Tuesday, December 28, 2010

British Word of the Day

Pray, snigger at my accent and I'll draw your cork.

snigger snɪgə] US and Canadian, snicker snɪkə] n
a sly or disrespectful laugh, esp one partly stifled

What a darling word--perfectly sounding just what it is--a furtive, patronizing thing. It reminds me of that line in My Fair Lady when Eliza uses the term with semi-disastrous results:

Lord Boxington: Do you mean he drank?
Eliza Doolittle: Drank? My word something chronic.
[responding to Freddy's laughter]
Eliza Doolittle: Here! What are you sniggering at?
Freddy Eynsford-Hill: The new small talk, you do it so awfully well.
Eliza Doolittle: Well if I was doing it proper, what was you sniggering at? Have I said anything I oughtn't?
Mrs. Higgins: No my dear.
Eliza Doolittle: Well that's a mercy anyhow...

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