Out Now!

Friday, 2 November 2012


I was in a French restaurant, unobtrusively I thought, testing a small roll of plumpness between finger and thumb. It was my stomach, I hasten to add, and  I was feeling pleased with myself, having lost two stone and now weighing in at an almost lissom 11 stone 12 lb. 

I squeezed a bit harder estimating the weight I had still to lose. I held it against gravity, in the manner of a master butcher assessing how many sausages it amounted to – three or four pounds perhaps

A sharp voice punctured my dreaming:

“Stop podging. It’s disgusting!”

It was my daughter.



What a wonderful word. And it was new. More grist to the mill for those who dislike our cultural slide into ‘verbing.’

We have the noun Podge: A short fat man or woman, according to the Oxford dictionary. In our neck of the woods it’s a fairly affectionate term for a residual plumpness around the stomach.
But she had it. I was podging. That was it exactly.


I accepted it with pride, even though it meant losing the high ground in linguistic purity. Never again would I be able to decry with authority, bureaucratese like: ‘Let’s conference’ – ‘I’ll signature that’ – ‘statemented’ – ‘actioning’ - ‘tasking’ - ‘impacting’ - ‘We’ll transition.’ But it was worth it. A new word had been born. A Keyton word. Not exactly Shakespeare, but still…

Mind you, as I remarked to Vero a day or to ago not all change is good. My present bĂȘte noire is an increasing tendency to preface every sentence with ‘So.’

It's a plague heard across the airwaves when an expert or politician is being interviewed and responds with: 'So...podging…’  It’s an irritating grammatical tic allowing a) the interviewee time to gather his or her thoughts


b) suggesting a spurious academic air at the same time ie 'so...' sounding so much more considered and thoughtful than a simple 'ummm.'

It’s a new terrifying meme almost as bad as the dreaded upward inflection at the end of a sentence that transforms an otherwise clear statement such at ‘It’s raining,’ into a question.

But now I am rambling. Time for a little surreptitious podging, perhaps, and then bed.


Maria Zannini said...

I try to resist the urge to turn a noun into a verb, but I couldn't help it with 'Googling'. Though I'd heard Google was quite offended by it at first. I hadn't heard if they'd since come to terms with it.

I say they should embrace it. Any company famous enough to become a verb has truly made it to the big time.

Mike Keyton said...

You're right, Maria. Ultimately it's a matter of linguistic feng shui - serendipity and taste. Shakespeare had it in spades. Politicians and business men, for the most part, don't.

Unknown said...

Podging is my new favourite word. I love it. Podging. Hmm, I do that quite a lot too...

Mike Keyton said...

Must be a Northern thing, Shirley. I usually ruminate at the same time.