Search found 7786 matches

by Erik_Kowal
Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:31 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: six degrees of separation
Replies: 5
Views: 2138

six degrees of separation

The fact that the experiment conducted by Watts using email instead of postal mail indicated that an average of five intermediaries was required to connect any two people in 2001 strongly suggests to me that Karinthy and Milgram must have been quite wrong at the time that they hypothesised just six ...
by Erik_Kowal
Sun Apr 10, 2005 7:41 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: parsing 'by'
Replies: 8
Views: 2275

parsing 'by'

It is a preposition.
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Apr 09, 2005 10:17 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: big grass (for tall grass)?
Replies: 7
Views: 3052

big grass (for tall grass)?

I recall the shag grass of the '70s. How much fun we had in it depended on the kind of company we were keeping.
by Erik_Kowal
Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:23 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Brussels sprouts
Replies: 7
Views: 1696

Brussels sprouts

In John Bull's quote above, I assume that 'sowre crud' is what we today would call 'sauerkraut', literally 'sour cabbage' or 'sour greens' in German. In this connection my Websters New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (WNUUD) states that 'crud' began life as a Middle English word between 1325-1375, a...
by Erik_Kowal
Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:29 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: whet one's whistle
Replies: 12
Views: 3406

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: 29846

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: 4126

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: 8986

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: 29846

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: 2565

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: 12156

"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: 14078

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: 1696

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: 1862

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: 6956

smart alec

Could one describe a no-it-all as a habitual naysayer?