Search found 7692 matches

by Erik_Kowal
Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:29 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: whet one's whistle
Replies: 12
Views: 3190

whet one's whistle

Steve, where did that snippet come from?
by Erik_Kowal
Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:43 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: letting her hair down
Replies: 15
Views: 28714

letting her hair down

Thanks, Ken -- that's most kind of you.
by Erik_Kowal
Wed Apr 06, 2005 6:52 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Folsom / Native American vs. Indian
Replies: 15
Views: 3978

Folsom / Native American vs. Indian

Ross, is your paper viewable online anywhere? One of the etymologist's perennial bugbears is the emergence of spurious word provenances, so it would be fascinating to gain an insight into how your culture has prevented similar processes from diluting and distorting the understanding of its past.
by Erik_Kowal
Wed Apr 06, 2005 7:11 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: pikey
Replies: 14
Views: 8764

pikey

I have heard this expression used by a number of people in the Berkshire/Oxfordshire area of England more or less until the present day, but only in vulgar reference to gypsies. So it certainly did not lapse in 1955 or even the early 1960s, as was suggested by some sources above.
by Erik_Kowal
Wed Apr 06, 2005 6:57 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: letting her hair down
Replies: 15
Views: 28714

letting her hair down

Ken, like many of us who visit Wordwizard, I am as impressed as Ashley is by the customary thoroughness of your research, so my interest was aroused by your brief outline of your modus operandi . I doubt I am the only person who would like to be able to follow the train of one of your etymological i...
by Erik_Kowal
Mon Apr 04, 2005 6:17 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: thoughts-inner dialog
Replies: 5
Views: 2317

thoughts-inner dialog

Why not use the same quotation marks that you would use for dialogue? For instance:

Jeremy looked up and down the station platform, but Oliver was nowhere to be seen. "Where on earth can he be hiding?" he wondered.
by Erik_Kowal
Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:14 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: "Last straw"/Clochandichter
Replies: 39
Views: 11743

"Last straw"/Clochandichter

Nor, I believe, do they drink through bagpipes.
by Erik_Kowal
Sun Apr 03, 2005 8:43 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: booyakasha
Replies: 15
Views: 13638

booyakasha

Ken, your tedious insistence on marshalling evidence for your conclusions is all very well, but I prefer to think the latter expression is a dyslexic corruption of 'booty shaker' -- in other words, a reference to a conspicuously full-bottomed and thus probably sexually desirable female.
by Erik_Kowal
Sun Apr 03, 2005 6:47 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Brussels sprouts
Replies: 7
Views: 1622

Brussels sprouts

I urge everyone to misspell 'mispelt' for legal purposes.
by Erik_Kowal
Sun Apr 03, 2005 4:17 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: doctor
Replies: 5
Views: 1754

doctor

'Doctaurus' is the name given either to someone who teaches bull, or who bullies his students. Or both.
by Erik_Kowal
Fri Apr 01, 2005 7:09 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: smart alec
Replies: 3
Views: 6721

smart alec

Could one describe a no-it-all as a habitual naysayer?
by Erik_Kowal
Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:22 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: "Last straw"/Clochandichter
Replies: 39
Views: 11743

"Last straw"/Clochandichter

This Dichter must be another of Mark Twain's chameleonic Schlags escaping by Zug.
by Erik_Kowal
Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:12 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: stab in the back
Replies: 1
Views: 1416

stab in the back

The quote you cite, “We gave him all the help we could give and he turned around and stabbed us in the back” also contains the verbal filler phrase 'turned around' that is characteristically used by anecdote-recounters to mark some sudden or unexpected crisis of interpersonal relations but whose lit...
by Erik_Kowal
Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:43 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: "Last straw"/Clochandichter
Replies: 39
Views: 11743

"Last straw"/Clochandichter

John, my Chambers Concise Scots Dictionary contains neither the headwords 'clochandichter' nor 'clochan'. Nor could I find 'dichter'. The headword 'dicht' (plus its variants 'dight', 'decht' etc.), the closest word I could find, is a verb with a number of specific connotations, most of which emphasi...
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:23 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: scotch (the verb)
Replies: 18
Views: 4283

scotch (the verb)

I miss having all those old half-pees in my pocket, the last of these being struck in 1983 and ceasing to be legal tender on 31 December 1984. For more information about the history of Britain's coinage, see the website of the Royal Mint ; see also the previous discussion on this website entitled Gu...