Letters, bones, & sides: etymology around the web

Waiting in long lines this Black Friday? Stuck in holiday traffic? Still recovering from a food coma? Need a little break from your family? Well, I’ve got you covered with some etymological entertainment in a few of my posts published around the web. Be advised: some strong language ahead.

Ever wonder what the A in fucking A stands for? Awesome? Asshole? As some Canadians joke, eh? Learn your sweary alphabet over at Strong Language with my piece, “What the fuck is the ‘A’ in ‘fucking A’?” Slate’s Lexicon Valley also published this piece.

The US Thanksgiving dinner offers so many delicious side dishes. So, too, the English language, with its many side words. For example, did you know that sideburns are named after an American Civil War general? Over at Oxford Dictionaries’ blog, go inside side with my post, “The many ‘sides’ of Thanksgiving…and the English language.”

Did you break a wishbone this US Thanksgiving holiday? This custom seems innocent enough, but the term may just have a naughtier past, if we look to merrythought, an earlier British term for this bone. Read more over at Strong Language (and Slate’s Lexicon Valley) in my “Merry thoughts, naughty bits: Putting the ‘bone’ in wishbones.”

Finally, if you’re new to my blog, you may enjoy my piece last year on the globe-gobbling origin of the word turkey.

m ∫ r ∫

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