Huer Missus

For as long as we can remember (though do bear in mind that often I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast the same day 🙂  ) Shana and I have been playing each other at Scrabble and, more recently, Lexicon.

The trouble with playing too intensively though, is that sometimes you can sort of go blank, albeit temporarily.

I blame all those notorious two-letter words that Scrabblers find essential. Poor Shana was left scratching her head a few weeks ago, agonising over whether one particular word was permitted. She even spelled it out to see if that might help.

“S-O. No I’m not sure. I’ll have to look it up.”

“Of course it’s allowed,” I said.  “It’s ‘So’, the well known conjunction, as in the sentence ‘I didn’t score enough points, so I lost the game’.”

“Oh, that ‘so’,” said Shana. “Sorry. Forgot.”

“Easily done,” I said, pencilling a quick note on the back of the scoresheet for future reference.

The other major problem with word games is that sometimes you want to look something up, either for an exact definition, or for its interesting etymology. And it’s so easy to get sidetracked and end up reading the dictionary instead.

Sometimes though, that’s when you discover fascinating words. Like tonight’s Word of the Evening: ‘Huer’.

Here’s what the dictionary tells us. A huer is, and I quote: ‘A pilchard fisherman’s lookout man’. Apparently, a huer would stand on a clifftop and would signal to his fisherman friends on their boat at sea, where shoals of herring or pilchards could be found. For some reason it’s easier to spot them at a distance rather than when you’re sailing right next to them.

Anyway, huer was never on the list of options during careers advice day at school back in the Dark Ages. Shame that, because if it had been I might have found my lifelong vocation.

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3 thoughts on “Huer Missus

  1. This is why our family scrabble games lasted days at a time!
    Both myself, and my Mum, were avid word fans, and often got lost in the dictionary looking up the meanings of words. It always amazed us how many times a mix of letters that we thought meant nothing at all would have it’s own meaning – which meant we’d then get side-tracked into looking up others, rather than actually playing the game 🙂
    I miss those days, I must admit 🙂

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    1. You’re right. Etymology can be fascinating. Funny how most words go back to Greek, Latin, Old Norse, mediaeval French etc. Does the English language actually have any of its own words? Over to you, ‘Susie Dent’ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You don’t know how much I wish I had her job! Lol
        You also won’t find any argument from me as to the origins of words, Chris. It’s something that has fascinated me ever since I learned what the word etymology actually meant 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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