Eating in the Romance languages

In Latin, short words having complicated irregularities in their forms gave way to simpler words with regular patterns and longer phonetic individualities.

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origin of ‘the land of Nod’

‘the land of Nod’: a state of sleep—punning allusion to the name of the region to which Cain went after he had killed his brother Abel (Genesis, 4:16)

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a Northern-English word: ‘mardy’

‘mardy’: ‘sulky’, ‘moody’—from ‘mard’, dialectal alteration of ‘marred’, meaning, of a child, ‘spoilt’, and the suffix ‘-y’, meaning ‘having the qualities of’

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everything but the kitchen sink

The phrase ‘everything but the kitchen sink’, or ‘the kitchen stove’, and variants mean ‘practically everything imaginable’—origin: USA, early 20th century

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the colonial origin of ‘kidnap’

original meaning of ‘kidnap’, late 17th century—to steal or carry off children or others in order to provide servants or labourers for the American plantations

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the story of the fedora

US, 1883—from the craze generated by ‘Fédora’, an 1882 drama by Victorien Sardou and the name of its heroine, played in early productions by Sarah Bernhardt

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origin of ‘geek’

19th century, northern England—apparently a variant of ‘geck’, of Germanic origin, meaning ‘a fool’, ‘a dupe’, ‘an oaf’

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origin of ‘cicerone’

early 18th century—from the name of the Roman orator and author Marcus Tullius Cicero, apparently in allusion to the eloquence and learning of these guides

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