Search found 1973 matches

by Shelley
Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:03 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: news butcher
Replies: 7
Views: 5139

news butcher

That's really interesting, Dale! I wonder what sort of scientific experiments Edison conducted on the train while butchering news and candy? That would be for another website, of course. Meanwhile, I still wonder how the term butcher applies to this position on a train. Unless "butcher" just means s...
by Shelley
Sat Jul 02, 2005 3:50 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Origin of the word "wife"
Replies: 10
Views: 11612

Origin of the word "wife"

. . . but referring to an unmarried female of university age as a "girl" would not. Phil White -- ok, I'll bite: It would sound VERY strange to most women, ever since the early 1970's. We’ve come a long way, baby, but it’s still a slippery slope. (I don’t know how young men react to being called "b...
by Shelley
Fri Jul 01, 2005 11:57 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: news butcher
Replies: 7
Views: 5139

news butcher

One last one from Agee: the family is on a train trip to the Smokey Mountains. The news butcher came through [the train car] and . . . Uncle Ted bought him a glass locomotive with . . . pieces of candy inside . . . -- James Agee, "A Death in the Family" I've heard of butchering a play, novel and the...
by Shelley
Fri Jul 01, 2005 10:49 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: meeching
Replies: 2
Views: 2434

meeching

Thanks, again, Ken. Actually, I think "stealth" fits pretty well in this context, although not precisely. It's awkward. But I think the aunt suspects Rufus is holding back his real enthusiasm and/or desires about the cap he wants.
by Shelley
Fri Jul 01, 2005 10:46 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: brass meaning nerve or rudeness
Replies: 1
Views: 1701

brass meaning nerve or rudeness

How did brass get to mean nerve or rudeness? "Brassed Off" -- is that a real term? (I saw a movie with the title once.)
by Shelley
Fri Jul 01, 2005 10:43 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: tommyrot
Replies: 1
Views: 2065

tommyrot

This means nonsense, from "tommy" for foolish or fool, and "rot" for nonsense. My question is why is foolish called "tommy"?
by Shelley
Wed Jun 29, 2005 8:32 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: Magic devices
Replies: 4
Views: 3604

Magic devices

Duh, what's wrong with appearing to be too slow to get it? Or, for that matter, actually being too slow?

Signed, Yertle the Turtle
by Shelley
Wed Jun 29, 2005 8:17 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: meeching
Replies: 2
Views: 2434

meeching

Another one from Agee -- means skulking or hiding. Origin? The novel, "A Death in the Family", contains several old fashioned words and phrases, but I hesitate to just list them . . . Well, maybe a few: tommyrot; brass (for nerve); Morris chair; frazzle; and news butcher. Even if the meaning is know...
by Shelley
Wed Jun 29, 2005 7:32 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Here's mud in your eye!
Replies: 22
Views: 38176

Here's mud in your eye!

In response to your gentle admonition, Ken: you have the site's (and my) best interests in mind, and I appreciate the time you took to tell me off -- uh, instruct me. Y'know, when posting the racing reference I knew I was straying. I was at the office, and since I didn't have my books with me I trie...
by Shelley
Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:10 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: wheemed
Replies: 9
Views: 7519

wheemed

Thanks all, and especially Ken. The word felt like "smoothed" or "worked over" to me. Your answer has made my day!
by Shelley
Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:25 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: wheemed
Replies: 9
Views: 7519

wheemed

Andrew glanced quickly down upon a horned, bruised anvil; and laid his hand flat against the cold, wheemed iron; . . . – "A Death in the Family", James Agee. So far, I don’t find WHEEMED in the dictionary. As a poet, Agee was licensed to make up new words: the sound of wheemed might suggest a defin...
by Shelley
Thu Jun 23, 2005 2:42 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Here's mud in your eye!
Replies: 22
Views: 38176

Here's mud in your eye!

He declared . . . the latter British expression “Mud in your eyes” derived from World War II when bombs exploded, soldiers in trenches that were just temporarily blinded by receiving mud in their eyes were very thankful to be alive. Thus when the British expression is used, it wishes long life, and...
by Shelley
Wed Jun 22, 2005 10:13 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: cop to
Replies: 4
Views: 4050

cop to

Copping out or copping to means you're "cooperating with the cops", do ya' think? That would be my best made-up origin (although I promised I wouldn't).
Welcome back, Ken Greenwald -- it's nice to see you!
by Shelley
Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:44 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Beam me up Scottie!
Replies: 17
Views: 6369

Beam me up Scottie!

You're right, pingpong fa -- uh, Frank, many Americans probably don't realize that Frankenstein is the mad doctor. I believe the original (1930's?) movie had it right, though: Boris Karloff played "The Monster" (I think that's what it says in the credits). It might be a stretch, but since the doctor...
by Shelley
Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:17 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: couch potato
Replies: 5
Views: 4776

couch potato

Thanks, Erik Kowal, for the latest news. It looks like the growers' demand will not be met this time. I've written it hundreds of times, and never noticed the plural of potato is spelled "potatoes" with an 'e'. I suppose that's to keep the pronounciation consistent with a long 'o' sound. Otherwise, ...