Search found 7809 matches

by Erik_Kowal
Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:33 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: fanny
Replies: 4
Views: 2957

fanny

The Cassell Dictionary of Slang states 'etymology unknown' for this word, although it does comment that "Eric Partridge suggests a link to Fanny Hill, the heroine of John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1749)." As a name, Fanny is a diminutive of Frances, whose meaning is 'Frankish, French...
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:14 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: parsing 'by'
Replies: 8
Views: 2302

parsing 'by'

You thought it would fade with the parsage of time?
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:25 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: bejesus
Replies: 8
Views: 3160

bejesus

Yes, it's that too, but that is a separate (though not entirely unrelated) sense of the word.
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Apr 12, 2005 5:23 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: parsing 'by'
Replies: 8
Views: 2302

parsing 'by'

I have an uncle with some experience of by-parse operations.
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:54 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: big grass (for tall grass)?
Replies: 7
Views: 3077

big grass (for tall grass)?

Er... WoZ, the banana is a herb, not a grass, and belongs to a family of its own (Musaceae) that is different from the grasses (Graminaceae).
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:42 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: bejesus
Replies: 8
Views: 3160

bejesus

I don't think there's any mystery about the origin of this expression, Robert. As Ken has already stated, 'bejabbers', 'bejebees' and 'bejesus' all derive from 'By Jesus!' and are what is known as 'minced [i.e. mealy-mouthed or euphemised] oaths'. These arose at a time when many people regarded it a...
by Erik_Kowal
Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:29 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: dystopic
Replies: 4
Views: 4438

dystopic

My Chambers 20th C Dictionary gives 'dystopian' as the adjectival form of 'dystopia' (which it defines as 'a place thought of as the opposite to Utopia, i.e. where everything is as bad as possible'). My Websters New Universal Unabridged also has 'dystopian'. So it appears that Whitehead used the med...
by Erik_Kowal
Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:20 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: letting her hair down
Replies: 15
Views: 30272

letting her hair down

Ken,

Many, many thanks for taking the trouble to demonstrate both your methodology and your sources in such detail. Your information will be immensely helpful on every level to those wishing to undertake similar research.

Thanks once again!
by Erik_Kowal
Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:31 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: six degrees of separation
Replies: 5
Views: 2154

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: 2302

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: 3077

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: 1715

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: 3517

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: 30272

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: 4167

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.