27 January 2009

Word: gauche

I'm busy squirrelling away at my boat article, and have been racking my brains (I could also have been wracking them, but that's another issue) to remember which is the "rive droite" (right bank) and which is the "rive gauche" (left bank) of a river.
Not that I'm easily distracted at the moment or anything, but it got me to pondering the English word "gauche", which in the Collins Dictionary means "tactless". I thought it meant "clumsy", and lo, look it up in the Collins Wordfinder, and it does. Maybe the Dictionary and Wordfinder people should meet for coffee one day and get a few things straight.
Anyway, look "clumsy" up in the Wordfinder, and one alternative is "ham-fisted". Now that really is a word. A star in its own right, I think you'll agree.
And if you're still wondering, the left bank is on the left when you're facing downstream. Which is quite confusing when you're going upstream, and even more confusing if you have no idea which way the sodding stream is going.

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