I was at Toby Young's site and saw this sentence in one of his reviews: "As a piece of drama, Playing With Fire is a little cack-handed."

Toby's British, so I figured it's a common phrase over there. I went to Michael Quinion's site, where he explained that the phrase is "certainly British. It’s only obscure, though, if you’re from somewhere else, since it’s a well-known British informal term for somebody who is inept or clumsy. By extension...it means somebody left-handed, who does everything 'backwards' and so looks clumsy or awkward. It first appeared in the middle of the nineteenth century."

Quinion, who "writes about international English from a British viewpoint" is one of those lucky people who's found something really enjoyable to do with his life, as his bio shows.

No comments: