A word we all need


, v. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a “walking” fashion.

I damaged the linoleum while aku-akuing the cabinet across the kitchen.

Now isn’t that the most useful word ever? It’s joining my list of favourites, along with ‘boustrophedonically’ (writing alternately left to right and right to left, ‘like an ox turning’), ‘apophenia (‘the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena’), and pretty much the entire contents of The Meaning of Liff.

I also have a soft spot for ‘incunabula’ (early printed books, generally those produced before 1500), for entirely the wrong reasons. When I first came across it, I thought it was pronounced ‘In-Kuna-Bula’, and in my mind it sounded as if it should be a kind of war-chant. So then I start imagining thousands of bespectacled librarians on a ridge, facing off against the Zulus at Rorke’s Drift…

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