The Deeper Meaning of Liff: A Dictionary of Things There Aren’t Any Words for Yet–But There Ought to Be [Douglas Adams, John Lloyd] on Editorial Reviews. From the Inside Flap. Does the sensation of Tingrith(1) make you yelp? This edition has been revised and updated, and includes The Deeper Meaning of Liff, giving fresh appeal to Douglas Adams and John Lloyd’s . The Meaning of Liff has ratings and reviews. Joshua Nomen-Mutatio said: When I first encountered this book in a friend’s bathroom I definitely.

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In MayI began including a short word definition in my e-mail signature.

The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams

Every few days, I update my signature to include a new word. Since I started doing this, many people have asked where the definitions come from, and could they please have a list of all of the word’s that have appeared in my signature so far. Hence this web page. All of the words are actually place names, taken mostly from locations in the UK, but also from the rest of the planet. These place names are matched with meanings that don’t yet have words of their own, usually with very humorous results.

The list below includes all of the words that have appeared in my signature at the time of writing. I do intend meanign update this list from time to time, but if you like this sample, you should probably buy the original books. A liqueur made only for drinking at the end of a revoltingly long bottle liff when all the drinkable drink has been drunk. To beat an expert at a game of skill by playing so appallingly that none of his clever tactics or strategies are of any use to him.

The worn patch of ground under a swing. The odd twinges you get in parts of your body when you scratch other parts. The way people stand when examining other people’s bookshelves. Any piece of readily identifiable anatomy found amongst cooked meat.

The single bristle that sticks out sideways on a cheap paintbrush. A single surprisingly long hair growing in the middle of nowhere. A British Rail sandwich which has been kept soft by being regularly washed and resealed in clingfilm. A lurid bruise which you can’t remember douglws.

Eskimo term To bang your thumbs between the oars when rowing. An on-off relationship which never gets resolved. The look which says, ‘Stop talking to that woman at once. To pretend to have read the book under discussion when in fact you’ve only seen the TV series.

That kind of large fierce ugly woman who owns a small fierce ugly dog. An indeterminate pustule which could be either a spot or a bite.

The optimum vantage point from doutlas to view people undressing in the bedroom across the street. The technical name for a stallion after its first ball has been cut off. Any notice which reads ‘Beware of the Belding’ should be taken very, very seriously. A knob of someone else’s chewing gum which you unexpectedly find your hand resting on under the passenger seat of your car or on somebody’s thigh under their skirt. The person in an office that everyone whinges about in the pub.

Many large corporations deliberately employ bickerstaffes in each department. An opening gambit before a game of chess where the missing pieces are fhe by small ornaments from the mantelpiece. That irrational and inevitable discrepancy between the amount pooled meaniing the amount needed when a large group of people try to pay a bill together after a meal.


The noise through the wall which tells you that the people next door enjoy a better sex life than you do. The small scattering of foreign coins and halfpennies which inhabit dressing tables.

Since they are never used and never thrown away boolteens account for a significant drain on the world’s money supply. The huge pyramid of tin cans placed just inside the entrance to a supermarket. To remember suddenly where it is you’re meant to be going after you’ve already been driving for ten minutes.

The desire of married couples to see their single friends pair off. Archaic One who assists an exorcist by squeezing whichever part of the possessed the exorcist deems useful. Allowing yourself to be persuaded to do something and pretending to be reluctant. The precise instant at which scrambled eggs are ready. A leg which has gone to sleep and has to be hauled around after you. Strange-shaped metal utensil found at the back of the saucepan cupboard.

Many authorities believe that congs provide conclusive proof of the exstence of a now extinct form of yellow vegetable which the Victorians used to boil mercilessly. Astounded at what you’ve just managed to get away with. A piece of wood used to stir paint and thereafter stored uselessly in the shed in perpetuity. To shout boisterously from a cliff. A letter to the editor made meaningless because it refers to a previous letter you didn’t read.

To spend large swathes of your douglws looking for car keys. Continually making small talk to someone who is trying to read a book. To hold out hope for a better invitation until the last minute. The gummy substance found between damp toes. Of the hands and feet.

Prunelike after an overlong bath. To nod thoughtfully while someone gives you a long and complex set of directions which you know you’re never going to remember. To try to remove a sticky something from one hand with the dougals, thus causing it to get stuck to the other hand and eventually to anything else you try to remove it with. The now hard-boiled bits of nastiness which have to be prised off crockery by hand after it has been through hte dishwasher. Someone else’s throaty cough which obscures the crucial part of the rather amusing remark you’ve just made.

An infuriating person acams always manages to look much more dashing than anyone else by turning up meaming and hungover at a formal party. The most deformed potato in any given collection of potatoes. The last page of a document that you always leave face down in the photocopier and have to go and retrieve later.

Sudden realization, as you lie in bed waiting for the alarm to go off, that it should have gone off an hour ago. The realization that the train you have patiently watched pulling out of the station was the one you were meant to be on. Someone who always wants to do whatever you want to do. A small couglas hired to bounce at dawn on the occupants of the spare bedroom in order to save on tea and alarm clocks. Mentally incapacitated by a severe hangover.


The sludgy bits in the bottom of a dustbin, underneath the actual bin liner. Wondering what to do next when you’ve just stormed out of something.

The same as West Wittering, only it’s you they’re trying to get away from. The first, tiniest inkling that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong. The feeling you get at about four o’clock in the afternoon when you haven’t got enough done. In any division of foodstuffs equally between several people, to give yourself the extra slice left over. The safe place you put something and forget where it was. That part of a raincoat which trails out of a car after you’ve closed the door on it.

Unable to find the right moment to leave. To queue-jump very discreetly by working one’s way up the line without being spotted doing so. Archaic The right of the lord of the manor to molest dwarfs on their birthdays. The small awkward-shaped piece of cheese which remains after grating a large regular-shaped piece of chesse, and which enables you to grate your fingers. A kind of burglar alarm in common usage. It is cunningly designed so that it can ring at full volume in the street without apparently disturbing anyone.

Other types of framlinghams are burglar alarms fitted to business premises in residential areas, which go off as a matter of regular routine at 5.

The shade of green which is supposed to make you feel comfortable in hospitals, industrious in schools and uneasy in police stations.

The Meaning of Liff : The Original Dictionary Of Things There Should Be Words For

To steal things not worth the bother of stealing. One steals cars, money and silver. The noise made by a lightbulb that has just shone its last. A paragraph that you get stuck on in a book. The more you read it, the less it means to you. The minimum time it is necessary to spend frowning in deep concentration at each picture in an art gallery in order that everyone else doesn’t think you’re a complete moron.

Pretending not to be in when the carol-singers come round. Someone who deliberately misunderstands things for, he hopes, humorous effect. A form of particularly long sparse sideburns which are part of the mandatory turnout of British Rail guards.

Embarrassed stammer you emit when a voice answers the phone and you realise that you haven’t the faintest recollection of who it is you’ve just rung. Narrow wiggly furrow left after pulling a hair off a painted surface. The ability to say ‘No, there’s absolutely nothing the matter, what could possibly be the matter?

And anyway I don’t want to discuss it,’ without moving your lips. Hence, loose, floppy, useless.

The action of putting your finger in your cheek and flicking it out with a ‘pock’ noise. Useful specially new-coined word for an illegitimate child in order to distinguish it from someone doublas merely carves you up on the motorway, etc.

Descriptive of the mood indicated by cartoonists by drawing a character’s mouth as a wavy line.