21 June 2010
One of several books on my bedside table at the moment is 'Made in America: An informal history of the English language in the United States'. It's by the ridiculously readable Bill Bryson and is full of intriguing facts and all-round amusement.
In one part he talks about the veritable flood of words and phrases that were coined by Americans in the nineteenth century - gems like 'to go the whole hog'; 'to talk turkey'; 'highfalutin' and 'hornswoggle' (I have no idea what that last one means but it makes me laugh, and that's good).
Sadly, many of the Americanisms that appeared at this time are no longer in use, namely the simply brilliant happify (which is that act of making someone happy, clearly).
Happify! It's a wonderful, smile-making word don't you think? Well, I do think, so I am starting a campaign to bring it back into general usage. Expect to see it scattered about my blog posts and twitter up dates willy-nilly from here on.
Perhaps you might join me? You could slip it casually into your next conversation? Or maybe write it the next time you're stuck for something to say on a birthday card?
Together we can happify the English language, just a little!