I have a rather eclectic little library ... but of all the books
there the one I most like over all the others is entitled: The
American Thesaurus of Slang. This little baby was first copyrighted
in 1942 and published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company. It's out of
print and I tend to doubt that there's anything around comparable to
it today. I will now give you some synonyms which I gleaned from
this little tome:
Blah, icky, pretty as mud, homely enough to fade a carpet, meeya,
pewy, pretty as last year's corpse, picklepussed, and so forth. All
this, of course, is another way to say: Ugly.
I wrote an article some time back that had to do with what I thought
was the ugliest piece of jewelry I had ever seen. And that piece
still stands as the number one leader of the pack. However ladies
and gennulmen ... we have a runner-up ... yes indeedy. We have the
second ugliest piece of jewelry I have ever seen. Sapphire
raindrops dripping on a golden blob of a cloud. A meaningless vagary
The value of this doo-dad is 6,000. Don't know if it's in French
Francs, or US Dollars, or Swiss Francs ... or what. The blurb on
this thing is written in French. The publication is from
Monte-Carlo. The organization that produces the pages have offices
in Paris, New York, Monaco, and Lausanne. More vagary.
I try to spice up this Tidbits article about this piece of jewelry.
I can not. I search for some mythological connection. Zero. A
superstition perhaps. Zippo. An isolated legend ... anything. Nada.
Rien. Nothing. Nichts. Ahh ... but I have an ace-in-the-hole. I
have my trusty American Thesaurus of Slang. I shall entertain you
with some ancient out-of-print synonyms gleaned from a time long
past. And then I will show you the cloud. Ready?
Cocktail, coal sacks, devil's tablecloth, God's sheep, kittens,
goat's hair, sea grass, ox-bends, rain seeds, mare's-tail, and so
forth. All these--of course--are synonyms for clouds. Not much
about jewelry perhaps ... except for the item you are all about to
see. But hopefully a cute little peek into the past ... and into
what I once read was the richest language in the world ... having
more words to describe a single item than any other language ...
mainly ... English.
And to stay within the Tidbits theme ... I offer you these.
Gold: Red, ridge, sunshine, African dust, and insect powder.
Jewelry: Glitters, hardware, junk, shim, and slum.
Diamonds: Glitter, shiner, spark, bum rock (?), blazer, dazzler,
headlight, and rock candy.
Watch: Block, canister, tin skillet, turnip, indicator, and
Pearls: Oyster fruit, poils, and tears.
Ah ... them old timers sure did know how to speak.