I've often wished there were just one word for these two garden menaces - most of the time, when I refer to them, it's either to do with the damage which they cause, or how to kill them, in which case whatever I say applies equally to both.
But every time, I have to laboriously type “slugs-and-snails”.
It's not just me being a lazy typist: it makes an article less readable if it has a lot of repetition in it, and by the time you've read “slugs-and-snails” four times, well, you'd be getting a bit tired of it, too.
Did you know that in Danish, for example, they don't have two words for “slugs-and-snails”, just the one? They are all “snegl”. I am extremely envious of this, although I would just say that the word “snegl” is a little too close to “snuggle” for comfort, especially in relation to “slugs-and-snails”.
And apparently in Dutch, they call them all slak/slakken, although apparently there is a secondary distinction between 'huisjesslakken' and 'naaktslakken', which translates roughly as house snails versus nude snails, and we have to assume that nude snails are what we call slugs.
Wouldn't the English language, and gardening in particular, be so much better with just one word to cover these two items?
Of course, there is the scientific word of “gastropod” but frankly, that sounds like some sort of pop-up wine bar that serves food - and please don't tell me that snails are edible, otherwise you will have me heaving over my keyboard.
Perhaps we should invent a word of our own? According to one of my favourite books, The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd (he of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame, and he who invented QI), there are plenty of words “idly loafing around on signposts” which might as well be put to use.
How about Sliverands? Slyne? (a bit like “kine”, maybe that's the medieval word for them?) Smails? Snitters?