Monthly Archives: May 2020

Dragoon (verb)


  1. to subjugate or persecute by harsh use of troops
  2. to force into submission or compliance especially by violent measures

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 7 January 2020)

Use it in a sentence

The bride-to-be, Tabitha, whooped as she held up her champagne flute, screamed again, louder still, and then sculled her drink. Her hot pink, strapless dress had crept a little too far south and one of her three bridesmaids made an effort to hug her affectionately and hoist it up a little without her noticing. Tabitha was a little volatile. It was wiser for them to just laugh along in mock hysteria and encourage her to cut loose on the dance floor, whilst keeping a careful eye on her cleavage. Her bridesmaids had been dragooned into this sham of a Hen’s night. None of them felt like being festive or congratulative. They exchanged looks, sipped their vodka, lime and sodas and, waited for Tabitha to burn herself out.

The truth was that none of them particularly liked the groom-to-be. The Stag. Capital ‘S’. Because he had an ego like antlers and he often thrashed them about, trying to start fights. The bridesmaids sighed. They had bickered among themselves, about whether to say something or leave it. Tabitha knew, or at least sensed, that they didn’t like him, but said nothing in his defence.

By the end of the night though, none of them had to say anything. Propped up against the bar in the last place open at 4am, they crossed paths with the stag party. And there was the groom-to-be, pashing a skinny redhead like his life depended on it. Tabitha froze for a moment. When he slid a hand up the girl’s thigh she let out an almighty scream, and hurled her purse at him. She followed the purse with a glass of wine snatched off a table. She picked up a bottle too but her posse stepped in, wrestled the bottle from her hand and gently pulled her away from the scene. They shook their heads at each other but frankly they were all rather pleased.

And like that, the wedding was off. 

Neoteric (adjective)


  1. Recent in origin: modern.

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 20 May 2020)

Use it in a sentence

The new curator thought to herself, ‘This little museum is a sad and pathetic abomination. It’s a fusty, decrepit collection of crap that nobody cares about.’ There was no context, no connection. The exhibits were all static – there was nothing interactive. Those who wandered in looked as if they had done so entirely by accident, as though they’d taken a wrong turn and were not at all pleased about it. She watched them, saw them screw up their noses and look at each other in consternation. They shuffled up to each object reluctantly, peered at the information card and frowned. Some laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all, elbowing each other and then racing for the exit. No one bought the magnets or the novelty pencil toppers. The museum was in desperate need of a wholistic and neoteric overhaul, a totally new approach. She nodded thoughtfully, ‘I’ve got this. I’ve got ideas. I’m going to make this the best damn toilet museum South of the Equator.’ And she rolled up her sleeves and got to work.   

Verboten (adjective)


  1. Forbidden; especially: prohibited by dictate

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 8 May 2020)

Use it in a sentence

Her family had gathered outside the window of the nursing home en masse, maintaining, as best they could, the required social distancing. Some great niece or other held up a big bunch of flowers, smiling and waving madly. No doubt someone would soon collect them, fumigate them somehow and duly deliver them. Another child with his two front teeth missing held up a giant handmade card with ‘We love you Nanna! Happy 100th!’ (capital ‘N’) scrawled across the front. One of her own children was wiping away tears, blowing kisses. Someone else had a large cake –she hoped that would make it inside unscathed.

They were all gathered to mark the occasion, along with a television camera and junior reporter, safely outside because nursing home visits were verboten.

Some tapped on the glass, as though she were some kind of animal at the zoo, others just smiled benignly and stood around, not knowing what to do. All the residents inside were clapping and ‘ooohing’ and ‘ahhhing’, and one of the nurses bobbed down beside her wheelchair.

‘Well, Mavis! What do you think about that!’ Bless her, the nurse was beaming, her eyes were red and she gave Mavis a pat on the hand. Without wanting to appear rude, Mavis quietly withdrew her hand. She smiled and waved but then she turned to the nurse, ‘I’ve always hated celebrating my birthday – I’ve never had a party in my life. That lot,’ she nodded to the crowd, ‘bloody know that. I don’t even like half of them. All the good ones are already dead.’ Then she nodded and smiled again, giving the camera a cheeky wink, as the nurse got up and with a tight smile started pouring very modest plastic glasses of champagne.

‘Hip bloody hurrah’, said Mavis, skulling hers.