Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Masher

Sometimes words that are perfectly useful seem to fall out of favour in English. Such as "fortnight" among Americans. Such is the case with "masher", which I recalled when doing an old New York Times crossword that brought up the lovely phrase "mash note", and which refers, apparently, to "a man who thinks himself irresistible to the female sex but whose advances are often unwelcome" - I can't think of a good word that can be used as a synonym for that. All that comes to mind are phrases such as "would-be lothario". Or "quixotic Don Juan", which at least makes a double-Don literary reference.

There should be a way to rescue and rehabilitate useful words that have inexplicably lost their standing as respectable members of the English vocabulary. Society for the Preservation of Words, or suchlike. (Aside: searching Google for "Society for the Preservation of Words", without the inverted commas/quote marks, brought up the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America.)



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