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  • The origin of the word "swangle": In 2005 I published the novel "Danish Fall" with the small Irish publisher, Wynkin de Worde, and that novel is about to be reprinted world-wide by Bloomsbury Publishers in March 2011 under the title "Falling Sideways."

    Among the novel's characters is one named Frederick Breathwaite who is married to a delightful woman named Kis. Kis is a sweet angel of a woman, although over the years of their marriage, Breathwaite learns all of the many ways in which she can make him suffer -- by withdrawing

    her sweetness. Then his life becomes a cold and lonely one until she decides to "turn on the warm water" again.

    Breathwaite devises a word to describe what she does to him in this way, objectifying it as a way that every sweet angel of a woman has in her power -- it is the verb "to swangle" -- e.g. "Kis is swangling me." "I was swangled."

    And as most words in English, the part of speech can shift to a noun -- "That was a real swangle." -- or an adverb, "That was swanglingly uncomfortable." --

    or adjective -- "Kis administered swangle discomfort all morning."

    It might be a tad sexist, but the word has its own built-in irony and is meant to convey a situation without full seriousness -- as a good-natured and perhaps hyperbolic description of the way two people treat one another.


    June 11, 2010