Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Clat? Well fancy that!
That'll teach me.
Last time I used a word I didn't know the meaning of, I was twelve and used begotten in a poem as I thought it sounded much more poetic than forgotten. The Begotten Doll was quickly forgotten - thankfully, no trace exists of this juvenilia. (And this admission won't stand up in Court, so sue me.)
(Apologies - it's been a lifelong ambition to say so sue me to someone. I saw the chance and took it.)
The Urban Dictionary has lots of meanings for the word clat - none of them suitable for sensitive souls. If you are a sensitive soul, don't click here.
I imagined that when Wells used it, it was intended as a derivation of éclat meaning a brilliant display or effect. So I checked other texts and - stone me! - he had written éclat in the first place.
Still, suggesting that Mrs Hall carried the cloth, plates, and glasses into the parlour and began to lay them with a group of promiscuous men shows a certain éclat, no?