This word is not in the Hundred Thousand either in its plain nor its inflected form as we have in Chapter 2.  Observe with me that being outside of the most common hundred thousand words of Project Gutenberg does not make a word unknown.  Just infrequent.  Google’s Ngram viewer gives us “bash” as rising exponentially in use after 1960, outside of the time that works qualify for inclusion in Project Gutenberg.  Did Tolkien contribute to the fame of the word?

  • 02.080 and bashes to remember)

“bash, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 1 June 2015.


Uncanny – in meaning 4 “not to be trusted as being associated with supernatural arts or powers” – made perfect sense as the opposite of canny – “wise and safe and to be trusted.”  Gandalf is both uncanny and canny in these senses, as he is wise and eminently trustable and good.  This word is a Scottish regionalism and here I am eating another slice of humble pie, as the word is used not for low effect but by painting the picture with mystery and magic, to heighten the passages.

  • 04.002 for the echoes were uncanny,
  • 06.065 and uncanny fire.
  • 08.006 in the enormous uncanny darkness.

“unˈcanny, adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 20 May 2015.


I am learning humility.

The word “delve” is labelled by the OED as northern and Scottish – and right up against Wales, one source says it is specifically to dig two spades deep.  Clearly that’s a regional, parochial word, one which I should by my own arbitrary rule tag as “low”.  It’s also in the middle of a rather high-register poem in a position rhyming with “elves”, which by any first approximation should make it be tagged “high”.  I have tagged it both.

  • 01.078 And harps of gold; where no man delves

“delve, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 20 May 2015.