Search found 57 matches

by Andrew Dalby
Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:31 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: powwow
Replies: 34
Views: 15800

powwow

Thanks, Spiritus, for that information on the possible true origins of 'Yucatan'.

If pow-wow were politically incorrect, would rendezvous also be politically incorrect?
by Andrew Dalby
Sat Feb 18, 2006 1:24 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Let them eat cake
Replies: 21
Views: 10297

Let them eat cake

Maybe it's worth adding that Latin had a third-person imperative too: i 'go!', ite 'go!' (plural), ito 'let him go, he must go, he is to go'. As Haro rightly says, a third person imperative can't be translated literally into English, and that's why Erik says (from the point of view of English) 'you ...
by Andrew Dalby
Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:14 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: cut a check (or a cheque)
Replies: 8
Views: 8671

cut a check (or a cheque)

I am interested in the phrase "to cut a check." Can anyone help? Why "cut" a check? It's a surprising expression to an Englishman (or, at least, to me). The first time a US business proposed to 'cut me a check' I wanted to say that I needed the cheque whole, not in pieces. In Britain (so far as I k...
by Andrew Dalby
Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:14 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: tyrant
Replies: 6
Views: 4280

tyrant

My sources grind to a halt in Asia Minor too. That doesn't mean much, though, since large parts of the coast of Asia Minor were settled by Greeks too. Both 'tyrant' and 'Tyrannosaurus' come from Greek 'týrannos' indeed. However, a týrannos in Ancient Greece was not just a tyrant in the modern sense...
by Andrew Dalby
Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:07 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: liquorice
Replies: 30
Views: 21121

liquorice

And where did one find the best licorice 2000 years ago? If anyone wants to know that, just glance at my daily Latin quotation for 9th February (with handy translation attached) here. In modern terms, the places mentioned are in northern and southern Turkey. http://perso.wanadoo.fr/dalby/ephemeris/a...
by Andrew Dalby
Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:00 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: powwow
Replies: 34
Views: 15800

powwow

Legend has it that when the white man first came to Australia he asked an Aboriginal the name for the funny looking creature bounding in the distance. Apparently the Aborigine replied "Kangaroo" which in the Aborigine language means "I don't understand you". Can any resident expert confirm or deny ...
by Andrew Dalby
Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:56 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: sadomasochism
Replies: 13
Views: 5533

sadomasochism

Wizard of Oz wrote: .. haro does it again .. see russ I knew haro would sort us out if it had a Germanic bent in there anywhere ..

WoZ
Bent is the mot juste in this case
by Andrew Dalby
Tue Feb 07, 2006 8:52 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Corpse
Replies: 6
Views: 3075

Corpse

haro wrote:
Why the English language adopted only the dead aspect in 'corpse' is beyond me, though.
Curiously, Haro, one might say the same thing happens with boeuf > beef and mouton > mutton. In English, those items are dead; in French they are still breathing.
by Andrew Dalby
Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:50 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Americanisms
Replies: 58
Views: 31058

Americanisms

andrew : surely scots are people who are born in scotland, and the language they speak is English,apart from the very few who know some celtic Sorry I didn't answer, I've been away. You may say that, yes, but I'm certainly not the only person who says that the Germanic language spoken in Scotland h...
by Andrew Dalby
Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:44 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: He ~ed her
Replies: 27
Views: 12477

He ~ed her

Note: Under the heading MAKE , in his Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English , Eric Partridge uses the interesting intransitive verb COÏT : “Hence to COÏT with (a girl).” “SLIP (HER) A LENGTH [[penis]]: To COÏT with a woman.” He is using COÏT as the verb form of the act of ‘coitus,’ but no ...
by Andrew Dalby
Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:37 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: coupe and saloon / American vs. British automotive-related terms
Replies: 34
Views: 18506

coupe and saloon / American vs. British automotive-related t

As far as I know you are right in regarding 'traffic circle' as being an American expression. However, in Britain, roundabouts can qualmlessly be referred to as such regardless of whether they are situated in a city or the sticks. But by local people in Cambridge (and maybe elsewhere for all I know...
by Andrew Dalby
Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:24 pm
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Americanisms
Replies: 58
Views: 31058

Americanisms

<blockquote id="quote" class="ffs">quote:<hr height="1" noshade="noshade" id="quote" />The issue of what to call US English, Australian English, British English, Scottish English etc. (dialect? variety? dialect group? ...) is also problematic. The difficulty lies in the fact that there are pretty w...
by Andrew Dalby
Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:42 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: metric
Replies: 7
Views: 4940

metric

There seems to be a similar set of conditions governing bus (and train) frequencies: 1) You will still be waiting at the same bus-stop after 40 minutes. 2) During this time, 5 buses will have passed in the opposite direction. 3) It will take you longer than if you had walked. You forgot (4) If you ...
by Andrew Dalby
Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:23 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: doggie / doggy bag
Replies: 7
Views: 4428

doggie / doggy bag

My impression, reinforced by my latest visit to New York, is that all US restaurants serve more than one can eat, or more than a mere European can eat (though I also seem to think portions are even larger in Texas than in NY). I first observed this when working as a busboy in a restaurant in Colorad...
by Andrew Dalby
Wed Dec 21, 2005 4:41 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: cracker
Replies: 11
Views: 6760

cracker

As for lilyjo's answer, I don't know anyone who would routinely abuse property as valuable as slaves. Well, since you use the property analogy, let's admit there are some people who treat their cars very well, wash and polish them every weekend, and never test the tyres, gearbox, brakes to near-des...