It’s always a shame when you find exactly the right word for the job but you can’t use it. Whether because it’s archaic, rude, obscure, outdated or has been appropriated by the urban dictionary.

I was translating a tourism text (although this could just as easily apply to a text about concrete street furniture or bakery products) and was getting frustrated by the number of times the Dutch word ‘mooi’ was being used. Having exhausted ‘beautiful, lovely, attractive’ and other synonyms, I searched for inspiration and found – pulchritudinous! From the Italian pulchritude – beauty. How great would your product be if it were pulchritudinous!!

In a book text, the perfect choice was offish (yes, I know, it sounds like office only with alcohol involved but no, it’s a different word altogether!). Being offish means being distant or unfriendly and being stand-offish means being even more distant or unfriendly.  Off is generally found in combinations like get off, piss off, f*** off and gone off, like the milk you accidentally left out of the fridge or gone off and left you. You can get something off pat by learning or practising it well and go off someone or something if you stop liking them or it. Fireworks, bombs and alarms can go off. I never liked any of them.