recaffeinated (adj.)

One of my favourite authors is Stephen Fry. He became famous as a television comedian in the 1980s co-authoring and co-starring with Hugh Laurie (now known as Dr House) in A Bit of Fry and Laurie. He also appeared in such classics as Jeeves and Wooster and Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder.
In his writing he quite often fearlessly explores the limits of language. However, he never loses respect for it, never blows up the balloon all the way to bursting.

Especially his immense range of vocabulary is fascinating to me. Apparently it is – among other things – the result of a game Fry used to play in school. As he recounts in his autobiography Moab is My Washpot, he used to study the dictionary in his leisure time and challenge a friend to use a particularly remote word in conversation with a teacher. The dialogue he relates in his book contains the words pleonasm and sesquipedalian, both of which are not high on the list for my word of the week.
When the English language is unable to provide him with the fitting vocabulary, Fry is unafraid to create his own. As in this week’s example. It is taken from the author’s third novel Making History. In the opening scene the protagonist is frantically and desperately searching his whole household for coffee. Imagine his disappointment when all he finds is some of his ex-girlfriend’s “naturally decaffeinated”. But before despairing, the coffee addict remembers the only half empty bottle of caffeine pills from back when he took his exams. He simply takes a few of those, grinds them up, dissolves them in the decaf-brew: “The chunks of white pop and wink in the coffee mud as I pour the boiling water on. ‘Safeway Colombian Coffee, Fine Ground for Filters: Unnaturally Recaffeinated.’ Now that’s coffee.”

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