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Fossicking

My wife forwarded me this entry on The Guardian‘s book blog, which apparently went out on the Milton list today. In it, John Crace argues that John Milton, whose 400th birthday is celebrated this year (in both, I suspect, heaven and hell), should also be remembered for contributing the most new words to the English language. “Without the great poet,” Crace argues, “there would be no liturgical, debauchery, besottedly, unhealthily, padlock, dismissive, terrific, embellishing, fragrance, didactic or love-lorn. And certainly no complacency.” But the real fun, as you might imagine if you’re a regular reader of British newspapers, begins in the comments. Somewhere around the time that they start discussing the origins of “nit-picking old fusspot,” you realize that you’ve wandered into a Monty Python sketch.

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