Monday, July 28, 2008


A resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia. As in: “A true Haligonian drinks Keith’s” (short form of Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale, a strong Canadian beer, brewed exclusively in Halifax, Nova Scotia, since 1820.) This, from the online Urban Dictionary.

I would have guessed “a chemical element, in gaseous form, discovered in 1925 by Dr. Breton Haligon. Used primarily in cleaning solvents, where it is liquid at cold temperatures.” But, no, wrong again.

Haligonian. Somehow, the word came from Halifax, but my Merriam-Webster unabridged says not so; my Oxford English does not even list it, although it does mention if you tell someone to go to the English town of Halifax, it’s telling them to go to Hell.

Then I ran into Bari Pearlman’s blog where she has posted a 2-minute film by her production company ( Click on “2007” then scroll way down to the entry for 22 September 2007.

Her subjects discuss whether it might otherwise, given different circumstances and someone else at the Bureau of Names, have been “Halifaxian,” possibly “Islandgonian,” or “Halifaxer,” or even “Halian.” Or, as one fellow said, “It’s a ridiculous word, but I don’t lose any sleep over it.”

But Aussies call us ‘Merkins and we all know what THAT is.


Blogger Bill Mecca said...

Tom, you are the first person I have seen mention Alexander Keith's Pale India Ale. I honeymooned with my first wife in Nova Scotia and enjoyed a tall AKPAL in a sidewalk cafe. Could never find it anywhere else or anyone who had ever heard of it.

I'll get back there someday and enjoy another, and a nice ride along lighthouse route to White Point Beach,

July 30, 2008 10:22 AM  
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