Home » Reference & Education » Archive for the ‘Language’ Category

Other Subcategories of the "Reference & Education" Category:

Sort by:

What does “fort” in “fortnight” mean?

May 31, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Fortnight is a contraction of fourteen nights. The latter phrase, in the sense of a period of two weeks, was used in England as early as 1000 A.D., when it was used in a translation of the laws of Ine, who was King of the West Saxons in the seventh century. Fortnight has been gradually falling into disuse, …

Comments Off on What does “fort” in “fortnight” mean? Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

May 25 – What is a creole?

May 25, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Creole is used in so many different senses that it is hard to define. In fact the term has been so distorted by usage that it is not safe to employ it except with extreme care. In the United States creole is generally applied to the white descendants of French and Spanish settlers of Louisiana and other Gulf …

Comments Off on May 25 – What is a creole? Tags: , , , , , ,

Which is correct, “spic and span” or “spick and span”?

May 19, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Spick and span is the correct spelling of this common phrase. It is often but erroneously written spic and span, owing apparently to a mistaken notion of its derivation. The original phrase was span-new, which, although little used now, means quite or perfectly new, and which is derived from Old Norse spann (“chip”), and nyr …

Comments Off on Which is correct, “spic and span” or “spick and span”? Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Which is correct, “roach” or “cockroach”?

May 13, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

The original name for this insect pest is cockroach. Roach is merely a curtailed form of cockroach. This word is not a compound of cock and roach, as many erroneously suppose. If it were, it would be correct to speak of “henroaches” as well as cockroaches. But the word is a corrupted form of Spanish …

Comments Off on Which is correct, “roach” or “cockroach”? Tags: , ,

How did “fan” originate?

May 9, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Fan, in the sense of an enthusiast over baseball, football, radio or any other sport, amusement, entertainment or avocation, is modern and is believed to be a contraction of fanatic. The theory, often advanced by popular writers, that fan in this sense is derived from the verb to fan, signifying to blow upon, to stimulate …

What is a “shivaree”?

May 8, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Charivari, in the sense of a mock serenade of a newly married couple, is popularly spelled and pronounced shivaree in the United States. It is a French term and is correctly spelled charivari and pronounced sha-ree­va-ree in English. Some authorities suppose the word was of onomatopoeic or imitative origin and was suggested by the sound …

How did “booze” originate?

May 7, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Booze is not a word of recent coinage, as commonly supposed. It is an example of a good word that degenerated into slang. In varying forms the term has been part of the English language at least since the fourteenth century. It occurs variously as booze, bouze, bouse and bowse. Apparently it was derived from Middle …

How did “cutting a dido” originate?

May 4, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

This phrase means to play the mischief, to cut up, to cut capers. In some sections of the United States dance a dido is used instead of cut a dido. Dido as applied to a caper, trick, antic or extravagant action is an Americanism of unknown origin, having thus far baffled all etymological research. Efforts …

What is meant by Robin Hood’s barn?

May 2, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

Robin Hood’s barn is the great out-of-doors and alludes to the fact that Robin Hood, the legendary English outlaw and ballad hero, stabled his horses under the canopy of the blue sky. To go around Robin Hood’s barn is an old phrase meaning to attain one’s end or the desired result by a round about …

Why is Latin America so called?

April 28, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Language

The countries in the New World to the south of the United States are called Latin America because the prevailing languages are of Latin origin. France, Spain, Italy and Portugal are called Latin countries from the fact that their languages were influenced more by Latin than were the languages of other countries. For the same …

Comments Off on Why is Latin America so called? Tags: , , ,