that I use 'hale' and 'brimstone', should I?

Archel (Archel), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hale, Satan

Sociah T Azzahole (blueski), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hoist on his own petard is from Hamlet, right?

Pétard in French is slang for a joint.

M. White (Miguelito), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 15:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"For 'tis the sport to have the enginer / Hoist with his owne
petar"
Shakespeare, Hamlet III iv.

"Hoist" was in Shakespeare's time the past participles of a verb "to hoise", which meant what "to hoist" does now: to lift. A petard (see under "peter out" for the etymology) was an explosive charge detonated by a slowly burning fuse. If the petard went off prematurely, then the sapper (military engineer; Shakespeare's "enginer") who planted it would be hurled into the air by the explosion. (Compare "up" in "to blow up".) A modern rendition might be: "It's fun to see the engineer blown up with his own bomb."

Hello Sunshine (Hello Sunshine), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 16:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

cleave

the only word in the english languaged that means one thing and also its opposite.

poortheatre (poortheatre), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 16:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

nah, there's loads

Slumpman (Slump Man), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 17:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

eke!

Huk-L (Huk-L), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 17:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

quench

When is it ever used not in conjunction with "thurst" ?

JTS, Tuesday, 23 August 2005 19:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

short SHRIFT
out of KILTER

Si.C@rter (SiC@rter), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 20:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

.cx

LeCoq (LeCoq), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 20:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Oh, and last night I also thought that "fast" meaning still is in "hold fast" and "make fast". So there.

I Dream Of Sleep (kate), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 06:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

See http://www-personal.umich.edu/~cellis/antagonym.html for words with two contradictory meanings (I don't think 'antagonym' is quite the official term but then I'm not sure there is one.)

Archel (Archel), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 08:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Well I'm not really worried about this,
But can some one please answer me this -
Apart from on commentary, where else on earth
Can you hear the word 'aplomb' being used?

(Half Man Half Biscuit- Keeping Two Chevrons Apart)

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 08:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hrmmm. I enjoy summer fruits - sometimes I feel like eating a peach, and sometimes I feel like eating aplomb.

I Dream Of Sleep (kate), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 08:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Peel and Unpeel aplomb.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 08:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Not quite on topic but I vaguely remember a line in PG Wodehouse about Jeeves (I think) being, if not disgruntled, not exactly gruntled either.

beanz (beanz), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 08:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I am a very dolent person
I eptly work.
Don't tell me a secret, I'll only be creet.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 08:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Flammable - might burst into flames.
Inflammable - might burst into flames.

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 08:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I am norant.

beanz (beanz), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 08:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

http://paul.merton.ox.ac.uk/language/gruntled.html

Archel (Archel), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 09:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Contemplate suicide"

Suicide is only ever contemplated, never "thought about" or "considered".

Come Back Johnny B (Johnney B), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 10:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"lo" and behold

oops (Oops), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 18:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Lo: Appears in proclamation-ish uses, ie "Lo, how a rose ere blooming/from tender stem hath sprung". Probably used about as much as O, as in "O Archel, how I admire thee".

Quench: Also a blacksmithing term, meaning to plunge the hot item into water (or into captured enemy soldiers, if you're a samurai). Basically refers to applying liquid.

Rack: Racked with guilt/sobs/etc.

Cleave: Biblical! Genesis 2:25: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh".

Laurel (Laurel), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 18:58 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

And really, isn't the opposite of "inept", "apt"? Somehow I always thought it was.

Laurel (Laurel), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 18:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Some of those "antagonyms" -- e.g. "apparent" and "bound" -- are total bullshit!

nabisco (nabisco), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 19:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, Nabisco, I noticed that about "apparent" -- the two uses given aren't opposites in any true sense, just different applications of the same idea (visibility, broadly speaking). The sloppy reasoning pissed me off so much that I didn't read any further.

Laurel (Laurel), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 19:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Grrr.

nabisco (nabisco), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 20:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Also, I know there's a song lyric that runs "...thought about suicide..." but I can't place it right now. Will think on the way home from work.

Laurel (Laurel), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 20:34 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"I've thought so much about suicide / parts of me have already died" is from an Old 97s song. Suspect the overuse of "considered suicide" is just newcasters & reporters trying too hard and then people adopting the construction they hear on the news and think is most correct/proper.

Laurel, Thursday, 25 August 2005 02:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

When you are "disappointed" does that mean your furniture have been removed?

Beth Parker, Thursday, 25 August 2005 03:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Oops, meant "has." Time for bed.

Beth Parker, Thursday, 25 August 2005 03:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Sure as eggs is eggs, mantle with aplomb!"

