I have a sliver in my thumb.

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Linda Deng

Member
Mandarin-China
It's a poem by Shel Silverstein

Sick

.......
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
<-----Excess quote removed by moderator (Florentia52)----->
......

I can't understand the highlight words. Can anybody help me?
 
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  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    A 'sliver' here means a tiny sharp piece of wood. I call this a 'spelk', but I think that's a British regional word. The more usual word in British English is 'splinter'.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Here's an interesting article and map about this word and its regional variations, showing how the variations have died out in the past 50 years, except in the north-east where I'm from, which still has 'spelk' in current use.

    My husband calls them 'spells'. He tends towards north-west variations. Others were shivers, speels, spools, spiles, spills, and splints, probably related to the verb 'split'.
    I do know the word 'spill' meaning a long, thin piece of wood, or twisted length of newspaper used to light domestic coal fires.

    Dialects in Britain are disappearing as northerners increasingly use southern words | Daily Mail Online
     

    Linda Deng

    Member
    Mandarin-China
    Here's an interesting article and map about this word and its regional variations, showing how the variations have died out in the past 50 years, except in the north-east where I'm from, which still has 'spelk' in current use.

    My husband calls them 'spells'. He tends towards north-west variations. Others were shivers, speels, spools, spiles, spills, and splints, probably related to the verb 'split'.
    I do know the word 'spill' meaning a long, thin piece of wood, or twisted length of newspaper used to light domestic coal fires.

    Dialects in Britain are disappearing as northerners increasingly use southern words | Daily Mail Online
    thanks so much.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Note that the word as copied and pasted in the poem is sliver, S-L-I ..., not silver, S-I-L ... as you have it in the thread title. "Silver" (a precious metal, element Ag, or a color) is a more common word. As far as I know, the two words are unrelated.
     
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