Search found 8012 matches

by Erik_Kowal
Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:21 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Mother of All Etymologies
Replies: 33
Views: 11258

Mother of All Etymologies

Yes, after he had beatled off to practise in a cavern.
by Erik_Kowal
Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:56 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Mother of All Etymologies
Replies: 33
Views: 11258

Mother of All Etymologies

Good job you didn't call it Gringlish, Hans Joerg -- as everyone knows, that's the English spoken by gringos.
by Erik_Kowal
Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:51 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: flaunt vs. flout
Replies: 12
Views: 4514

flaunt vs. flout

Good question! If the bat played a flute, it would feature in Die Flötistenmaus.
by Erik_Kowal
Sat Apr 16, 2005 5:45 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: flaunt vs. flout
Replies: 12
Views: 4514

flaunt vs. flout

Bob, I feel you are overlooking that wealthy flute-player James Galway who flauts his instrumental prowess.
by Erik_Kowal
Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:59 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: pocketbook / purse / handbag
Replies: 10
Views: 3475

pocketbook / purse / handbag

Bob, Mary Janes are a kind of closed-toed, round-nosed sandal that schoolgirls in pre-sneaker days used to wear until they reached pre-pubescence. It is typical for dolls that are marketed to younger children to be initially wearing Mary Janes. Now, as for spectator pumps, I have never seen those. N...
by Erik_Kowal
Wed Apr 13, 2005 4:20 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: three on a match
Replies: 20
Views: 5534

three on a match

There is one aspect of this that I find puzzling. If a sniper could target you by the match you used for lighting your cigarette, he must surely also have been able to track your glowing cigarette end?

This seems to me to be yet another demonstration -- if any were needed -- that smoking kills.
by Erik_Kowal
Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:20 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: suicide blonde
Replies: 3
Views: 2582

suicide blonde

Does she then release a self-bleached whale?
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Apr 12, 2005 6:31 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Elegaic, Word or Not?
Replies: 22
Views: 13393

Elegaic, Word or Not?

Your problem is down to a simple but common spelling error; the word is 'elegiac', not 'elegaic'.
by Erik_Kowal
Tue Apr 12, 2005 4:33 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: fanny
Replies: 4
Views: 3315

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: 2680

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: 3705

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: 2680

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: 3483

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: 3705

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: 5029

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...