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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Subject: An elusive word
Question: Good evening. For years I have been searching for the word which
describes the following action:

* two people who, upon accidentally meeting face-to-face as they
walk towards each other, move left then right then left again in a
comical yet unsuccessful attempt to bypass one another.

Please put me out of my misery.



Reply: A good example of a concept for which most of us don't have a word. Time to promote 'bobbing'?

While on this topic, how about a word for 'surfaces of a room' (i.e. any or all of ceiling, floor, wall)?

And here are some I recommend (some of which are making international headway):

From Singapore/Malaysian English: 'kiasu' (keen to get the best for self).

From my native Middlesbrough: 'cotter' (a tangle in the hair)

From India: 'prepone' (to bring an event forward)

From Australia: 'bottom out' (to hit the bottom of the car on using an overly steep driveway)

Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
Date: 21-Jul-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: An elusive word    Steven Schaufele     (24-Jul-2013)
  2. Re: An elusive word    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (22-Jul-2013)
  3. Re: An elusive word    M J Hardman     (18-Jul-2013)
  4. Re: An elusive word    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (19-Jul-2013)

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