The Whitsun Weddings Glossary

The Whitsun Weddings Glossary

Whitsun

Popular abbreviation of the Whit Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter. In the 1950s, the Whitsun week was exempted from marriage tax, making it an opportune moment for common people to marry. It usually falls in spring.

Get Away

Escape. It is a phrasal verb of ‘get’. As the phrase also means expressing scepticism, there is a pun in its use in this poem.

Sunlit

Illuminated by sunlight.

Cushion

A stuffed bag of cloth for comfortable seating.

Windscreen

The glass in front of a motorized vehicle allowing the driver to see through while protecting him or her from air and dust.

Thence

From the place. Archaic or poetic usage.

Lincolnshire

A county in the East Midlands region of the United Kingdom. The city of Lincoln is its administrative headquarters.

Froth

A mass of small bubbles in a liquid. The ‘industrial froth’ that the poet talks about refers to the fermented bubbles of chemical wastes in industrial sewage drains.

Hothouse

A greenhouse with heating system to produce plants and crops that need warm weather, and protect them from cold.

Hedge

A boundary formed by bushes or shrubs that is both pretty, and useful to fence off cattle and intruders from the garden or farm.

Reek

Stinking smell or odor.

Dismantled

Taken apart, fragmented.

Whoops

Sounds expressing dismay.

Skirls

Shrill sounds.

Larking

Fooling around, enjoying in a playful and mischievous way.

Grinning

Smiling broadly, smirking, being all smiles.

Pomaded

Perfumed. Pomade is a waxy, scented substance for styling hair.

Smut

Filth or dirt. In urban colloquial usage, smut refers to obscene and often sexually explicit language.

Perms

Styling hair in a long-lasting curled, wavy fashion. The word is a colloquial abbreviation of 'permanent'.

Confetti

Streamers of paper thrown at the bride and her groom by the guests after a wedding.

Odeon

A leading cinema in the UK and Ireland. During Larkin’s time, there were already over 250 Odeon cinemas across the country, thus making the brand name almost synonymous with a cinema house.

Cooling Tower

A tall, cylindrical concrete tower, mainly seen in industrial zones, used for condensing steam from a factory or cooling water.

Pullmans

A particular railway carriage, or a train consisting of such coaches. Founded by George Pullman, the Pullman Palace Car Company was popular in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century America and Europe.

Moss

A small, flowerless, rootless, dark green plant that sprouts in damp areas, like damp walls.

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