Preface  |  A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G  |  H  |  I  |  J , K  |  L  |  M  |  N  |  O  |  P  |  Q, R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  V  |  W  |  X, Y, Z  |  Index


P.S. Please Stop.


Above: The abbreviation P.S. actually stands for postscript. Though, for some people, "Please Stop" might be more appropriate. (Illustration by Tosh Bibb.)

P.T.O. Potato.

PACIFIST n. a person who has been over the Pacific Ocean.

PAGEANTS n. the religion of ancient Britains.

PANACEA n. a temple dedicated to all the gods.

PANCREAS n. a temple in Athens.     

PANTOPHOBIA n. 1. the fear of trousers. 2. a fear of shortness of breath. 3. stage fright, especially about pantomimes. 4. the fear of men in HORSE suits.


Above: Some hilarious schoolboy definitions of pantophobia (which actually means fear of everything)

PARABLE n. a short story describing something that you have been told but did not understand.

PARADISE n. what happens when your arm goes stiff.

PARADOX n. a cross between a parrot and a COW.

PARALLELEPIPED n. an animal with parallel legs.

PARAPET n. a tropical bird.

PARASITE n. 1. a kind of umbrella. 2. an inhabitant of Paris.

PARLIAMENT n. a house where men sit to disgust bills.

PARSIMONIOUS adj. one who wants to become a parson.

PAS DE DEUX n. father of twins.

PATHOLOGY n. the study of mapping roads.

PAVILION n. more than a trillion or quadrillion.

PEDAGOGUE n. the big toe.

PEDANTRY n. pride in the way you walk.

PEDESTRIAN n. 1. one of those people motorists run over. 2. a foot DOCTOR.

PEERLESS adj. blind.

PENCIL n. used to cure a sore throat.

PENSIVE adj. cheap.

PENTAGON n. a five-sided square.

PENULTIMATE adj. extra ultimate, as in ‘Skydiving is the penultimate experience.’

PERIOD FURNITURE n. when you buy furniture and pay for it in instalments or periods.

PERSPECTIVE n. when a lady is going to have a baby.

PERUSE adj. belonging to Peru.     

PESSIMIST n. 1. someone who plays the piano. 2. a man who looks after your feet. 3. a man who is never happy unless he is miserable. Even then he isn’t happy. Ant. — OCTOPUS, OPTIMIST.

PETROLEUM n. what you cover floors with.

PEURILITY n. the state of being pure, like virginity, although puerility does not necessarily indicate virginity.

PHARMACY n. a place where prescriptions are carefully confounded.

PHILANTHROPIST n. 1. a stamp collector. 2. one who has the power of throwing his voice.     

PHILISTINES n. islands in the Pacific.

PHILOSOPHY n. 1. being able to explain why you are happy even when you are poor. 2. the science of believing what you would think if other things had not happened. 3. the science of accepting what no sensible person can understand. 4. pretending to like things that normal people hate. 5. increases thirty-two feet per second.

PHLEGMATIC adj. a description of someone who has CHRONIC bronchitis.

PHOENICIANS n. inventors of the Phoenician blinds.

PHOTOGRAPH n. the opposite of negative.

PILOT n. a sea-robber, who robs every ship he comes in contact with.

PINEAPPLE n. the fruit of the pine tree.

PLAGIARIST n. 1. a writer of plays. 2. someone going around with pledges.

PLASTICINE n. where the crusades were fought. See also, PHILISTINES.

PLUMMET n. a dwarf variety of plum.

PLURAL VERB n. when we do two things at once.

POETRY n. made from clay.

POLEMICS n. one of the track and field events.

POLITENESS is a rather difficult thing, especially when you are making a start. It means having the sense to sometimes think of others as well as of yourselves. Many people have not got it, I don’t know why, unless it is the start.

It is not polite to fight little boys, except when they throw stones at you. Then you can run after them, and when you’ve caught them, just do a little bit at them, that’s all. Remember that all little boys are simpletons, or they wouldn’t do it. It is not the thing to make fun of a little chap because he is poorer than you. Let him alone if you don’t want to play with him, for he is as good as you, except the clothes.

When you are in school and a boy throws a bit of bread or anything at you over the desks, it is not polite to put your tongue out at him, or to twiddle your fingers in front of your nose. Just wait till after school, and then warn him what you’ll do next time; or if you find you are bound to hit him, be pretty easy with him.

Some boys are very rude over their meals. Don’t keep on eating after you are tightening, and you will be far happier. Never eat quickly, or you might get bones in your throat. My father knows of a boy who got killed over his Sunday dinner. The greedy boy was picking a rabbit’s head in a hurry, and swallowed one jaw of it, and my father says he was choked to death there and then. Be very polite over your meals, then, especially when it’s rabbits.

