It’s Mardi Gras, or the “dense, shiny meat removal,” as I’ve etymologized in the past. I trust many observers people won’t be giving up TV for Lent, what with the Winter Olympics going on. Speaking of the Olympics, ski down some archives with my old posts from the 2014 competition in Sochi, Russia. I explored … Continue reading The official etymologies of the PyeongChang 2018™ Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games
Kid, likely borrowed from Old Norse, named a “young goat” (1200s) long before it did “child.” Kid as “child” was a slang term in late 1500s, familiar, though informal, by the late 1800s. m ∫ r ∫
Liger is much older than you think. Tigon is even older. Earlier this week, I let the etymological cat out of the bag for International Cat Day. Today, I keep with the feline theme for World Lion Day. Yes, these national/international days can get gimmicky—except where they raise money for wildlife conservation. But I really … Continue reading Lions, chameleons, and shih-tzus, oh my!: 12 “lion” etymologies
From German hangovers to Iraqi silks, the English language loves its cats. It’s International Cat Day, founded, apparently, in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. So, take a break from cat pics and vids online today and enjoy some cat-themed etymologies. Catymologies? Yeah, no, yeah…I think I have to.
Yes, getting sacked does originally involve bags. Just ten days into his new role as White House Communications Director, Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci was sacked, as a number of British headlines having been putting his firing while General John Kelly takes over as Trump’s Chief of Staff. Where does this expression, getting sacked, come from?
We had a lot of interesting words in the news this week (some more polite than others). Here’s a news review with—what else?—an etymological twist.
When her father was dying, Lisa Smartt noticed he was using poetic and at times nonsensical language, speaking of green dimensions, an upcoming art show, and angels who told him he only had three days left. Stirred by his speech and drawing on her linguistics background, Smartt dedicated four years to analyzing over 1,500 utterances … Continue reading Review: Words at the Threshold by Lisa Smartt
It’s been another busy week for politics in the US, and so today, National Puppy Day, couldn’t come at a better time. So, too, the origin of the word puppy. It’s pretty adorable.
Originally, we didn’t make messes. We ate them. In his presser yesterday, Trump claimed: “To be honest, I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home, and abroad — a mess.” Clearly, he was describing his own news conference, which was a hot one, because the facts just don’t back him up. But Trump does … Continue reading From dinner to disarray: the origin of “mess”
Around many holiday hearths tonight, families will recite “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a poem, properly called “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” first published anonymously in 1823 and later claimed by American professor and writer Clement Clarke Moore. Moore’s verse is considered the source of our names for Santa’s reindeer, excluding their later leader, Rudolph: … Continue reading Santa’s reindeer: an etymological herd