Search found 2528 matches

by Jonathon Green
Tue Feb 09, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: porphyritic
Replies: 1
Views: 8835

porphyritic

It comes from the Latin 'porphyrites', a purple-coloured precious stone in Egypt; this in turn comes from Greek 'porphyrites', like purple. There seems to be no direct link to the writer.
by Jonathon Green
Tue Feb 09, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: voracious
Replies: 1
Views: 3913

voracious

Latin 'vorare', to devour.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Greece
Replies: 1
Views: 3786

Greece

As I have observed before, when asked questions of this sort, you need a gazeteer or encyclopedia.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: abnormal
Replies: 1
Views: 2644

abnormal

Deviating from the ordinary rule or type; contrary to rule or system; irregular, unusual, aberrant.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: dicey
Replies: 1
Views: 2213

dicey

Unsurprisingly it comes from the word dice, and the image is of the unpredictability of throwing dice.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: ground hog's day
Replies: 1
Views: 1143

ground hog's day

Other than noting the title of movie, I cannot help.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: ascii
Replies: 1
Views: 1146

ascii

ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It was laid down in 1963 and has nothing whatsover to do with shadows.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Stop
Replies: 1
Views: 1012

Stop

Stop is a Teutonic rendition of Latin stuppare, to stop up, to stuff with tow or oakum. This 'blocking up' image precedes that of stopping still or stopping someone from doing something, both of which can be seen as figurative uses of the original.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: easel
Replies: 1
Views: 1272

easel

It does indeed come from Dutch 'ezel', meaning an ass. The image is of its bearing the weight of the canvas. 'Horse' is found in similar uses, indicating a frame or structure on which something is mounted or supported.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: yo-yo
Replies: 1
Views: 1083

yo-yo

The yo-yo seems to come from a Philliping language, a fact underpinned by the apparent origin of the toy in that area. Its first use comes in 1915, in the context of a US company taking out a patent on this 'Filipino toy'.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Here's Mud In Your Eye
Replies: 1
Views: 1191

Here's Mud In Your Eye

The original use of the phrase is in World War I; thus it may be that the reference, for which I have no hard and fast etymology, may refer to the mud of the trenches.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: poppycock
Replies: 1
Views: 1403

poppycock

Dutch 'pappekak', soft faeces.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: The word ok
Replies: 1
Views: 1227

The word ok

Please check the Find a Query database
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: God's speed
Replies: 1
Views: 1335

God's speed

The original use of the phrase, c. 1470, was as an abbreviation of the phrase 'God speed you', i.e. to express a wish for the success of one who is setting out on some journey or enterprise.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: month
Replies: 1
Views: 1125

month

Month has the ame Tuetonic root as does moon, i.e. 'maenon', moon. The more immediate root lies in Anglo-Saxon 'monath', a month.