How ‘lion’ came to denote a celebrity.

‘lion’: a person of note or celebrity who is much sought after—from ‘lions’: things of note, celebrity, or curiosity in a town, etc.—from the practice of taking visitors to see the lions which used to be kept in the Tower of London

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adolescence: ‘the awkward age’ – ‘l’âge ingrat’

UK, 1832—‘the awkward age’: the adolescence, when one is no longer a child but not yet properly grown up, a time of life characterised by physical and emotional changes—translates in French as ‘l’âge ingrat’, ‘the thankless age’

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origin of ‘double Dutch’ and ‘High Dutch’ (‘gibberish’)

‘double Dutch’, 19th century—from ‘Dutch’ in the sense of a language that few people can speak, and ‘double’ as a mere intensifier—‘High Dutch’, 17th century—loan translation from French ‘haut allemand’ (= ‘High German’), used in the sense of gibberish

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‘maelstrom’ (a whirlpool off the west coast of Norway)

late 16th century—from early modern Dutch ‘maelstrom’ (now ‘maalstroom’)—originally a proper name designating a powerful whirlpool in the Arctic Ocean, off the west coast of Norway, which was formerly supposed to suck in and destroy all vessels within a wide radius

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the shadowy history of the word ‘silhouette’

1763 in French, 1798 in English—from the name of Étienne de Silhouette (1709-67), Controller-General of Finances in 1759—perhaps because he might have invented the portrait in profile obtained by tracing the outline of a head or figure by means of its shadow

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