Since my father told me that, I have always felt rather queer over a rabbit dinner; I don’t talk much, and don’t ask for any more. It is not polite to leave vegetables on your plate, especially anything you don’t like. If you don’t like turnips, it is better to eat well into your turnips first, while you are hungry, and you’ll eat the meat and potatoes easy enough after. This is much better than being impolite, and leaving a lot of turnip on the edge.

It is not polite to tell tales of boys. Where a boy tells a tale, always call him—

‘Tell tale tit,

Your tongue shall be split,

All the DOGS in the town

Shall have a little bit.’

You’ll see how red he will turn, and can’t look you and the other boys in the face.

Boys should always be polite to GIRLS, however vexing they may be. When anybody is giving anything away always let the girls have their turn first. They like it. Girls are not so strong as boys, their hair is long, and their faces are prettier; so you should be gentle with them.

If a girl scratches you on the cheek, or spits in your face, don’t punch her, and don’t tell her mother. That would be mean. Just hold her tight behind by her arms for a minute or two, till she feels you could give it her if you had a mind to. Then say to her kindly, ‘Don’t you do it again, for it is wrong’; give her a shake or two, and let her go. This is far better than being unkind to her, and she will thank you for your politeness, if she’s anything of a girl.

POLYGLOT adj. 1. more than one glot. 2. an abundance of polygamists.

POLYGON n. 1. a dead parrot. 2. a man with more than one wife, preferably living.     

POLYP n. 1. the inside of an orange. 2. a substance carried by bees.


Above: A school kid mistakes polyp for pollen. (Illustration by Tosh Bibb.)

POSTMEN Nobody could be happy in the world except for the useful gentleman what we call a postman. For how would you know whether those AUNTS and uncles of yours who live right across the fields and rivers was dead, if the gentleman did not bring an envelope with black all round? You would think they was still alive, and you’d keep all on writing to them.

That is why postmen are always little thin men without beards coz they have to keep on walking quick all day. They are not dressed up so fine as soldiers coz they haven’t to go and fight across the sea. You never see postmen fight, not even with their fists, for they haven’t got no time with all those letters to take round.

I don’t think postmen dare even fight boys, for when me and some more boys was looking at a postman unlocking a pillar-box, and one of the boys pushed his head into the hole and we all run away, he wouldn’t even run after us, but only told a policeman when he came round the corner. And when he came away from the policeman he was frightened of walking our way past us, but jumped on a tramway and shammed not to see us.

Postmen always knocks so as to waken babies, and then they tries to look as if they didn’t know a baby was behind the door. If the postman doesn’t bring your letters, you can summons him, that’s why they’re so frightened.

Many boys become postmen coz they think it is a good trade. I don’t think they get good dinners, same as men who hasn’t to dress up. My father has a lot of meat and bread, and he keeps on eating. Postmen always black their boots, coz they are frightened of being summoned. They are very frightened men, and won’t hurt you whatever you do.

Never be cruel to them, for they have to take care of their clothes more than you, and are not so big as they would like. This is all I know about postmen, except they are very clean men most any time you like to look.

POST-MORTEM adj. 1. after twelve o’clock. 2. n. MANAGER of a post office.

POVERTY n. no bar to happiness in other people.

PRECOCIOUS adj. dangerous.     

PREFIX n. the school captains.

PREPOSITION n. a word never to be used to end a sentence with.

PRESERVATIVE n. another name for Tory. See also, CONSERVATIVE.

PRIEST n. a man who burns insects.

PRIMA FACIE n. original complexion.

PRIMATE n. the wife of the PRIME MINISTER.     

PRIME MINISTER n. a minister past their prime.

PRISM n. a prim precise person.

PRO (and con) PREFIXES of opposite meaning, e.g. — Progress, Congress.     

PROFITEERS n. tears wept by PROPHETS.

PROGNOSTICATE vb. to put a prog up your nose.

PROPER NOUN n. the name we give to a thing that is ours or that we intend is going to be ours when it is not.     

PROPHET n. someone who sells things for more than they are worth. See also, PROFITEERS.


Above: A light-bulb moment. (Illustration by Tosh Bibb.)

PROPOSITION n. when a country has no alcohol in it.

PROSE n. Men who play golf for money. Cf. IMMATURE.

PROSPECTUS n. a man who finds gold.

PROSTITUTE n. a fielder they use in cricket when another player gets hurt.

PROTESTANT n. a woman who gets her living through an IMMORTAL life.

PROTESTANTISM n. window breaking.

PSALMS n. tall trees that grow in hot countries.

PSYCHOLOGY 1. a modern disease. 2. the science of diseases that don’t exist.

PSYCHOTHERAPY n. the study of how to prevent and cure the patient.

PUNDIT n. a wisecracker.

PYJAMAS n. an island of the West Indies.

PYLON n. when lots of goals are scored against you.