The Whitsun Weddings Glossary

The Whitsun Weddings Glossary


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.


Illuminated by sunlight.


A stuffed bag of cloth for comfortable seating.


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


From the place. Archaic or poetic usage.


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


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.


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


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


Stinking smell or odor.


Taken apart, fragmented.


Sounds expressing dismay.


Shrill sounds.


Fooling around, enjoying in a playful and mischievous way.


Smiling broadly, smirking, being all smiles.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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

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