conundrum

The word ‘conundrum’, attested in 1596, originally meant ‘whimsy’, ‘oddity’. It perhaps originated as a parody of some Latin scholastic phrase.

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wouldn’t say boo to a goose

  photograph: Blackwells farm shop     The phrase wouldn’t say boo to a goose is used to emphasise that someone is very timid. Here, boo is not an expression of disapproval but a later form of bo, an exclamation intended to frighten. In Notes and Queries of 10th September 1870, the English philologist Walter […]

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