‘deliver a baby’: a consumerist approach to childbirth?

Originally, the mother was the object of ‘deliver’, the image was of delivering (freeing) her from the burden of pregnancy. Nowadays, the healthcare provider or the mother is the subject, the image is of delivering (handing over) the baby, as if it were a package.

Read More

origin of the British-English word ‘bonkers’

British English, first recorded, apparently as army slang, in 1945—probably from ‘bonk’ (= a blow on the head) and the suffix ‘-ers’ as in ‘ravers’ (from ‘raving mad’) and ‘starkers’ (from ‘stark mad’)

Read More

‘Glamour’ was originally a Scottish alteration of ‘grammar’.

‘Glamour’ was originally a Scottish alteration of ‘grammar’: this article explains how it came to denote an attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing.   GLAMOUR BABY Jackie Watson, “Glamour Baby” of Alfred Esdaile’s new autumn revues, “Folies de Minuit” and “Revue d’Elegance,” at the London Casino, for which Gordon Courtney […]

Read More

a WWI phrase: ‘san fairy ann’ (‘that doesn’t matter’)

An expression of indifference to, or resigned acceptance of, a state of affairs, ‘san fairy ann’ jocularly represents the French phrase ‘ça ne fait rien’, meaning ‘that doesn’t matter’. It originated in army use on the Western Front during the First World War.

Read More

linguistic pondering over ‘Libra’ and ‘pound’

The English noun ‘pound’ is from Latin ‘pondō’, short for ‘lībra pondō’, literally ‘a pound’ (= ‘lībra’) ‘by weight’ (= ‘pondō’)—Latin ‘lībra’ meant ‘the Roman pound of twelve ounces’, and ‘pondō’ was a form of ‘pondus’, meaning ‘weight’.

Read More

origin of ‘Shrovetide’ (‘les jours gras’)

Etymologically, ‘Shrovetide’ denotes the period during which it was customary to attend confession in preparation for Lent—but this period was also marked by feasting before the Lenten fast.

Read More

the Christian-Latin origin of ‘Noël’

French—from the noun use of the Latin adjective ‘natalis’ (from Christian-Latin ‘natalis dies’, ‘day of birth’), denoting the festival of the nativity of Christ

Read More