Missy Barrett's Adventures

The amazing adventures of a fictional child

What Sherlock Holmes Taught Me

on May 14, 2014

I got to watch some really old shows at my grandma and grandpa’s house on the weekend, and I learned two new words:  constablery and cookery.  The first word means the place were constables are and it’s just an old-fashioned word from England that means police station.  The second word they used when they said cookery book.  Actually they meant cook book but I guess in the old-fashioned days they said cookery instead of cook so they kept talking about cookery books in the shows I saw.

When I got home, I told my mom all about the funny words, and she laughed, too.  Then I got to thinking about other words that have a –ery ending.   I sat down next to my mom and I said, “A hatchery is where chicks get hatched, right?”  She said I was right, so I kept on going.

“And a nunnery is where nuns get made, right?”  She said that wasn’t exactly right but that mostly I was right.

A nunnery is a place where nuns are just like a constablery is where constables are.  That made sense, and I should’ve figured that one out better before I guessed wrong.

“I know lots of kids at my school that tell fibs, so I guess they come from a fibbery,” I said, “and if you’re alive, you come from a livery place, and when you die, you go to a de-livery place, right?”  My mom sighed that weird kind of sigh that sometimes she makes.

“And if there’s a cookery book that teaches people how to cook, there’s probably a infantry book that teaches people how to make babies!” I said and laughed at my own joke.  My mom didn’t think it was as funny as I thought it was and that’s why she didn’t laugh so much as me.  Then she asked me a question.

“Do you know what a poetastery is?”

“A poetastery?” I said right after she did.  “That sounds like a made-up word.”

“Well, made-up or not, what do you think a poetastery is?”  And do you know what I guessed?  I guessed this.

“A poetastery is where poets go when someone says they’re rude and they tell someone to bite them because they don’t like what the person said to them,” I guessed.

“Not quite,” she told me.  “Poetastery is when you tell someone they’re not a very good writer … because they just aren’t.”

That’s a good word to know and here’s why:  Instead of saying something that will hurt their feelings like, “don’t quit your day job” you should say to not good writers that you think they should check out a poetastery some day soon.   I guess not being a good writer happens way more to poets than other writers and that’s why they call it poetastery.

Now I’m going to phone my grandpa and ask him if he knows any other –ery words and see if I can guess what they mean.

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