Feb 182011

The Greeks May Have Had a Word For It, But as George Anderson points out, We Don’t.

There are more words in the Oxford English Dictionary than a hyperactive auctioneer could get through in a lifetime – half a million to be precise. Yet there are thousands of circumstances that have no words to describe them at all. This simply isn’t fair.

Take the occasionally errant behaviour of the toes for example.

Who has not made a futile attempt to climb into our underpants of a morning, still half asleep?  Only to find that no matter how wide the leg hole, nor how well aimed the foot, your little toe and its next-door neighbour will conjure themselves open like repelling magnets to grip the waistband of the pant with the ferocity of a Barbary Coast lobster?

Nine times out of ten this will result in falling backwards over the edge of the bed into the laundry basket to the accompaniment of your favourite oath. There is a ten percent chance of course, that you will miss the laundry basket altogether, and end up testing the integrity of your cranium on the radiator housing.

Now surely something as life threatening as this should have a word to describe it. So, may I humbly propose to the OED word number 500,001:

Tobermory (noun);
The near supernatural ability of one’s toes to conspire against the wearing of their owner’s underpants.

If only there was some way to forecast when your toes might take against you in this way you could save yourself a lot of stress – not to mention a nasty skull fracture – by just going commando for the day.