Since I saw the word, I often want to use it, because it so exactly expresses a certain look that side glance doesn't even come close to defining.
But is it mine to use? If I were to use it in my own writing, would I be a plagiarist? When does a word become common property? When is a neologism available for use? Macquarie Online Dictionary defines a neologism:
noun 1. a new word or phrase:
2. the introduction or use of new words, or new senses of words.By the way, Macquarie doesn't have sidespy, and neither did any online dictionary I looked at. The only place I came across an online reference to the word is on a thread at Wordreference.com.
We all use many words coined by Shakespeare. I think it's time to get Thomas' great little verb out into the general world.
Here's the extract I read:
In the blind-drawn dark dining-room of School House, dusty
and echoing as a dining-room in a vault, Mr and Mrs Pugh
are silent over cold grey cottage pie. Mr Pugh reads, as
he forks the shroud meat in, from Lives of the Great
Poisoners. He has bound a plain brown-paper cover round
the book. Slyly, between slow mouthfuls, he sidespies up
at Mrs Pugh, poisons her with his eye, then goes on
reading. He underlines certain passages and smiles in
Persons with manners do not read at table,
says Mrs Pugh. She swallows a digestive tablet as big as a
horse-pill, washing it down with clouded peasoup water.
Some persons were brought up in pigsties.
Pigs don't read at table, dear.
Bitterly she flicks dust from the broken cruet. It settles
on the pie in a thin gnat-rain.
Pigs can't read, my dear.
I know one who can.
Alone in the hissing laboratory of his wishes, Mr Pugh
minces among bad vats and jeroboams, tiptoes through
spinneys of murdering herbs, agony dancing in his
crucibles, and mixes especially for Mrs Pugh a venomous
porridge unknown to toxicologists which will scald and
viper through her until her ears fall off like figs, her
toes grow big and black as balloons, and steam comes
screaming out of her navel.
You know best, dear,
says Mr Pugh, and quick as a flash he ducks her in rat
What's that book by your trough, Mr Pugh?
It's a theological work, my dear. Lives of the Great
Mrs Pugh smiles. An icicle forms in the cold air of the
Isn't it fantastic? I shiver just reading it.
If you want to read Under Milkwood, you can legally download it here for free.