Back to topics that are of interest to me and no one else, I’ve decided to ponder all things twee. The term twee was introduced to me by a tutor during my creative writing course at university. While providing feedback on my children’s story, she kindly advised me to “make it less twee”.
According to dictionary.com, twee describes something that is affectedly dainty or quaint. Such qualities are captured by this young fellow:
I finally had a name for that old-fashioned language from Britain in the 1920s-1940s that I had a penchant for, due to my childhood dependency on Enid Blyton novels.
Today, twee is usually used in a pejorative sense but I say let’s bring back the twee! As a user of phrases and expressions such as ‘you know’, ‘like’ and ‘totally’, I don’t lament the fact that today’s language is what it is, as it’s just how the English language has developed (note that I didn’t say progressed). What I’m all for is variety. Let’s expand our vocabularies! It’s time to twee up your life!
Here’s a list of some of my twee expressions and words:
- Rather! – Jolly good
- I say! – That’s awfully decent
- Smashing – Simply horrid
- How perfectly wizard – You’re a brick
- Do buck up – Ought to
- Old stick – Quite
- Thanks ever so much – Cheer up
In particular, the words, ‘perfectly’, ‘simply’, ‘rather’, ‘awfully’ and ‘quite’ can be used in a variety of ways to great effect.
Let us run through some examples:
“That’s a nice photo of Taryn and Pete” could become “I say, what a marvellous photo! Quite the charming couple”.
“What the hell is Kate wearing?” could become “What the devil is dear Kate wearing? Has the poor girl gone mad?”
“What a gross pic” could become “This photo is simply horrid. It’s a perfect monstrosity”.
I’m not saying we should talk like this all the time, but it is a fun exercise in wordsmithery and could be useful for those of us who are a bit bored with everyday conversations. If someone is going on and on about the events of their rather mundane weekend, why not jazz up the conversation with responses such as ‘Jolly good’ or ‘That sounds perfectly wizard’? Voila, your enjoyment of the conversation will raise tenfold, even if that enjoyment lies in befuddling the other participant with your sudden affectation. Twee = fun.
Indeed, why not challenge yourself and use some twee in your daily lives this week? You may be pleasantly surprised at the results. Also, do feel free to share your own expressions of twee!