Polari a ‘secret language’? Nonsense

15 October 2016 9:00 am

Of the contribution to English that Polari is claimed to have brought, perhaps naff is the most current-sounding. An older…

The surprising history of ‘How’s your father’

11 June 2016 9:00 am

‘Very funny, I don’t think,’ said my husband when I mentioned Harry Tate, although Tate died in 1940 and even…

How ‘Not even a thing’ became a thing

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Last summer Kim Kardashian, who already had a daughter called North (surname West), announced that she was expecting a boy.…

Barry Humphries’s diary: My war with ‘Wow!’

29 October 2015 9:00 am

I’m counting ‘Wows!’ Suddenly everyone is using this irritating expletive expressing incredulity, amazement and nothing at all. I’ve heard it…

Charles Moore’s Notes: the Tories’ adoption of the Living Wage is entirely bogus

5 September 2015 9:00 am

Was there ever a more unilluminating political idea — for voters rather than practitioners — than triangulation? For those readers so…

From ambrosia to zabaglione — now with added slavery

13 June 2015 9:00 am

This Oxford Companion ranges from the sweet to the decidedly salty, while being the most politically correct reference book you will ever consult, says Paul Levy

Does Joey Essex know what ‘reem’ actually means?

22 November 2014 9:00 am

Joey Essex is a celebrity who appeared in the ‘scripted reality’ programme The Only Way is Essex, named not after…

What other job lets you swear in front of your parents?

15 March 2014 9:00 am

There aren’t many jobs that allow a nice middle-class Jewish boy to say ‘fuck’ in front of his parents. But…

From Cockney to Jafaican

23 March 2013 9:00 am

‘Jafaican’ is less irritating than fake American

‘Ware’s Victorian Dictionary of Slang and Phrase', by J. Redding Ware - review

9 March 2013 9:00 am

James Redding Ware, with his idiosyncratic treatment of slang, plunges the reader straight into the late 19th-century Bartholomew Fair of…

Mind your language

27 November 2010 12:00 am

The big news screen at Victoria Station said, ‘Colin Farrell to play British bad boy.’