Simon Hoggart

Sweet and sour

Lewis Carroll invented the word ‘mimsy’, probably soldering it from ‘miserable’ and ‘flimsy’.

Lewis Carroll invented the word ‘mimsy’, probably soldering it from ‘miserable’ and ‘flimsy’.

Lewis Carroll invented the word ‘mimsy’, probably soldering it from ‘miserable’ and ‘flimsy’. Since then mimsy has taken on a separate life. Chambers defines it as ‘prim, demure, prudish’ and Oxford as ‘feeble and prim’, though I think modern usage would imply a certain self-conscious prettiness, like sprigged pillowcases, tiny pens with floral designs and anything by Cath Kidston.

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