Arcane Phrase Of The Week

It's time for a new feature here at First Draft. I like new features and starting one satisfies my inner extrovert or outer introvert or some such shit. Anyway, you may have noticed that I am fond of old slang words and phrases; largely because of my love of old movies. It's time to formalize this by throwing an arcane phrase or word out there and seeing if it sticks.

This week's inaugural phrase comes to us from my old friend Elzabeth Brion:


There are some of you who got the morbs over the end of the World Cup whereas I had them over the end of the NBA playoffs. Victorian slang rocks, y'all. I bet Disraeli rarely had the morbs and Gladstone had a permanent case but I digress. It's what I do.

If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment or shoot them at me on the Tweeter Tube. Unless, that is, you got a bad case of the morbs…

9 thoughts on “Arcane Phrase Of The Week

  1. gratuitous says:

    I remember back in the day (the 1970s) in the afterglow of the first Earth Day, all us ecology-minded young people had, we thought, coined the term “polluted” for overindulging in alcohol or certain less-legal substances. I was surprised after college to read one of the Bertie Wooster stories by the incomparable P.G. Wodehouse, in which Bertie mentions to Jeeves being at the club the night before and one of his mates getting polluted.

  2. mothra says:

    I got one for you: “hot as a boiled owl.” Now, as far as I know, only my mother’s family used this one, but there is an old expression in England “boiled as an old owl,” or “drunk as a boiled owl,” from whence that must have come. My mother’s family weren’t drinkers, so maybe they just adapted it to fit their world?

  3. Linkmeister says:

    Wodehouse’s Drone Club members had all manner of descriptive words for drunk: “Their lexicon for inebriated includes: awash; boiled; fried; lathered; illuminated; oiled; ossified; pie-eyed; polluted; primed; scrooched; stinko; squiffy; tanked; and woozled.”
    Then there’s hard-boiled detective fiction slang: duck soup (easy job); highbinders (corrupt pols and businessmen); palooka (mentally slow guy), and so on.

  4. joejoejoe says:

    I just heard the phrase “boarding house reach” for the first time. I asked my Mom about it and she said she used to hear it ALL the time as a kid (the 30s and 40s). It refers to reaching across the dining table or the person next to you to get something rather than asking for it. It can be used to point out bad manners or as a metaphor for somebody reaching for anything out of any kind of desire.

  5. pansypoo says:

    i was born to live in a boarding house. long arms have been accused of it for decades.
    i just want selfie & bling to DIE DIE DIE.

  6. adrastos says:

    Well done, gang. I use the word palooka all the damn time.

  7. maplestreet says:

    You’ve probably fallen in love with it already. But if not, you may enjoy the Oxford English Dictionary so you can see how words have changed over the past thousand years.

  8. BlackSheep1 says:

    Well, if you’re itchin’ to open the ball on a new feature, I could certainly drag up some slang for you.

  9. BlackSheep1 says:

    Meant to add that after The Spurs’ Beautiful Game videos it’s pretty hard to have the morbs.

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