Having returned to Bristol in November after a year in the Midlands I’ve been walking around taking in the familiar sights and exploring new areas of the city and I realised that the word that most often springs to mind is… ‘quaint‘. It means ‘interesting or attractive with a slightly strange and old-fashioned quality’ (MacMillan) and for me it sums up so much in just… six letters!
Here are some examples of its usage:
– Magazines like Grazia and Stylist prefer to talk about Bath because it’s just oh so quaint – Bristol has areas that are prettier than Bath, more varied than Bath and – look, Bath is nice for an occasional visit, but Bristol is just a nicer place to be (ceriselle.org).
– Much press coverage is devoted to Oxbridge’s relatively low intake of students from the lowest socio-economic groups. In reality, a number of the country’s quaintest universities have far fewer working-class students than their urban counterparts (The Guardian).
– I went expecting a landscape of mass tourism but, in the northern part of the Costa Blanca, I found quaint Spanish villages where bar owners spoke only 10 words of English, and I found a part of Europe where life goes on the way it has for decades, with siestas religiously adhered to, and local customs and culture still very much a part of everyday life (The Guardian).
P.S. Apologies for the intrusion of a French word in this English-centred blog, I just couldn’t help myself! If you’re interested in what it means and what purpose it serves, head to this Wordreference forum thread.