Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Word of the Day


chat up
vb (tr, adverb) Brit informal
1. to talk flirtatiously to (a person), esp with the intention of seducing him or her
2. to talk persuasively to (a person), esp with an ulterior motive

Use: "What were you talking about, Kate?" "The weather." Three pairs of blue eyes looked at her in surprise, and she frowned. "Well," she muttered, "I'm so large--men don't chat up big women..."


Since becoming immersed in the World of Betty some years ago, I found myself adopting some of her most common sayings. Occasionally this Betty will sigh with a profoundly world-wise air (while bending over a potty training child, or non-broccoli-eating child, or shorts-in-foul-weather-wearing child), "Begin as you mean to go on."
When back-packing other children home from the park, I might be 'helping lame dogs over stiles'.

When I discovered 'chat up' I immediately annexed it as part of my 'grown-up' vocabulary--words I use as euphemisms when little pitchers with long ears are hanging about. When Mijnheer van Voorhees gets a certain glint in his eye, it's easy-peasy to ask if he's chatting me up without putting my 9-year-old to the blush. These words have become much more important since the Tax Rebates learned to spell.

Anyway, it sounds so harmless and charming to 'chat' someone up rather than the more low-brow 'pick' someone up.