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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origin of ‘place in the sun’

traceable to Pensées, by Blaise Pascal (1623-62); modern use apparently originated in a speech made in December 1897 by the German statesman Bernhard von Bülow

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meaning and origin of ‘pogue’

Via Irish ‘póg’, Irish-English ‘pogue’ (a kiss) is from ecclesiastical Latin ‘pacem’ (kiss of peace)—the name of the band is from ‘pogue mahone’ (kiss my arse).

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meaning and origin of ‘incunabula’

Latin ‘incunabula’: ‘swaddling clothes’, hence ‘beginning’—denotes the early printed books (from the 1450s to the end of the 15th century)

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the rough end of the pineapple

‘the rough end of the pineapple’: harsh or unfair treatment—said to be an Australian phrase, but may have originated in the USA in the mid-20th century

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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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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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