[Confession: I hesitate to register enjoyment of language that happens to come from a debate whose seriousness I readily acknowledge. Brexit is beyond my purview, but I hope whatever solution is reached benefits the UK and its citizens. With that proviso I proceed on a lighter note.]
A homely old saying where I’m from is that someone “is in high cotton” when he or she experiences a stroke of good fortune or finds himself or herself in a pleasing situation that works to his or her advantage. As a blogger who keeps an eye on language and style in daily readings I am in high cotton when I encounter passages such as the following:
Mr. Cox, who speaks in the clavicle-juddering bass of an Old Testament prophet, has achieved a degree of celebrity as Mrs. May’s surrogate and protector.
(Ellen Barry, “Theresa May Finds Herself Without a Voice, or a Friend,” NYTimes, 3-12-19)
The choices facing Parliament were “unenviable,” as Mrs. May said… but coming days promised more “squeaky bum time,” a phrase several British reporters borrowed from a soccer coach who once used it to describe the way fans squirm in their seats when the action gets tense.
(Editorial, “Britain Squirms After Another ‘No’ on Brexit,” NYTimes, 3-12-19)
The phrase describing Mr. Cox’s bass voice judders my clavicles. As for squeaky bum time, now is it, assuredly, on several fronts.
(c) 2019 JMN.