the Bloody Mary before the name existed

Unnamed cocktails consisting of vodka and tomato juice became fashionable in the 1930s before the name ‘Bloody Mary’ was coined in November 1939.

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the curious origin of ‘the mind boggles’

primary meaning of ‘boggle’ was ‘to start with fright’, originally with reference to horses—probably related to the nouns ‘bogle’ and ‘bogey’, denoting an evil spirit such as horses are reputed to see

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meaning and origin of ‘the milk in the coconut’

‘the milk in the coconut’: a puzzling fact or circumstance; alludes to the question of how the milk got into the coconut—of British-English origin (1832), not of American-English origin as stated by the Oxford English Dictionary

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origin of ‘apple polisher’ (a person who curries favour)

USA—‘apple polisher’ (1918): a person who curries favour with a superior; ‘apple polishing’ (1926): (an instance of) currying favour—with reference to the former practice of bringing a shiny apple as a gift to one’s teacher

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meaning and origin of ‘Dutch auction’

UK, 1788—denotes an auction in which the price is lowered by stages until a buyer is found—said to have been invented by the Dutch specifically as the best solution to selling tulip bulbs

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‘marmalade’: from Latin ‘mēlŏmĕli’ and ‘mĕlĭmēla’

first recorded in 1480—from Portuguese ‘marmelada’ (quince marmalade), from ‘marmelo’ (quince), itself from Latin ‘malomellum’ (quince, sweet pome), a blend of Latin ‘mēlŏmĕli’ (syrup of preserved quinces) and ‘mĕlĭmēla’ (a variety of sweet pome)

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“wedding vowels”, “tongue and cheek” and other eggcorns

‘eggcorn’: alteration of a word or phrase through the mishearing or reinterpretation of one or more of its elements as a similar-sounding word—coined in 2003 on the website Language Log with reference to a misinterpretation of ‘acorn’ as ‘eggcorn’

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‘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.

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meaning and origin of ‘to turn up one’s toes’

The phrase ‘to turn up one’s toes’, meaning ‘to die’, might have originated in the Irish-English phrase ‘to turn up one’s toes to the roots of the daisies’, first found in the passive form ‘with one’s toes turned up to the roots of the daisies’, meaning ‘lying dead’.

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