Language Bits

1) I've been re-reading old detective novels from a box I just unearthed. The characters are always "washing down" food with a pint or a glass of wine. What's this about? Have their digestive systems stopped working? My food goes down fine on its own, without any need for "washing."

2) One of the phrases of British English I least like is "tuck into," as in, "He tucked into his fish and chips." I tuck babies into their blankets; I never have tucked myself into my food. It makes me shiver every time I read it.

3) In Brooklyn, new Indian restaurants with absolutely standard fare still boast that they offer "exotic Indian foods." Dear owners: Thirty years ago, paratha, lamb korma, and chicken vindaloo may have been "exotic," but today they are about as exotic as spaghetti marinara.

4) Another tired blog cliche: "I'm just asking..." Having seen this for like the 7000th time, I'm pretty sick of it.


  1. Sudha Shenoy6:02 AM

    'Tuck-shop' = shop selling food, usually in a school.

  2. I know "tuck" can mean food, but that meaning makes total nonsense of the phrase: "He tucked into his food" becomes "he fooded into his food"!

  3. If food is particularly salty or spicey, sometimes you have to cleanse the pallet with some wine or stout.

  4. How about "at the end of the day"? Ugh! I heard some commentator use that horrible phrase five times in two minutes the other day. It has apparently replaced "the bottom line," which was equally atrocious and overused.

  5. At the end of the day, do you think you just have to consider these pet peeves pointless and happily tuck into some exotic curry, washed down with lashings and lashings of ale?

    I'm just asking?

  6. Andy, "I'm just asking..." requires ellipses in its canonical form.

  7. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Andy, good job on the comment.

  8. Sudha Shenoy5:01 PM

    'Tuck' is both a noun _and_ a verb -- like any number of words in English...

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