Words I had to look up whilst reading AA Gill.


  • [“you really are a common little] arriviste” | status-seeker, social-climber, would-be
  • etiolated | pale and drawn due to a lack of light, feeble
  • antediluvian | old-fashioned, belonging to a time pre biblical flood
  • “Corryvreckan [alchemy of the paintbox]” | a narrow strait between Scottish isles Jura and Scarba which features a great whirlpool, standing waves, and a lot of “surface effects”. The Scottish goddess of winter was said to wash tartan in the strait which turned it so white it became a blanket of snow to cover the mountains.
  • logorrhoeic | excessive talkativeness, literally: a flow of words.
  • [a blue whale’s] cochlea | a small snail shell-shaped chamber of the inner ear that receives sound in the form of vibrations
  • a pre-Columbian kern stone | ??? still not sure. perhaps a stone carving originating from historical civilisations prior to Christopher Columbus’ voyage of 1492
  • “a small dinosaur’s coprolite poo” | fossilized faeces, literally: dungstone
  • proselytiser/proselytising | attempting to persuade [someone] from one religion/belief/opinion to another
  • Gadarene | involved in a potentially disastrous rush to do something, with reference to the biblical tale of a herd of swine running down a mountain into the sea.
  • plosive | a “stop” consonant (eg. T) although in this case, more like a metaphorical cork for diarrhoea.
  • vitrined | like a vitrine: a glass case full of curios. How Gill describes one half of his brain that won’t let him leave a rhetorical trivial-based question unanswered.

(three of these solvable mysteries are things AA Gill actually owned in his own vitrine)