Pluviophile, rore and celefie: Lucy Mangan takes on your latest word submissions to

Let’s start with hootenanny’s ‘chuff chart‘. No, come back – it’s quite safe for work (though perhaps I’d better also check “hootananny” – yes, we’re okay), at least these days. It originated in the forces and referred to a chart that counted down the days until the end of a tour of duty and reunion with one’s loved ones. It is alleged that this is because they were ‘chuffed’ to be going home. Now, forgive me. I haven’t been able to find official confirmation of this and possibly it is simply a result of having a mind in the gutter but…given the state of frustration men on genitally-inactive duty endure and ‘chuff’ being a slang term for – well, let’s call it ‘hootananny’ for the duration, shall we? With apologies and no aspersions cast on hootenanny his or herself, of course – my hunch is that the name actually comes from having a very specific sort of reunion with a particular loved one in mind. Do get in touch if you can confirm either way. Regardless, the meaning has now expanded to include any sort of countdown to any kind of long-awaited event, such as retirement, a holiday, a birth, wedding or, in my case, the sixth series of The Good Wife and the arrival of the two skirts from ASOS that are to comprise my entire summer wardrobe this year and many years to come.


Onward! To ‘pluviophile‘ – and again, I say, come back and desist from scrubbing away at your browser history. Submitted by surekh, it means – as I’m sure a moment’s less panicked thought has revealed to you – an aficionado of rain, someone who finds the joy and peace in precipitation that others might find basking in the unforgiving glare of the sun. I love a good rainy day. You can catch up on The Good Wife without guilt, and those skirts are never going to look right anyway.

I was baffled by ‘rore‘, from peter.sotropa.5, meaning ‘dew’, until I looked it up and found that it derives from ‘ros’, Latin for ‘dew’ or ‘moisture’. It’s an obsolete term but it also yields roral, roriferous, roration (dewy, dew-producing, a falling of dew respectively) and I don’t know if they are quite as obsolete as ‘rore’ itself. What I like about it all, however, is that for once the right word survived. ‘Dew’, ‘dewy’, ‘bedewed’ – these are all much lovelier and more gently, aurally apposite for the soft, silent fall of tiny droplets on the greensward than a load of ugly ror-ing, don’t you think?


And finally, short but sweet: ‘celefie‘, from lilmiss.cheerful, meaning a selfie taken by a celebrity. I can’t believe I haven’t come across this one before but unless my (fairly well-ordered) memory banks lie, I have not. I’d take out the second “e” but otherwise, smashing. An A-lister amongst ‘selfie’-variants for sure.

See you next time. I’ll be filling in the chuff chart ’til then.

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