Words can be so intoxicating. Sometimes I’ll have spent the evening inhaling them and it will just make me want to wander through the dictionary looking for some sapid lexeme to snack on. Oh, look, here’s one: churrus. What could that be?
It sure has a stirring chirp like chirr or churr, but also a clear flavour of churro (and mmm, crisp at the start and then chewier). It’s entirely on the tip of the tongue, except for the vowels of course. It sits near churtle and chuserel (the latter being a word for ‘a debauched fellow’ from the 1700s and 1800s, the etymology of which, Oxford helpfully tells us, is “Apparently an error of some kind”). It has that nice symmetry of urru in the middle, and an almost incoherent urr at the heart of such a mixed-up word. (Really, in spite of being so tidy, it does seem a bit of a hash, n’est-ce pas?) Oh, and cirrus. Yes, it has that wispy little cloud somewhere above it.
So, hey, yeah, what does it mean, by the way? Oh, I see it comes from Hindi charas (wow, that has a different feel, doesn’t it, with the one r and the two a’s, so open and hot), and is also spelled churus (by which gurus? hee hee). So there. Oh, um, the meaning? Yeah. Oh, here’s a great quote, from After Some Tomorrow by Reynolds in 1967, thanks Oxford: “While under the effect of…charas fudge, did you ever experience one of your prophetic…enlightenments?” So it comes in fudge and, uh,
Oh, here: it’s the resin of the hemp plant. Gum, resin, whatever, coming from the flowers, seeds, whatever. Well, that’s enlightening.
Oh. Oh, I know what that is! Hashish! Yeah, it’s hash. Handmade hash. In India they smoke it in a pipe called a chillum. Nice. Now we’re smokin’. And chillin’.
Did someone say something about churros?