The Meaning of Liff Read online





  The Meaning of Liff

  Douglas Adams

  John Lloyd

  Douglas Adams John Lloyd

  The Meaning of Liff

  AASLEAGH (n.)

  A liqueur made only for drinking at the end of a revoltingly long bottle party when all the drinkable drink has been drunk.

  ABERBEEG (vb.)

  Of amateur actors, to adopt a Mexican accent when called upon to play any variety of foreigner (except Pakistanis - from whom a Welsh accent is considered sufficient).

  ABERCRAVE (vb.)

  To strongly desire to swing from the pole on the rear footplate of a bus.

  ABERYSTWYTH (n.)

  A nostalgic yearning which is in itself more pleasant than the thing being yearned for.

  ABILENE (adj.)

  Descriptive of the pleasing coolness on the reverse side of the pillow.

  ABINGER (n.)

  One who washes up everything except the frying pan, the cheese grater and the saucepan which the chocolate sauce has been made in.

  ABOYNE (vb.)

  To beat an expert at a game of skill by playing so appallingly that none of his clever tactics or strategies are of any use to him.

  ACLE (n.)

  The rouge pin which shirtmakers conceal in the most improbable fold of a new shirt. Its function is to stab you when you don the garment.

  ADLESTROP (n.)

  That part of a suitcase which is designed to get snarled up on conveyor belts at airports. Some of the more modern adlestrop designs have a special 'quick release' feature which enables the case to flip open at this point and fling your underclothes into the conveyor belt's gearing mechanism.

  ADRIGOLE (n.)

  The centrepiece of a merry-go-round on which the man with the tickets stands unnervingly still.

  AFFCOT (n.)

  The sort of fart you hope people will talk after.

  AFFPUDDLE (n.)

  A puddle which is hidden under a pivoted paving stone. You only know it's there when you step on the paving stone and the puddle shoots up your leg.

  AGGLETHORPE (n.)

  A dispute between two pooves in a boutique.

  AHENNY (adj.)

  The way people stand when examining other people's bookshelves.

  AIGBURTH (n.)

  Any piece of readily identifiable anatomy found amongst cooked meat.

  AINDERBY QUERNHOW (n.)

  One who continually bemoans the 'loss' of the word 'gay' to the English language, even though they had never used the word in any context at all until they started complaining that they couldn't use it any more.

  AINDERBY STEEPLE (n.)

  One who asks you a question with the apparent motive of wanting to hear your answer, but who cuts short your opening sentence by leaning forward and saying 'and I'll tell you why I ask...' and then talking solidly for the next hour.

  AINSWORTH (n.)

  The length of time it takes to get served in a camera shop. Hence, also, how long we will have to wait for the abolition of income tax or the Second Coming.

  AIRD OF SLEAT (n. archaic)

  Ancient Scottish curse placed from afar on the stretch of land now occupided by Heathrow Airport.

  AITH (n.)

  The single bristle that sticks out sideways on a cheap paintbrush.

  ALBUQUERQUE (n.)

  A shapeless squiggle which is utterly unlike your normal signature, but which is, nevertheless, all you are able to produce when asked formally to identify yourself. Muslims, whose religion forbids the making of graven images, use albuquerques to decorate their towels, menu cards and pyjamas.

  ALDCLUNE (n.)

  One who collects ten-year-old telephone directories.

  ALLTAMI (n.)

  The ancient art of being able to balance the hot and cold shower taps.

  AMBLESIDE (n.)

  A talk given about the Facts of Life by a father to his son whilst walking in the garden on a Sunday afternoon.

  AMERSHAM (n.)

  The sneeze which tickles but never comes. (Thought to derive from the Metropolitan Line tube station of the same name where the rails always rattle but the train never arrives.)

  AMLWCH (n.)

  A British Rail sandwich which has been kept soft by being regularly washed and resealed in clingfilm.

  ARAGLIN (n. archaic)

  A medieval practical joke played by young squires on a knight aspirant the afternoon he is due to start his vigil. As the knight arrives at the castle the squires attempt to raise the drawbridge very suddenly as the knight and his charger step on to it.

  ARDCRONY (n.)

  A remote acquaintance passed off as 'a very good friend of mine' by someone trying to impress people.

  ARDSCALPSIE (n.)

  Excuse made by rural Welsh hairdresser for completely massacring your hair.

  ARDSCULL (n.)

  Excuse made by rural Welsh hairdresser for deep wounds inflicted on your scalp in an attempt to rectify whatever it was that induced the ardscalpsie (q.v.).

  ARDSLIGNISH (adj.)

  Adjective which describes the behaviour of Sellotape when you are tired.

  ARTICLAVE (n.)

  A clever architectural construction designed to give the illusion from the top deck of a bus that it is far too big for the road.

  AYNHO (vb.)

  Of waiters, never to have a pen.

  BABWORTH

  Something which justifies having a really good cry.

  BALDOCK

  The sharp prong on the top of a tree stump where the tree has snapped off before being completely sawn through.

  BALLYCUMBER

  One of the six half-read books lying somewhere in your bed.

  BANFF

  Pertaining to, or descriptive of, that kind of facial expression which is impossible to achieve except when having a passport photograph taken.

  BANTEER

  A lusty and raucous old ballad sung after a particulary spectacular araglin (q.v.) has been pulled off.

  BARSTIBLEY

  A humorous device such as a china horse or small naked porcelain infant which jocular hosts use of piss water into your Scotch with.

  BAUGHURST

  That kind of large fierce ugly woman who owns a small fierce ugly dog.

  BAUMBER

  A fitted elasticated bottom sheet which turns your mattress bananashaped.

  BEALINGS

  The unsavoury parts of a moat which a knight has to pour out of his armour after being the victim of an araglin (q.v.). In medieval Flanders, soup made from bealins was a very slightly sought-after delicacy.

  BEAULIEU HILL

  The optimum vantage point from which one to view people undressing in the bedroom across the street.

  BECCLES

  The small bone buttons placed in bacon sandwiches by unemployed guerrilla dentist.

  BEDFONT

  A lurching sensation in the pit of the stomach experienced at breakfast in a hotel, occasioned by the realisation that it is about now that the chamber-maid will have discovered the embarrassing stain on your bottom sheet.

  BELPER

  A knob of someone else's chewing gum which you unexpectedly find your hand resting on under a deck's top, under the passenger seat of your car or on somebody's thigh under their skirt.

  BENBURB

  The sort of man who becomes a returning officer.

  BEREPPER

  The irrevocable and sturdy fart released in the presence of royalty, which sounds quite like a small motorbike passing by (but not enough to be confused with one).

  BERKHAMSTED

  The massive three-course midmorning blow-out enjoyed by a dieter who has already done his or her slimming duty by having a teaspo