In this week’s Top Tens, Susie Dent embraces the joy of ‘staycationing’, from the German ‘fernweh’ to the delightful ‘coddiwomple’.
Fernweh isn’t for everyone. However beautiful this German word might be – translated literally it means ‘far-sickness’, the desire to be somewhere far away – many of us opt to stay closer to home in summer and ‘staycate’. This ugly but useful word has been the subject of much debate in recent years. Does it mean staying at home and seeking adventures from there, or does it mean simply holidaying in one’s own country instead of going abroad?
Whichever it is (and the dictionary offers both definitions), more and more of us are doing it, inspired by rising costs, environmental concerns, or simply a wish to avoid the faff of packing sagas, airport queues, and terrifying heat. If you are a staycationer, the following words might resonate with you. Even if you’re not, I hope they might encourage a smile or wince of recognition.
While staycationing might help you avoid endless repetitions of ‘Are we there yet?’, you might still hear your children declare they are bored, hungry, or need money. In which case, the word ‘rogitate’ might strike a chord. It means simply ‘to make frequent requests or entreaties’ or to ask the same question over and over.
There is nothing in the staycation rulebook that prohibits outings and expeditions. In fact, some would say that is what it is all about. To ‘ogadwaddick’, from the 19th-century English dialect, is to go off on a merry jaunt.
If you’re lucky, you might be doing a lot of this on your holiday, especially if the weather is less than inviting. This phrase from old Scots is a pithy expression for staying in bed long after it’s time to get up.
One of dozens of words for staying close and snuggling, ‘snerdling’ is surely another requirement for time out, whether it’s under an umbrella on a British beach or beneath the covers while hurkle-durkling.
Snuggling anywhere requires a certain amount of peace and quiet, which, of course, is never guaranteed. Hazards include multiple children kicking sand into your eyes, a seagull swooping on your ice cream, or the neighbours who love a summer party every night. They are all joblijocks, another regional word for a source of irritation and disturbance.
No holiday, staycation or not, is complete without a book of two. If you are one of those people who buy multiple novels only to let them pile up unread, they you are engaging in what the Japanese call ‘tsundoku’: acquiring lots of reading material without ever getting round to looking at it.
Another staycation requirement is surely a bit of junk food, especially if you are spending a lot of time on the sofa in front of a box set. If you want a bouncier term for it, you could do worse than reaching for ‘lubberwort’. The word’s original meaning was ‘an imaginary herb that induces laziness’. Which, leaving out the imaginary bit, pretty much sums up what delicious food devoid of any nutritional benefit is all about.
This term for any day of the week that merges into the next arose during lockdown, when we all lost track of time and naming our days became a bit meaningless. Blursday remains a useful word for the holidays when we abandon all sense of time.
Coddiwompling is a recently named phenomenon that has gained a lot of popularity online and for good reason. Its definition is rather beautiful: ‘to travel purposefully with no particular destination in mind’.
It turns out there is a word for the person who is constantly in a holiday mindset, no matter whether that holiday is in a local theme park or the bowling alley five minutes down the road. A dominguero is a seasoned day-tripper. Taking their name from the Spanish for Sunday (‘domingo’), every day for this happy individual is like a carefree weekend when a new adventure beckons. Surely that is the essence of a staycation.