Thursday, November 7, 2013


I subscribe to’s “Word of the Day” and one of its most recent offerings was “snollygoster”. Isn’t that a brilliant word? The meaning is even better: “a clever, unscrupulous person, especially a politician.” We definitely have some politicians here in Australia that fit that description, and judging by America’s latest shenanigans they have them there too.

So I followed up the history of the word, and found that it emerged in America at a similar time, and with a similar meaning to “carpetbagger”. Which had me remembering reading Harold Robbins’ book, “The Carpetbaggers” (which wasn’t banned in Australia).

Another really cool word is “lagniappe” meaning a small gift. It’s a friend’s favorite word, and it rolls off the tongue as evocatively as “snollygoster” but it has a far prettier meaning. It’s also derived from the Quechua language, and I have friends who worked with the Quechua people for many years, which makes it even more relevant to me.

So, what words inspire you, or make you think and remember?

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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