Saturday, December 4, 2010


I learned a word this morning reading a note by Robert Crawford the
TLS: "This collection adds another chuckie to the cairn of a
remarkable poetic achievement" (Les Murray's).

Cairn has long been my favorite English word, perhaps because it
reminds me hill walking in Scotland years ago.

The word is chuckie, and here's how the OED defines it:

Quartz pebble: also chuckie stone or stane.

1793 D. Ure Hist. Rutherglen 268 (Jam.) Quartzy nodules, or
chuckie-stones‥are very common.
1817 Scott Rob Roy II. i. 10 As fissenless as chuckie-stanes.
1825 Scott Jrnl. 22 Dec. (1939) 53 A minute philosopher‥eternally
calling your attention‥to look at grasses and chucky-stones.

I think that if the OED were affordable to most English speakers
everywhere, beautiful words like chuckie would stand a chance of
making a comeback.