Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading and is hosted by Bermuda Onion.

I read  John Brady's The Going Rate set in Dublin. The expression wigs on the green was used several times so I had to google it to understand what it meant.

It’s an intriguing expression though it’s seriously out of fashion, just as are the wigs it mentions. Wigs on the green refers to a fight, brawl or fracas, or to a difference of opinion that could lead to fisticuffs.This was when men wore wigs and they would fall off in the fracas scattering on the grass.
I can’t leave an Irish expression without quoting a famous Irish writer:
But Tommy said he wanted the ball and Edy told him no that baby was playing with the ball and if he took it there’d be wigs on the green but Tommy said it was his ball and he wanted his ball and he pranced on the ground, if you please.
Ulysses, by James Joyce, 1922.


  1. "Wigs on the green"....well now here's just another expression I'm going to have to use!

  2. LOL I did just love it and had never heard it until this book where he uses it several times.

  3. Wow! That is an interesting word.

  4. I would never have figured it out but it makes perfect sense once you explained it!

  5. Nice! I like this :) I'm going to tell my kids that they better clean up this mess or there will be some wigs on the green! LOL!

  6. Very interesting expression, love it!

  7. What a fabulous expression! I love the Irish turn of phrase. Interesting that you quote from Joyce, and I read it today on Bloomsday, the most famous Joyce day of all. Dubliners often name the statues in a delightfully Irish way, as I was doing my Bloomsday post this week, I realised that there was a Joyce statue in Dublin quaintly termed the prick with the stick. Sadly I didn't see that one on my last visit, I will have to find it next time. I love your photo btw.


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