Lang Lexicopia

Tuesday, 18 December 2018 09:37 pm

And the word is ...

Byzantine (adjective)

A presenter at a conference began by telling his audience how, during a flight, he avoided an unwelcome conversation with an annoying man in the next seat by saying: "Did you know there are 25 different ways of pronouncing Byzantine?" The man remained silent until the plane was coming in to land, then he said to the first man: "OK I've got 23, what are the other two?" Whether or not there are indeed 25 pronunciations, I'll leave you to work out. But it seems appropriate for a word with many meanings, one of which is labyrinthine

Julie Mitchell, senior writer and editor

 

Lant

A word that’s close to our hearts at Lang Communications, because Lant Street is where we’re based. This area was once at the centre of the leather trade and ‘lant’ was a vital ingredient in the curing process. Apparently, it could also be used to freshen the breath, flavour ale and glaze hard pastries. So what exactly is lant then? Well it’s.. umm.. stale human urine (a fact that the proprietors of the nearby Café Lant have obviously chosen to ignore).

Brian Thompson, senior writer

More about Lant Street

 

Pampootie

Isn’t it the most beautiful sound? I first came across it while sitting on a stool in the peat-smoke scented kitchen of an old thatched cottage on the Aran island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland. It came from the mouth of the beautiful elfin guide to the house where the playwright John Millington Synge (author of Playboy of the Western World) stayed during the first decade of the 20th century.
Pampooties were the footwear of choice for the Aran islanders – a kind of short-lived slipper or sandal made from raw cowskin and fishing line. They were placed in a basin of water at night to maintain their suppleness.

Martin Beaver, senior writer