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.