Sunday, September 4, 2011

British Word of the Day

Sixes and sevens: a confusion, a crazy mess. I had to include it. I don't know if it is actually in common use anymore, but I love the expression as written in E.M. Forster's Howards End:
Charles surprised them by interrupting. "Pater, we may as well keep Howards End out of it," he said.
"Why, Charles?"
Charles could give no reason; but Margaret felt as if, over tremendous distance, a salutation had passed between them.
"The whole house is at sixes and sevens," he said crossly. "We don't want any more mess."
I so love the movie too. I just want to wrap up in it. It's so beautiful to look at. The clothes. The turbans. All the verdant countryside and waving fields of wildflowers. It's also fun to say "Schlegel". And it makes me wonder what Apple Charlotte tastes like.


  1. Apple Charlotte you'd love - sliced bread and butter lining a pudding bowl and filled with soft fragrant apples cooked to a sweet sauce.... and the bread baked to a crisp shell. Yum! Perfect for pudding on Sundays.

    And yes, sixes and sevens is still used by us oldies - but definitely not Pater!!!

  2. It's probably a shame that my experience with the saying sixes and sevens come from Austin Powers. I love those movies as much as I do Howard's End though I have to say.

  3. Sixes and sevens!
    Thank you....I thought I was the only one who used that phrase.

  4. Sixes and sevens, hmm, pretty rare in everyday usage! Apple Charlotte- sounds great, reality quite heavy going. Pater and Mater- prehistoric!

  5. Apple Charlotte is heavenly, especially with custard!

    Not heard many folk say 'at sixes and sevens' not even on telly unless the programme is set way back, but I'm Scottish and it's not really a phrase we use. Here's a Scottish word of the day for you...bogging (well, we would say more like this: boggin'). It means extremely dirty. Here's how you would use it: "Look at the state of you! You're boggin'!"

    Dawn x

  6. I often hear 'at sixes and sevens' - give it a whirl!

  7. Ann, thanks for the description. And yes, please! I'll have to try to make it sometime.

    darkislethebooks, boggin'. That's a new one for sure! Like you were caught up to your neck in a bog I guess. Love your example. It might be very educational to fellow Brits as well as Americans to have a Scottish word of the day, huh? Like house sounds like 'hoose' and 'going for messages' and all.


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