origin of ‘point-blank’

1571—probably from obsolete French ‘de pointe en blanc’, used of firing into empty space for the purpose of seeing how far a piece of artillery would carry

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origin of ‘to leave in the lurch’

to desert someone in trouble—late 16th cent.—from French ‘lourche’, which denoted a game resembling backgammon and was used as an adjective meaning discomfited

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meanings and origin of ‘Mummerset’

UK, 1915—humorous blend of the common noun ‘mummer’ and of the name ‘Somerset’—denotes a pseudo-rustic dialect used by actors and an imaginary rustic county.

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origin of ‘paraphernalia’

from Medieval Latin ‘paraphernalia’, short for ‘paraphernalia bona’, ‘married woman’s property’, i.e. the goods which a bride brings over and above her dowry

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an oxymoronic word: ‘oxymoron’

The word ‘oxymoron’ has the property it denotes: it is from Greek ‘oxús’, meaning ‘sharp’, ‘acute’, and ‘mōrόs’, meaning ‘dull’, ‘stupid’.

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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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