Tuesday, March 1, 2011

British Word of the Day

Not that kind of rum...
rum 2  (rm)
adj. rum·mer, rum·mest Chiefly British
1. Odd; strange.
2. Presenting danger or difficulty.
'I must say it's a rum time of year to come up 'ere.  Lovely autumn we've 'ad, but the weather's going to worsen...'  A Dream Came True

And then a blizzard hits.

What most interested me about this word was the comparison and superlative adjectives that came with.  Rum, rummer, rummest.  (Let's see if I can use them: 'My ex-boyfriend was a rum fellow.  That woman in the nursing mother's lounge at Nordstrom was rummer.  The vegan baker was the rummest of them all...')

In high school and college I got through five years of German (which, sadly, only qualifies me to find the nearest bathroom and tell people that the room is old-fashioned (Das Zimmer ist alt-modish!) which I would never be rude enough to do in the first place.) and, while I appreciated that they have a similar comparative structure (gut, besser, am besten) to English, I struggled mightily with their version of high, higher, highest--hoch/höher/am höchsten.  It requires me on the second word to say a sound I translate as tongue swallowing.  It makes me sound a bit rum. 

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