'Quomodocunquize: Tharoor takes dig at Railways Ministry with head-scratcher

PTI | | Updated on: May 23, 2022
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. (RV MOORTHY/The Hindu)

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. (RV MOORTHY/The Hindu)

‘To make money by any means possible,’ the meaning posted by the Congress leader read

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday took a dig at the Ministry of Railways with a difficult-to-pronounce head-scratcher — quomodocunquize. The man of many words, who is known for throwing in rarely-used English words into Twitter lexicon, helpfully shared the meaning too.

"To make money by any means possible," the meaning posted by the Congress leader read. In a tweet, Tharoor said, "Obscure Words Deptt: Must the Indian Railways quomodocunquize?" He tagged the Ministry of Railways, using the hashtag 'SeniorCitizensConcession'.

The concession, which was put on hold from March 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, has remained suspended, with senior officials indicating it might not be retained. While train services remained suspended through most of 2020 and parts of 2021, the demand for the concessions began surfacing as services normalised.

‘Play possum’

In another tweet, Tharoor posted another rarely used expression – “play possum” – to take a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Unfamiliar Expressions Deptt: ‘play possum’: definitions: (1) pretend to be asleep or unconscious (as an opossum does to avoid attack) (2) feign ignorance,” he tweeted. “USAGE: Why does our PM play possum when heinous atrocities are committed by his worst supporters?” he said.


This is not the first time the author-politician-wordsmith has sent Twitterati scurrying for their dictionaries to confirm whether such words and expressions indeed exist. Last month, he had posted another head-scratcher — quockerwodger.

"A quockerwodger was a type of wooden puppet. In politics, a quockerwodger was a politician acting on the instructions of an influential third party, rather than properly representing their constituents," he had said.

Before that, Tharoor took a dig at the BJP with the word 'allodoxaphobia', which he explained was an irrational fear of opinions. Also, the Congress MP had engaged in friendly banter with TRS working president KT Rama Rao over Covid-19 medicine names and threw in the obscure 'floccinaucinihilipilification'.

Oxford dictionary describes 'floccinaucinihilipilification' as the action or habit of estimating something as worthless. In the past as well he has stumped people with words such as 'farrago' and 'troglodyte'. While 'farrago' means a confused mixture, 'troglodyte' means a person regarded as being deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned.

Published on May 23, 2022
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

You May Also Like

Recommended for you