In a word: anorak

The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your vocabulary. This week's word:


If winter is not already here, it will be soon, and you will want to be properly outfitted to withstand wind and cold. You'll need a winter coat. 

One option is the anorak (pronouned AN-uh-rak), a hooded pullover jacket that is long enough to cover the hips. Though it crops up in American English, it is more common in British English.

English lifted the word from the Inuit of Greenland—annoraaq.

Though functional, the anorak is not glamorous, and in the way that both words and fashions come to mark social class or personality type, an anorak has come to mean also  a person who is extremely interested in something that other people find boring.

You get the drift from this line in Hwee Hwee Tan’s Foreign Bodies (1997): “Soccer turns me into a statto, an anorak's anorak, a trainspotter's trainspotter, the complete git.” (A statto is a person extremely interested in statistics, particularly sports.)

Make your choices and bundle up.

Example: From “Royal flash: An intimate close-up of Princess Anne” by Garry Jenkins in the November 1996 Cosmopolitan: “After spending the night in a basic room at the modest Government House, she's grabbed a quick breakfast, slipped into a distinctly nondesigner anorak, then hiked up the mountain to the memorial erected in honor of the heroes who died liberating these tiny South Atlantic islands from the Argentines.”

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