(I always think of that when I see that word)

Trayce (trayce), Thursday, 25 August 2005 03:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Flann O'Brien did this thread first, in 1941.

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Thursday, 25 August 2005 04:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

ten years pass...

auk (auk and style)

Turns out there's no such saying.

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 May 2016 10:40 (two years ago) Permalink

Booby trap

Obviously "boob"/"booby" is still used in, er, another context, but I think this is the only contemporary usage of its original meaning (a foolish person).

Tuomas, Wednesday, 25 May 2016 11:30 (two years ago) Permalink

booby prize

Eyeball Kicks, Wednesday, 25 May 2016 11:38 (two years ago) Permalink

Achingly beautiful?

real orgone kid (NickB), Thursday, 26 May 2016 07:50 (two years ago) Permalink

Oh, I didn't know the English term for the concept of "booby prize", thanks for enlightening me.

Tuomas, Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:19 (two years ago) Permalink

Also, I guess the term "boob tube" is still used in the US, or is it?

Tuomas, Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:20 (two years ago) Permalink

(Meaning television, not the piece of clothing.)

Tuomas, Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:21 (two years ago) Permalink

No it's not. And there's no piece of clothing called boob tube.

Josefa, Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:27 (two years ago) Permalink

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tube_top

A tube top, colloquially known in the U.K. as a boob tube, is a shoulderless, sleeveless women's garment that wraps around the upper torso.

Tuomas, Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:35 (two years ago) Permalink

Ah OK, well in America we don't have that term

Josefa, Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:38 (two years ago) Permalink

huh I always thought it was an Americanism

reader, if you love him so much why don't you marry him? (DJ Mencap), Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:50 (two years ago) Permalink

much of a "muchness"

japanese mage (LocalGarda), Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:50 (two years ago) Permalink

Finland... UK... USA... do we even speak the same language?

Larry 'Leg' Smith (Tom D.), Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:51 (two years ago) Permalink

"Boob tube" in America means TV, yes, but only someone over age 60 would use that term in that way. We say "tube top" for the garment.

Josefa, Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:52 (two years ago) Permalink

... but only someone over age 60 would wear one.

Larry 'Leg' Smith (Tom D.), Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:53 (two years ago) Permalink

You should come to Brooklyn

Josefa, Thursday, 26 May 2016 08:55 (two years ago) Permalink

The high water mark of "boob tube" was probably the 70s, so "over age 60" is a little exaggerated, but it's not a current hip hep and happening phrase. It is definitely generally understandable still. "The tube" for tv is probably a little more in use, but then again tvs aren't as in use as they used to be.

Three Word Username, Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:05 (two years ago) Permalink

Genuinely surprising that there's no porn streaming site called BoobTube.

Eyeball Kicks, Thursday, 26 May 2016 11:18 (two years ago) Permalink

"Boob Tube"? You don't mean "Goggle Box" ?

Mark G, Thursday, 26 May 2016 11:40 (two years ago) Permalink

Wit in "To wit"

Larry 'Leg' Smith (Tom D.), Thursday, 26 May 2016 11:45 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Raring in 'Raring to go'?

Alan Alba (Tom D.), Thursday, 12 July 2018 17:58 (nine months ago) Permalink

six months pass...

I don't think I even quoted it secondhand. Actually, my students want Maduro gone, and I've seen the strange-bedfellows approach b/w the Trump administration and the parents of the students who have no butter or meat.

― Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 February 2019 01:04 (forty-eight minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq7LM4rOcV4

Wee boats wobble but they don't fall down (Tom D.), Sunday, 10 February 2019 01:54 (two months ago) Permalink

druthers

ɪmˈpəʊzɪŋ (darraghmac), Sunday, 10 February 2019 03:08 (two months ago) Permalink

seems like the word 'fraught' is accompanied by 'with danger' at least 95% of the time. partly to be perverse, I like to dislodge it from danger and use it in other contexts.

A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 10 February 2019 04:23 (two months ago) Permalink

i rarely use fraught in the "with danger" context. I use it as a replacement for "problematic" which has semantically shifted in recent years.

sarahell, Sunday, 10 February 2019 05:08 (two months ago) Permalink

Only pools are limpid.
― weather1ngda1eson (Brian)

only green is limpid

the scientology of mountains (rushomancy), Sunday, 10 February 2019 12:16 (two months ago) Permalink

just read this wonderful malapropism:

"These guys covered the gamete with Rock N’ Roll, Blues, R&B and splendid jams."

which reminds me that mature haploid cells aside, the gamut is only ever run.

the scientology of mountains (rushomancy), Sunday, 10 February 2019 15:20 (two months ago) Permalink


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