Monday 15 August 2011

Indians Entirely Responsible for the Looting!

Well, in the strictly etymological sense that loot comes from the Hindi word lut, meaning plunder.

There has been much argument in Britain over whether the naughty fellows of last week should be called protesters, rioters or looters. I object to all three terms. Looter is callow neologism dating from only 1858. The only acceptable name is the original eighteenth century term lootie-wallah.

I demand that lootie-wallah is brought back into the language Right Now, and if my demands are not met I shall unleash an apocalypse of violence and plunder the like of which has never even been conjectured.

Personally, I'm going to wait till it kicks off in Marylebone and then loot the hell out of Daunt Books. Get me some more Tennyson.


  1. The Antipodean, wondering if they were all fellows,15 August 2011 at 12:37

    I think you'd stand out, looting a bookstore. I've read a few articles discussing the fact that most bookshops were relatively unharmed.

    This one, for instance:
    Remember when books were worthy of burning?

  2. So, that awful Starkey fellow was right...

  3. Hmmm... as David Starkey (didn't) say: You see, a dreadful Indian patois has infected our language. No decent white person even thought of looting when we didn't have a word for it. It isn't about colour; it's about culture. With words such as pajamas, bungalow, and now looting entering the language it's no wonder it feels as though we live in a foreign country. Now take that nice Mr Gandhi - if you couldn't see that he is a little brown chap you could almost take him for a white man...

  4. When I release my lute music on youtube, I'll be Al Oud E-wallah.

  5. BTW, Language Log had a 'No word for looting' discussion a while back:

    (Not as good a discussion as you get on THIS blog, of course)

  6. Very funny. Love the picture.