The Foxopedia

A pathway providing an insight into The World of Words and Writing

Word of the week…….


So, after a little break and with the New Year here, we are now back into the wonderful world of words and books.  We picked two today, one is something that every single one of us experiences every day:


Refers to the first person one comes across upon leaving his or her house, more historically the first person on New Year’s Day or a special occasion.

Now, the question that arises: would that be the first person you spoke to, or the first person you saw?  For us, particularly me, if it was the former it would be the shop assistant in Waitrose, if the latter, it would be my cat if animals are included, if not my next-door neighbour!

Who was your Qualtagh this morning?

The second word is because it made us smile:


A mental condition where a person believes that they have become a cat! People regularly comment after visiting our cats here, that they would like to come back as a cat as ours are so spoilt.  We can understand the want to believe that you’re a cat – sleeping all day, cuddles, strokes, eating and then sleep again – in the warm!  Perhaps you could pretend for a day. 😊



Word of the Week……..


An interesting one this week. . .


I think we all, at some point in our lives, will come across someone who is ultracrepidarian – a person who criticises, judges, expresses opinions or attempts to give advice on a subject that is entirely outside of their expertise!

Perhaps you know someone who suffers with Ultracrepidarianism, the habit of being an ultracrepidarian on a regular basis.   Agghhhhhh!


Image result for i am an expert on everything         Image result for oh really  cat



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The Brown Fox Bureau


Word of the Week……..


It’s been a little while since we posted due to moving house and offices, but we are back into the swing of things now.   We thought we would find something a little different for this week:


Drapetomania was a problematical mental illness in the 1800’s (mainly identified in America) and in 1851, Samuel Cartwright, an American Physician, theorised that this was the cause of black slaves fleeing captivity.  It was not a term necessarily recognised in medical terminology, but Cartwright said, when describing the illness, that it was . . .

‘unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers”.

He advised that preventative measures and cures would involve ‘whipping’ them until they were too scared to run or, in severe cases, cutting off their big toes to stop them from running.

The term was last published in a 1914 medical dictionary, when it offered the definition of – ‘vagabondage, an uncontrollable or insane impulsion to wander’.

I know my mind loves to wander off and does so regularly, perhaps we could start a new term – Mindtomania!


Did you know……..


The beloved Roald Dahl has been all over our social media sites, newspapers and televisions this year with it being the 100 year anniversary of his birth.  A celebration of the characters and wonderful stories he created.  We found out a few random facts about him and his stories and thought we would share a few with you to brighten up this Tuesday afternoon:

  • Apparently, Mr Dahl hated beards – he had a severe dislike of them and this was the idea behind ‘The Twits’, he had a desire to ‘do something against beards’!
  • With the outbreak of World War II, Dahl joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot, although following injuries suffered as a result of a horrific crash in 1940, he was medically retired.
  • In 1942, Dahl became a spy for the British Embassy based out of Washington DC and worked alongside Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, as well as many others.
  • Whilst at school, Dahl and a few of his friends were given the annual job of chocolate tasting for Cadburys’ new products, providing him with the thought and ideas behind ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory‘.
  • James and the Giant Peach was originally called James and the Giant Cherry but Dahl felt that a large, squishy, pretty peach was much more appropriate and changed it.
  • Dahl invented two key pieces of medical equipment during a troubling time in his life, when his four-year-old son Theo was knocked over and suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in cephalous. In order to drain the fluid from the brain Dahl, along with neurosurgeon Kenneth Till, came up with the idea of what we know today as the ventricular catheter and shunt valves, used over the decades thousands of times during neurosurgery.
  • In 1971 a real person called Willy Wonka wrote to Roald Dahl – he was a postman in Nebraska.
  • Dahl did dabble in writing for the adults as well and one short story of his was even published in Playboy Magazine!

I’m sure you have read and seen many more weird and wonderful facts about the lovely Mr Dahl, but these were a few of our favourites.

