Saturday, 21 April 2007

Oons for everyone

I noted last July that many English words which end in och or ock represent unattractive or uninteresting things. Here’s another trio of letters to consider: oon. Few words ending thus are to be taken seriously: most are dull, and many are derogatory—we laugh at a buffoon and despise a poltroon.

We thought of throwing an OON party to which all these would be invited, but the OED lists no less than 469. This makes them a fairly exclusive crowd (there are more than twice as many ooms), but still too many to fit into our anderoon (the inner room of a house, but also part of a Persian harem).

So we must restrict the number of guests. A select group will arrive in the afternoon, to be welcomed by a platoon of dragoons marching and countermarching on the lawn. We might charge a small entry fee, payable in doubloons, ducatoons or tosheroons, which would include a free balloon and the chance to stand on the pontoon and harpoon a polystyrene whale floating in the lagoon.

Refreshments would feature cardoons au gratin and macaroons, all to be eaten with a spoon. Drinks are something of a problem; all we have been able to come up with so far is St. Emilioon, which is cheating a bit.

Entertainment would be varied and lavish and would include a bassoon player making the ladies swoon by wearing maroon pantaloons and, in the evening, a performing baboon doing conjuring tricks by the light of the moon.

These guests are mostly familiar, not to say dull, so to liven up the party we might invite some exotic oons who would keep everyone guessing; these would probably include a few cantaloons, flocoons, impoons, rattoons, scandaroons, spadroons and of course several woons. (Note, by the way, that if your forebears were early settlers in Canterbury, New Zealand, from anywhere except Britain, then you may claim to be descended from a bunch of shagroons.)

And when will this party take place? Well, we haven’t fixed a date yet, but clearly it will have to be soon.

6 comments:

Tony said...

No need, I think, for any comments proposing additional guests even if they (the comments) are quite exceptionally witty and interesting, because we already have a big enough crowd and couldn’t fit in even the sweetest little gossoon.

Ruth said...

How did you guess?
That one was the very one I would have suggested as a gatecrasher.
Never mind.

Tony said...

Ruth: Yes, sorry, I knew you lived in the ould sod and would want to invite this one. But thanks anyway.

Arthur said...

Sorry I'm a bit late. I've just been to Booragoon, which has a shopping centre called Garden City. Many other places here in Western Australia also have -oon names, but I don't speak any of the aboriginal languages they come from.

Anonymous said...

I have been driving everyone mad by insisting that there is an oon word that means a large serving dish, I think with a lid, but I'm damned oif I can think what it is. Am I even close? Can anyone help? Thnks, Puftaloon.

Tony said...

The OED has 468 words ending in "oon" and I couldn't check them all. But there is no oon word which has "dish" in the definition.
Er, are you thinkin of "tureen", a deep earthenware or plated vessel (usually oval) with a lid?