pissants & culprits

When I tell people I blog about etymology, the study of word origins, they often confuse it with entomology, the study of insects. For my latest contribution to Strong Language, this confusion can for once be forgiven: I follow the trail of pissant back to its etymological anthill. It turns out to be a bit stinky there. A little too coarse for you? Well, I class it up with some Chaucer. Just be careful where you place your hands. Head on over to the blog to read the piece, “Piss off, Aesop?” Be sure to check the latest from the blog’s other, very un-pissant writers.

Also, maybe you missed my piece on culprit on the Oxford Dictionaries blog. Oxford University Press has re-published it over at their site. Catch up and stay a while on the site; you’ll find some truly excellent writing there as well.

m ∫ r ∫

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One thought on “pissants & culprits

  1. Thank you for this blog. Having studied linguistics , I am interested in etymology and while I was a teacher of English, got my pupils interested in it in various ways. One project my Year 7 students loved was ‘Present a Word’: they chose a word that intrigued them and, amongst other things, they identified its word class and investigated its origins. They also wrote a sentence in which they used the word appropriately. They had to present the word in a talk or a PowerPoint presentation, or another more creative way. They had great fun and so did I!

    Liked by 1 person

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