Image result for roald dahl

Word of the Week……..


Having read an article about some rare literary terms, we thought we would share a word with you this week that we thought was quite unusual and, an example of it can be linked to our parent company, The Brown Fox Bureau.


A piece of text that uses every letter of the alphabet, except one. So an example is:

The Quick Brown Jumped over the Lazy Dog.

This pangrammatic lipogram version avoids the letter S.


The Quick Brown Jumps over the Lazy Dog, uses every letter of the alphabet.

This latter well-known phrase was the inspiration behind the name of The Brown Fox Bureau – the phrase is a tool for teaching touch typing, as it uses every key on the keyboard, due to the fact that it has all the letters in the alphabet.

Can you create a Lipogram of your own? What letter would you pick to leave out in the cold? We’d love to hear your ideas….

Image result for lipogram


Did you know……..


The Naming of ‘Oz’

Many of us know and love The Wizard of Oz, one of my childhood favourites; I used to love watching the films and reading the books.  But how did the land of Oz come into being.

Frank Baum, the author and creator of Oz, during his works as a chicken rancher, a salesman and a theatre manager, had already created two successful children’s books.  When he came to writing about Oz, he had no idea that it would become a successful sequel of amazing stories set in his magical make-believe land and, it is said, in its time became as popular amongst society as greats such as Harry Potter and Narnia are with us today.

So how did he come up with the name?  Apparently, he was struggling to come up with an appropriate name for his enchanting land when one day, upon studying his filing cabinets, he saw before him his three labelled drawers: A-G, H-N, and O-Z.   And this was the inspiration for Oz.

Dorothy’s character was created in memory of Frank’s wife’s infant niece, also named Dorothy, and the story was a dedication to the lost child.

This little snippet of knowledge has created an urge to revisit my childhood days and follow that yellow brick road and, again, immerse myself in, and read about, the wonderful world of Oz.

Happy Wednesday!

Image result for the wonderful wizard of oz and the yellow brick road

Word of the Week……..


What can we find for this Friday afternoon???

What about:


If you suffer with Hellenomania then you have a tendency to use long, cumbersome Greek or Latin words instead of a more easily understood English equivalent.

For example, from my time as a lawyer, the term ex turpi causa non oritur actio means that someone cannot bring a legal action as a result of an illegal act, i.e. if you are robbing a shop and you break your leg in the process, you cannot sue the supermarket for the injury.

Similarly, novus actus interveniens means a break in causation – something that causes a break in the chain of events.

Happy Weekend.


Did you know…….


The Death of Language

It is a sad fact within our very changing world, that scientists estimate that a language dies every 14 days.  Once a fortnight a language spoken somewhere in the world is being abandoned in favour of other more popular languages such as English, Spanish and Mandarin.

It is estimated that approximately 48% of the world’s different languages in this current era are at risk of abandonment.

War, military involvement and the plight of refugees are just small reasons why languages are left abandoned in home regions, towns and villages.  Religion, education and isolation are also other reasons why people lean towards the known world and the most common forms of language and communication.

For example, here in the UK, we have two languages that are in danger of extinction – Cornish (Cornwall) and Manx (from the Isle of Man).

UNESCO consider that it is the home life that can render a language endangered.  If the language is spoken by grandparents and parents but not followed by the children, each generation will learn less; if the language is banned from being spoken in the home or children are no longer required to learn their mother tongue, these languages brink on extinction.

By 2100 it is estimated that half of the 7000 languages spoken on earth will have disappeared, many of which have never been formally named or identified.

If people are penalised, taunted or forbidden from using their language, then we stand to lose great treasures of this world.  Just because you do not understand it, does not mean you can reject it.  It’s called culture and individuality – a professor in linguistics once said, “language holds a world of knowledge and when we lose a language, we lose the knowledge and the history – we lose a connection to a faraway land.”

Image result for endangered and extinct languages

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