Search found 3700 matches

by Ken Greenwald
Wed Jan 26, 2005 12:21 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: fuzz = policeman
Replies: 14
Views: 2859

fuzz = policeman

Robert’s above explanation is wrong and is a perfect example of what happens when amateurs guess answers, stating them as fact without saying that they are guessing, and with absolutely no proof that what they say is true, which, of course they can’t provide, because it isn’t true. Next, some naïve ...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 25, 2005 10:09 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: puny
Replies: 11
Views: 5258

puny

Wiz, It’s just my usual good old cheerful self, and Mel does ask interesting questions and makes interesting comments, unlike some others I know. ------- Only kidding. (&lt)

Ken - January 25, 2005
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:48 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: umpteen
Replies: 7
Views: 1438

umpteen

UMPTEEN/UMTEEN first appeared in 1918 as an indefinite (large) number – lots. “She has umpteen pairs of shoes.” UMPTY-UMP is also often used as a synonym for ‘umpteen.’ One source said that 'umpteen' was a humorous coinage based on the word ‘umpty,’ a fanciful rendering in military slang of the Mors...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:59 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: mow, as in to eat quickly
Replies: 1
Views: 2425

mow, as in to eat quickly

RD, MOW was a 1980s teen and college expression which is still in use, meaning to eat heartily, to eat until one might explode, to gorge oneself. “I mowed last night at the barbeque.” Here’s my theory on its derivation and the two pronunciations. I can’t say which pronunciation came first, but which...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:18 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: man of the cloth
Replies: 2
Views: 1431

man of the cloth

Sharlene, ‘Man of the cloth’ for a clergyman first appeared in print in the 17th century. However, it all began in the 12th century with one’s wearing apparel being called ‘cloth.’ By 1300 ‘cloth’ also meant a single garment such as a robe or coat. By 1630 it had come to mean “the distinctive clothi...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:41 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: puny
Replies: 11
Views: 5258

puny

Mel, Welcome back. Don’t know much French, so can’t help you there, but very glad to see your return. It’s been so long I thought that perhaps you were no longer with us, or with anybody – if you know what I mean. Well, things have improved a whole bunch since you left and we no longer have to deal ...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:57 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: cheese factor
Replies: 4
Views: 2417

cheese factor

Vladimir, The evolution of ‘cheese factor’ bears some resemblance to the development of ‘sleaze factor,’ which is related to ‘sleazy’ (contemptibly low, mean, or disreputable), where ‘sleaze’ is a backformation of ‘sleazy.’ Also, see factor (‘fear factor,’ ‘safety factor,’ fudge factor,’ . . .) for ...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:50 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: erythemal
Replies: 5
Views: 1784

erythemal

Chris, In medicine the prefix ‘erythro-’ is a combining form meaning ‘red’ (e.g. ‘erythrocyte,’ a red blood cell). ‘Erythemal’ means “of, pertaining to, or causing ‘erythema.’” And ERYTHEMA is defined as “redness of the skin caused by dilatation and congestion of the capillaries, often a sign of inf...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 24, 2005 1:54 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: lunker
Replies: 2
Views: 1309

lunker

Hans Joerg, A ‘lunker’ is sometimes defined as an informal word (but now considered Standard English by many dictionaries) used in angling for ‘a game fish which is unusually large for its kind: a whopper.' It is also used to describe any large specimen (1912) of anything (e.g. animal or other objec...
by Ken Greenwald
Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:09 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Full-blown 'idiomacy' and General Semantics
Replies: 38
Views: 9529

Full-blown 'idiomacy' and General Semantics

Louis, The truth be known, I’m not used to conversing seriously with as poor a communicator and fuzzy thinker (among other things) as you are and, although I truly love to debate, argue, analyze, and discuss, I just don’t have the patience or the desire to continue straining myself to decode your me...
by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 20, 2005 7:33 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: throw pillows
Replies: 4
Views: 5360

throw pillows

Marsha, Random House defined a 'throw pillow' (1955-60) as “a small pillow placed on a chair, couch, etc., primarily for decoration.” The Oxford English Dictionary also provided the synonyms ‘throw cushion’ and ‘scatter cushion’ (North American). And the idea I am getting is that the sense of ‘throw...
by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 20, 2005 5:51 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Full-blown 'idiomacy' and General Semantics
Replies: 38
Views: 9529

Full-blown 'idiomacy' and General Semantics

Louis, It’s a lucky thing that you’ve got Phil around as your interpreter because your presentation has been so muddled that it has been near incomprehensible, at least to me. And if your ‘clarity’ of discourse is any example of what adherence to your philosophy of language produces – count me out! ...
by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:41 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Full-blown 'idiomacy' and General Semantics
Replies: 38
Views: 9529

Full-blown 'idiomacy' and General Semantics

Louis, I know that you think it’s a crime that language is the way that it is, but, other than moaning about it, what as a practical matter do you suggest Dale, or anyone, do with the ‘valuable’ information you have just provided?
by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:16 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: origin of truth
Replies: 3
Views: 2186

origin of truth

Roman, I would tell you more, but there’s no a lot more to say other than what you will find if you use the suggested online dictionaries on the left side of our home page.
by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:50 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: flop room
Replies: 1
Views: 1868

flop room

Mack, ‘Flop’ as a verb dates back to the 17th century and the noun forms didn’t appear until the 19th and 20th centuries. ‘Flop’ began as a variation on the word ‘flap.’ Both of these words were formed from imitations of a sound (onomatopoeic words) with the ‘flop’ being a bit duller and heavier as ...