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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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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a Shakespearean phrase: ‘this mortal coil’

the troubles and activities of the world—literary or humorous, from Hamlet’s speech “to be or not be”—‘coil’: probably from Middle French ‘acueil’, encounter

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the making of ‘omelette’

1611—from French ‘omelette’, ultimately an alteration of ‘lemelle’, ‘knife blade’ (from Latin ‘lamella’), with reference to the flattened shape of the dish

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origin of ‘eavesdrop’

‘To eavesdrop’ originally referred to standing within the eavesdrop (the ground on to which water drips from the eaves of a house) in order to overhear what is going on inside.

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