‘ultracrepidarian’, coined to denigrate a specific person

UK, 1819—specifically invented to qualify the English poet and critic William Gifford with reference to the fact that he had been a shoemaker’s apprentice—alludes to the proverb ‘let the cobbler stick to his last’ from Pliny’s Natural History (AD 77)

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‘Atlantic’ originally referred to Mount Atlas in North Africa.

‘Atlantic’ originally referred to Mount Atlas in North Africa, on which the heavens were fabled to rest; it was hence applied to the sea near the western shore of Africa, and afterwards extended to the whole ocean lying between Europe and Africa on the east and America on the west.

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origin of ‘good wine needs no bush’

first recorded in ‘As You Like It’, by Shakespeare—from the former practice of hanging a branch or bunch of ivy as a vintner’s sign in front of a tavern

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origin of ‘cloud-cuckoo-land’

a realm of fantasy, dreams or impractical notions—1856 as ‘cuckoo-cloud-land’—from the name of the city built by the birds in ‘The Birds’, by Aristophanes

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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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origin of ‘immolate’

The verb ‘immolate’ is from Latin ‘immolare’, meaning, literally, ‘to sprinkle (a victim) with sacrificial meal’, from ‘mola salsa’, ‘salted spelt-meal’.

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clew – clue

    photograph: pixabay     The noun clue appeared as a variant spelling of clew, of same pronunciation. Not frequent until the 17th century, clue has become the prevailing form of the word in the sense of a fact or idea that serves to reveal something or solve a problem. The word is from Old English cliwen, cleowen, meaning a ball formed by winding yarn, […]

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to leave no stone unturned

  photograph: pixabay     The phrase to leave no stone unturned means to try every possible course of action in order to achieve something. (The equivalent French phrase has a cosmic dimension since it is remuer ciel et terre, literally, to move heaven and earth.) The image of turning every stone was already proverbial […]

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