blow-out (n.)

What I like so much about this word is its graphic quality. It describes the sudden escape of air from a punctured tire. But also a big party or a great feast with wonderful food prepared in large quantities. The connection between the two meanings, describing a lavish meal or party in terms of an explosion is what I find so appealing.

I found both meanings in one and the same book. It struck me as odd to encounter a not so very common word used twice in the space of only about 30 pages with quite different meanings. The book is Hugh Laurie, The Gun Seller, London: Arrow Books 1997.

On page 147 the protagonist describes an obviously thin woman: “Ronnie was the sort of person to call a couple of grapefruit segments a major blow-out”.

On page 175 the protagonist muses about how we usually live on the verge of disaster considering, among other things, how “many miles on the motorway without a front wheel blow-out” we usually drive.

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