The Toad's Words

Excursus #4

To help prevent solecisms among my family, friends, and colleagues I hereby present The Fourth Installment of The Toad's Words. Someone suggested that The Toad's Words could be used to help study for the verbal part of the PSAT and the SAT exams. If anyone feels that this is the case, please distribute this freely, maybe as an insert into your child's lunch box along with the Fritos, Oreos, and the peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Quean, noun

No, I didn't misspell this one. This is a bold or impudent girl or hussy. It also can mean a disreputable woman as in a prostitute. This comes from the old English word cwene, as opposed to the old English word cwn, which means "queen."

As Ian left the pub on Half Moon Street, he ran into a covey of queans.

Quirt, noun

A riding whip with a short handle and a braided rawhide lash. You've all seen these, they are usually carried by horse people in jodhpurs (those funny pants), Nazis, and queans.

The headmaster used to discipline the boys with the quirt he carried with him at all times.

Quibble, verb

An irrelevant criticism or minor objection. A petty evasion of the point by using a play on words or words with a double meaning. Bicker, carp, cavil.

The students at The Manor School learned quickly not to quibble with their headmaster.

Quaff, verb

My favorite dictionary says that this is to drink a beverage deeply. Now I have a couple of problems with this definition. Isn't "beverage" redundant here? Maybe not, I guess you probably couldn't quaff prune juice. Also, what does drink deeply mean? Does it mean that the drink goes all the way to your stomach (not out your nose), or does it mean to drink from a deep container such as a beer keg? Hence, a more useful definition comes from another dictionary as - To drink something heartily. I guess you still can't quaff prune juice.

The headmaster tended to quaff his ale.

Qualm, noun

The feeling of uneasiness. A pang of conscience. Sensation of doubt or of misgivings. Scruple, compunction, reservation.

The quean had no qualms about using the quirt on the headmaster, particularly after quaffing the quart and quibbling over the measly quid he wanted to pay her.


The author, his advisors, correspondents, and family have no qualms about not taking responsibility for strange looks, slapped faces, quibbles, or any other dire consequences as a result of using The Toad's Words.

Revised: August 27, 2000

Copyright by Michael L. VanBlaricum, 04 September 2000.

All Rights Reserved.

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