Oxford Terrace Dictionary of Tramping Phrases and Fables.


There are several acknowledged degrees of lost.

  • First degree lost, usually referred to as 'a little bit off-track', 'this is a short-cut', or 'I thought we'd take the scenic route' (depending on the situation and the gullibility of your companions). Not so much lost as not precisely found.
  • Second degree lost. 'We are not lost; I know exactly where we are on the map', but unfortunately this does not correspond to where you intended to be on the ground. If the situation cannot be rectified with some brisk tramping inside the time necessary for recrimination and then reconciliation, then you may be moving toward third degree lost.
  • Third degree lost. Appropriate for the situation where you have lost your map (so that all hope of converting the situation to second degree lost is gone), and your compass, marbles and other pocket contents. Appeals to previously unrecognised religious deities and unlikely promises to live a better life in future and sew up holes in pockets immediately are symptomatic of this condition. Proper trampers never experience third degree lost, but all know someone else who ignored their advice and did.