Monday, 27 October 2014

How do you mean…?

Inspired by my hero, Douglas Adams, and his collaboration with John Lloyd on The Meaning of Liff – as well as I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’s Uxbridge English Dictionary of daffynitions – here are a selection of the (possibly) real meanings of local place-names:
  • Alderminster 1. A retired vicar. 2. Ex-member of the cabinet.
  • Alveston Layering for winter.
  • Banbury Only cremations allowed.
  • Barford No American cars, please.
  • Bearley 1. An old and much-loved teddy. 2. A parsimonious amount of locally-grown grain.
  • Beaudesert 1. Trifle. 2. Treacle tart and custard.
  • Bidford [see Barford] Trying to buy an American car at auction.
  • Birmingham Sand-cured pig thigh or hock.
  • Brownsover Ex-PM.
  • Chadshunt 1. Ignorance of African geography. 2. American presidential election fallout.
  • Charlecote Outerwear fit for a prince.
  • Charlecote Park [see Charlecote] A posh cloakroom.
  • Claverdon 1. Knowledgeable Spanish nobleman (e.g. Juan). 2. Bighead. 3. Lecturer.
  • Coughton [see Charlecote] Going outside.
  • Coventry The mystical oak where witches meet.
  • Epwell A supersized form of naval uniform shoulder ornament [see also Shipston-on-Stour].
  • Ettington Frequently results in indigestion.
  • Foleshill My horse is poorly.
  • Fullready A new car, with a complimentary tank of petrol.
  • Fullready ford [see Barford; Bidford; Fullready] A new American car, etc..
  • Gaydon [see Claverdon] Happy Spanish nobleman (e.g. Adriano de Armado).
  • Halford One part of a ‘cut and shut’ [see Barford; Bidford; Fullready ford].
  • Idlicote [see Charlecote; Coughton] Outerwear for lounging.
  • Kenilworth A valuation of canines (sometimes behind glass).
  • King’s Norton Posh motorcycle.
  • Knowle [see Claverdon] Bighead.
  • Leamington Spa A branded corner shop in Leamington.
  • Lower Tysoe [see Tysoe] To knot shoelaces properly.
  • Loxley Narrowboat, waiting its turn (e.g. at Hatton).
  • Middle (or Church) Tysoe [see Tysoe] Cincture at the navel, or waist, of cassock.
  • Moreton Morrell An excess of edible fungi.
  • Newbold Reformulated washing powder…
  • Newbold Pacey [see Newbold] …for a quick wash.
  • Norton Lindsey [see King’s Norton] Shakespearan actor’s motorcycle.
  • Oxhill [see Foleshill] My cow is poorly.
  • Packwood Carrying fire-alms (on the Feast of Stephen).
  • Pillerton A large prescription.
  • Pillerton Hersey [see Pillerton] Side-effects.
  • Pillerton Priors [see Pillerton] Repeat prescriptions.
  • Radway Good direction.
  • Rollright How to win a big cheese…
  • Rollright Stones [see Rollright] …under the influence.
  • Sherbourne Shakespearean actor carried aloft; transported.
  • Shipston One hundred mariners.
  • Shipston-on-Stour [see Shipston] One hundred mariners between changes of uniform.
  • Snitterfield The sensation or experience of a tiny laugh [fr. Howerd; fr. Williams].
  • Southam Piggish insult [fr. Shakespeare].
  • Stratford 1. Without digression. 2. Not complicated. 3. Often the second exit on a roundabout.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon [see Stratford] It’s easy to understand, as God is my witness [fr. Shakespeare; obsolete].
  • Tysoe To knot, or fasten, something correctly.
  • Upper (or Over) Tysoe [see Tysoe] Windsor, half-Windsor, four-in-hand, or Pratt?
  • Upton A prefix: meaning negative, or of a dubious nature – e.g. upton ogood.
  • Upton House [see Upton] A lack of commonsense.
  • Walton A televised Disney film.
  • Warwick A candle used in blackouts.
  • Whatcote [see Alveston; Charlecote; Coughton; Idlicote] Doubting the Met Office.
  • Whichford [see Barford; Bidford; Fullready ford; Halford] Struggling to choose a model of car.
  • Willicote Prophylactic.
  • Willoughby On the banks of the Avon.
  • Wilmcote [see Charlecote] Outerwear fit for a prince (as opposed to haricot – which is obviously a bean).
  • Worcester Jeeves’ employer.
  • Wroxton A large quantity – or weight – of ironstone.

If you would like to suggest your own definitions, or alternatives, please feel free to add a comment below.

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