the creation of the word ‘folklore’

The word ‘folklore’ was coined in 1846 by the British author William John Thoms, inspired by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s anthology of German fairy tales.

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the origin of ‘bully’?

noun (late 17th cent.), perhaps from ‘bull’ (= bovine)—possibly distinct from ‘bully’ (mid-16th cent.), ‘darling’, probably from Middle Dutch ‘boele’, ‘lover’

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origin of ‘ado’

from ‘at do’ (meaning ‘to do’)—construction ‘to have’ + pronominal object (e.g. ‘much’) + ‘at do’ led to ‘ado’ reinterpreted as a noun qualified by an adjective

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Why ‘ache’ ought to be written ‘ake’.

The spelling ‘ache’ (erroneously derived from Greek ‘ákhos’) instead of ‘ake’ is largely due to Samuel Johnson in A Dictionary of the English Language (1755).

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origin of ‘spick and span’

mid-17th cent. in the sense ‘brand new’—from ‘spick and span new’, extension of ‘span new’, from Old Norse ‘spán-nýr’, ‘as new as a freshly cut wooden chip’

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the origin of ‘spud’ (potato)

The noun ‘spud’, originally the name for the digging implement used to dig up potatoes, was applied to the latter in the 19th century.

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the British use of ‘dole’

(British) benefit paid by the state to the unemployed (1919)—from Middle-English sense ‘food or money given in charity’—from primary sense ‘portion’, ‘share’

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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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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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