Tuesday, December 7, 2010

British Word of the Day

peckish [ˈpɛkɪʃ] adj
chiefly Brit feeling slightly hungry; having an appetite

He said nothing, only opened a cupboard in the wall, took out a packet of sandwiches and laid them on the table beside her. Araminta ate two of them, for she was peckish...

I'm a little split on whether this sounds like a well-bred way to say you're starving to death or if it's odiously common...I'm leaning towards high-brow. My lipnus test, naturally, is whether or not I can imagine Queen Elizabeth leaning over to her long-suffering consort, elbowing him in the ribs and whispering 'I'm feeling peckish. Ring for some fairy cakes...'


  1. My mother used the word often (PA Dutch all the way) so it seems odd to me to even call it a "British" word.

    Also - I think you mean "litmus test," perhaps?


  2. According to Betty Ross, it's neutral -- neither "U" or "non-U." ("U" is shorthand for upper class. But be warned: "U" is more than a bit pejorative. And Betty's English protagonists are all "non-U." More specifically, they're all middle class.)

    The source for all things "U" and "non-U" is Nancy Mitford's book, Noblesse Oblige. But here's the link to the Wiki article on the subject.

  3. Dang it and I even googled it because it didn't look right. But google steered me wrong. Lashings with a noodle and let's keep it there to warn others of hubris...