Search found 2528 matches

by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Self-esteem
Replies: 1
Views: 6492

Self-esteem

The first OED citation is 1657. The 'origin' is no more than a blend of the two words 'self' and 'esteem'.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: knowledge
Replies: 1
Views: 3905

knowledge

knowledge comes from the northern English dialect word knaulage or knowleche and is first cited sometime before 1300. The first element is identical with the SE word know; the problem lies in the second part, the 'ledge'. The OED offers a lengthy and complex note, the burden of which is that the ver...
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: wag the tail
Replies: 1
Views: 4041

wag the tail

The image is of tail, which should be wagged by a dog, taking control of the animal.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: ruminate
Replies: 1
Views: 4906

ruminate

Your friend is, I have to say, talking nonsense. Where do they get these ideas? The word comes from Latin 'rumen', the throast, the gullet, and was originally applied to cows chewing the cud.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: smack dab craw
Replies: 1
Views: 4047

smack dab craw

'smack', used advervbially, with, or as with, a smack; suddenly and violently; slap plus 'dab', adv. With a dab, or sudden contact.

craw comes from a Teutonic root and is cognate with such words as Dutch 'kraag', the neck.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: pound
Replies: 1
Views: 3873

pound

Pound is something of a problem. It is not found till near the end of the Middle English period, i.e. c. 1450. A possible root, Anglo-Saxon 'pund', is known only in comb. 'pund-fold' and an early ME. 'pundbreche' or 'pound-breach' (found in the laws of Henry I). It is supported by the derivatives '(...
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: penicillin
Replies: 1
Views: 4016

penicillin

The antibiotic agent obtained from cultures of the mould Penicillium notatum ( a genus of ascetomycetous fungi, including several of the common moulds); hence, any of a group of antibiotics that are all derivatives of 6-amino-penicillanic acid in which a radical replaces one of the amino hydrogen at...
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: would it be an anagram?
Replies: 1
Views: 3754

would it be an anagram?

No, a palindrome, from Greek 'palindromos', running backwards.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Grandparent and other names for them
Replies: 1
Views: 4560

Grandparent and other names for them

Both forms are noted in the Dict. of American Regional English, which defines 'oma' as grandmother, with the label 'esp. in German settlement areas'; 'opi' and 'opa' are grandfather, and similarly labelled. The latter seems to be an elision of 'grosspapa' (? or 'grosspapi'); presumably oma is 'gross...
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: spirit
Replies: 1
Views: 3706

spirit

Latin 'spiritus', breath, breathing. The earlier English uses of the word are mainly derived from passages in the Vulgate, in which spiritus is employed to render Gr. 'pneuma' and Heb. 'ruah'. The translation of these words by 'spirit' (or one of its variant forms) is common to all versions of the B...
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: fireplug
Replies: 1
Views: 3792

fireplug

The words blends fire and plug, a tap or stopcock.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Pathological
Replies: 1
Views: 4210

Pathological

The 'liar' version is a weak use of the technical pathological, meaming grossly abnormal in properties or behaviour
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: jamboree
Replies: 1
Views: 3745

jamboree

I can find no origin, merely an attribution to US slang, and a first citation of 1868.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: best seller
Replies: 1
Views: 3707

best seller

The term is first cited in 1889 and seems to have been a US coinage.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: non-English words absorbed into English
Replies: 4
Views: 2045

non-English words absorbed into English

How long is a piece of string ... there are thousands, maybe tens of thousands, given the etymology of so much English. What I suggest, however, is that you get a copy of the Oxford Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases (OUP 19970. This boasts '8000 entries' from '40 languages'. Good luck.