Search found 2528 matches

by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: anchor
Replies: 1
Views: 4974

anchor

It is merely a figurate use of the word anchor, meaning someone who holds a program in place.
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: tenterhooks
Replies: 1
Views: 4983

tenterhooks

A tenterhook is one of the hooks or bent nails set in a close row along the upper and lower bar of a tenter, by which the edges of the cloth are firmly held; a hooked or right-angled nail or spike; dial. a metal hook upon which anything is hung. Thus it can be used to describe anything on which some...
by Jonathon Green
Thu Feb 18, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Kit and caboodle
Replies: 1
Views: 9082

Kit and caboodle

Kit means simply equipment; caboodle blends the emphatic pfx. 'ker-' with either Du. 'boedel', household effects, and thus one's personal estate, or Scot. 'bodle', a small coin worth two Scot. pence (or one-sixth of an English one) and as such usually glossed as 'worthless'.
by Jonathon Green
Sun Feb 14, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: prophet
Replies: 1
Views: 10778

prophet

Greek 'propheteis', an interpreter, proclaimer, spokesman, esp. of the will of the deity; an inspired person. This is a blend of pro-, forth, before, for + pheteis, a speaker. I add the OED's lengthy discussion of th word: One who speaks for God or for any deity, as the inspired revealer or interpre...
by Jonathon Green
Sun Feb 14, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Blimp
Replies: 1
Views: 4760

Blimp

No-one is quite sure; the prevalling opinion is that it was invented by either th e aviator Horace Shortt (Illustrated London News 1918: Nobody in the R.N.A.S. ever called them anything but ‘Blimps’, an onomatopœic name invented by that genius for apposite nomenclature, the late Horace Shortt) or on...
by Jonathon Green
Sun Feb 14, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Parodyme, psychomanteum
Replies: 1
Views: 5332

Parodyme, psychomanteum

Paradigm: a pattern, exemplar, example; an example or pattern of the inflexion of a noun, verb, or other inflected part of speech. Psychomanteum: I cannot work this one out; it isn't listed in any dictionary I have consulted. I have to assume, therefore, that it is in some way linked to the word it ...
by Jonathon Green
Sun Feb 14, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Lumberjack
Replies: 1
Views: 12418

Lumberjack

Lumberjack combines the words lumber, timber, and jack, a generic for a man.
by Jonathon Green
Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: tantalize
Replies: 1
Views: 5187

tantalize

Yes.
by Jonathon Green
Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: lust
Replies: 1
Views: 4743

lust

Lust is based in a common Teutonic word, and can be found in German, Dutch, Danish, etc. The immediate root is Anglo-Saxon 'lust'. The ultimate etymology, i.e. a root meaning of lust itself, remains unexplained.
by Jonathon Green
Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: synchronizing
Replies: 1
Views: 4614

synchronizing

The Greek 'syn', with + 'chronos', time.
by Jonathon Green
Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: duty
Replies: 1
Views: 4813

duty

Duty comes from the word 'due', plus the '-ty' suffix on the model of 'fealty' or 'beauty'. Due itself is the past participle of French devoir, to owe, itself based on Latin 'debitum'
by Jonathon Green
Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Civil
Replies: 1
Views: 4678

Civil

No, no, no. It comes from Latin 'civis', a citizen.
by Jonathon Green
Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: masculine and feminine noun endings
Replies: 1
Views: 6599

masculine and feminine noun endings

Fortunate as we are to use a language which survives without gender, despite being a mongrel composition of others, notably Latin and its descendant French, which do, this is a problem we don't have to face. More irritatingly, I find that this being the case my various reference books are of little ...
by Jonathon Green
Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: jack shit
Replies: 1
Views: 6741

jack shit

Jack shit dates from the 1960s, is a US coinage and means 'absolutely nothing'; it is always used with a qualifying negative verb, e.g. 'you don't know jack shit about...' It combines the slang words 'jack', meaning very little, an infinitesimal amount and 'shit', in this context meaning nothing, ty...
by Jonathon Green
Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: 'mosquito'
Replies: 1
Views: 7256

'mosquito'

It is a Spanish/Portuguese diminutive of 'mosca', a fly; itself from Latin 'musca'.