Words In Christmas Carols That Ought To Be Revived

Here is a seasonal Top 10. I started, having sung “O Come All Ye Faithful”,* with thither, fain and oblation.

  1. Hark. Nominated by Charlie McW. Politicians should do more harking to the voters if they want to stay in touch.
  2. Herald. Nominated by Sheila Hooper. All press officers should be renamed heralds.
  3. Tidings. “We need more tidings,” says Sean Kemp, who used to be a Liberal Democrat herald himself. Instead of press releases, heralds should issue‏ embargoed tidings.
  4. Wassail. “I love a good wassail,” says Joanne Lake. Don’t we all?
  5. Yon, suggests Tom Freeman. ‏Yonder, adds Lucy Hunter Johnston.
  6. Afar. Nominated by Francis Wheen. Where’s Brimingham? Afar. That sort of thing. Opposite of nigh (nominated by Nick Perry).
  7. Affright. Also from Francis Wheen.
  8. ‏Verily. William Barter.
  9. Lowing. Sheila Hooper again. All children’s books will have to be altered, moo, moo, becoming low, low.
  10. Swaddling. Nominated by Patrick Kidd. Excellent idea for rebranding a product with an environmentally doubtful reputation: it can henceforth be sold as “disposable swaddling”.

No room, sadly for morn, spake, yea and begotten.

And the best suggestion came from Mark Bassett:

“How about starting sentences with O rather than the awful So?”

First published in the Independent on 19th December 2014.


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