Search found 2528 matches

by Jonathon Green
Tue Feb 09, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Piss
Replies: 1
Views: 7214

Piss

While the major terms for excreta concern themselves with the function of actually voiding waste matter from the body, that for urine, for all it that has equally venerable roots, is simply onomatopoeic. 'Piss', with its origins in Old French and Middle English, entered the modern language around 12...
by Jonathon Green
Tue Feb 09, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: garden
Replies: 1
Views: 6910

garden

It comes from a variety of words, e.g. Old French or Old Swedish 'gard', Latin 'gardum,' and the like, all of which originally meant enclosure. More than that I cannot offer, and suggest you find a suitable history.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Machine
Replies: 1
Views: 9947

Machine

Greek 'meichanei', itself rooted in 'meichos', a contrivance.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: abnormal
Replies: 1
Views: 4022

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: 3517

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: 2459

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: 2450

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: 2231

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: 2632

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: 2297

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: The word ok
Replies: 1
Views: 2464

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: 2631

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: son of a gun
Replies: 1
Views: 2720

son of a gun

This sounds fun, but like so much popular etymology should be taken with a whole mine full of salt. It is simply a euphemism, if such a thing is actually necessary, for 'sonofabitch'.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: Can of worms
Replies: 1
Views: 2213

Can of worms

I assume that the phrase is very much what it says: the image of a can of writhing, slippery, unpleasant worms.
by Jonathon Green
Sat Feb 06, 1999 8:00 am
Forum: Ask the Wordwizard Archive
Topic: month
Replies: 1
Views: 2303

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.