Susie Dent’s Top Tens: 10 Emotions That Belong to the Morning

Susie Dent gives her top ten words for all those who find themselves relentlessly 'crumpsy' first thing – i.e. tired, irritable, and more than a little creased.

Susie Dent Top Ten

‘Morning is wonderful. The only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day’ – thus the writer Glen Cook, speaking for a good many of us. 

How we could all appreciate the astounding beauty of a glorious sunrise, if only we could summon the energy to greet it. The following list is for all those who find themselves relentlessly ‘crumpsy’ first thing – i.e. tired, irritable, and more than a little creased.



Who hasn’t experienced the blind terror that can descend in the small hours of the morning, when catastrophising reaches a crescendo? In Old English, this was known as uhtceare [oocht-kay-ara], ‘pre-dawn anxiety’, when you lie awake and worry (a lot).


Put simply, ‘clinomania’ is the irresistible desire to lie down. Its partner-in-crime, in the dictionary at least, is ‘dysania’: a medical term with far wider potential that means the inability to get out of bed.


With clinomania inevitably goes hurkle-durkling, a glorious expression from 19th-century Scots that means lounging in bed long after it’s time to get up.


Once you do summon the energy to rise, you might look longingly back at the ‘staddle’ left on your sheets. Fear not, a staddle is described in a 19th-century glossary as ‘the mark of anything left after the thing itself has been removed’ – in this case, the faint outline of your resting body that has reluctantly shifted away.


The dictionary offers a single word for the act of yawning and stretching at the same time, most often upon waking. This is pandiculating, and is usually accompanied by an extended and woeful groan.

Lying in bed


A combination of Greek and Latin, ‘matutolypea’ translates literally as ‘morning grief’. Rather than being the loneliness felt at cockrow, however, this is more the extreme funk you experience at having to be awake at all.


Those who feel chirpy and waggy-tailed in the mornings, on the other hand, are ‘matutinal’. The rest of us, who experience these gigglemugs (habitually smiling faces) as we trampoose to the kettle, may have other words for them.


A recent coinage, ‘procaffeinating’ fills a definite gap. It describes the act of putting all jobs on hold and procrastinating until you’ve imbibed a sufficient amount coffee.


No morning is complete without ‘bumf’, at least in its original sense, for the word that now describes tedious reading material actually began as ‘bumfodder’, military slang for toilet paper. It didn’t take long before the shortened form ‘bumf’ encompassed other forms of throwaway material.

fit of the clevers

This 19th-century phrase is a useful one for a sudden burst of energy or activity, notably one that occurs when your body has finished percolating and you suddenly notice the time.


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