Piaffer n. In the art of formal or ceremonial horse-riding for display purposes, a piaffer is a particular movement in which the horse is made to lift a forefoot and the diagonally opposite hindfoot at the same time and then slowly place them forward, backward or to one side. Humans do this, though less gracefully, and call it line dancing. The Hubble telescope has searched to the farthest reaches of the known universe and has, I understand, failed to find a more boring form of animate activity than line dancing, so when next you find yourself a stupefied spectator as groups of strangely clad people prepare to lift their cowboy-booted feet in the closest to unison that they can manage, wait for a moment's silence and then call out, with feigned enthusiasm, in a loud voice: "With a hey nonny nonny and a hot cha cha! Let the piaffering begin!"
Each Tuesday, we’ll offer up a Superior Word for the edification of our Superior Readers, via the volumes of the inimitable Peter Bowler. You can purchase all or any of the four Superior Person’s Books of Words from the Godine website. Piaffer appears in the Third.