Search found 3769 matches

by Ken Greenwald
Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:30 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: fight fire with fire
Replies: 2
Views: 1824

fight fire with fire

FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE means to argue or fight with an opponent using his tactics or ground rules, combat an evil or negative circumstance by reacting in kind. “When the opposition began to play dirty, we decided to fight fire with fire.” The proverb has been traced to Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’ (160...
by Ken Greenwald
Sat Jan 29, 2005 6:30 pm
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: pangrams
Replies: 9
Views: 5758

pangrams

Wiz, I plan on presenting this question to the IHCOA (International High Court of Pangram Adjudication) for a hearing. I foresee several possible scenarios: 1) They decide against, invoking the International Rules of Scrabble, and that’s that. 2) They decide against, but create a new category which ...
by Ken Greenwald
Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:35 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: absumo contra exoculo
Replies: 6
Views: 4685

absumo contra exoculo

I just resurrected this one from the archives and I was curious if any Latin scholars out their actually know what it means, if anything. I’ve had a few attempts at trying to translate Latin from its component words and failed miserably (e.g. see posting ‘Velut inter ignis luna minor’ at http://www....
by Ken Greenwald
Sat Jan 29, 2005 3:20 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: pangrams
Replies: 9
Views: 5758

pangrams

Mel, I have seen several pangrams that use each letter of the alphabet just once. But yours is the best one yet. The others use fairly obscure words and are hard to understand (see example below). Foxy nymphs grab quick-lived waltz. (29 letters) How quickly daft jumping zebras vex. (30 letters) The ...
by Ken Greenwald
Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:36 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: boob
Replies: 4
Views: 4268

boob

To firm things up a bit (<:), the first ‘appearance’ of BOOBS, in print that is - well perhaps not in photographic print - according to the Oxford Dictionary of Slang , was in 1929. However, neither they nor the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) provide the 1929 quote to back this up. The Random House...
by Ken Greenwald
Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:29 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Aplomado/Aplamado
Replies: 4
Views: 2942

Aplomado/Aplamado

Peter and Russ, I was unable to find the word ‘aplomado’ in any English dictionaries that I checked. Google translates it as ‘plumbed,’ by which I assume they mean make vertical. However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department claims that ‘aplomado,’ which is the correct spelling, means ‘steel-gray...
by Ken Greenwald
Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:21 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: patteran / patrin
Replies: 4
Views: 3415

patteran / patrin

John, I’ve never seen the word, and I do like it, but my first impression was ‘how obscure can you get’ and I ain’t surprised that you can’t find it with OneLook.com. However, with ~7000 Google hits between it and its alternate spelling ‘patrin,’ I have to agree that it would seem that it might have...
by Ken Greenwald
Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:42 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: top it the knob
Replies: 4
Views: 6679

top it the knob

I found this anonymous explanation on a site dedicated to nautical terminology http://www.leicesterandleicestershire.com/Nautical_Words_Page5.htm . And although it is not gospel, after all our above stumblings around, this sounds far more convincing than anything we came up with. ___________________...
by Ken Greenwald
Wed Jan 26, 2005 6:39 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: holy Scamander
Replies: 2
Views: 2088

holy Scamander

HOLY SCAMANDER is another in the list of ‘holies,’ mild oaths, which includes such favorites as ‘holy mackerel,’ ‘holy smokes,’ etc. (see posting ‘holy mackerel and other holies’). However, this one is pretty obscure and I have never heard it before. It did produce a meager 35 Google hits, one of wh...
by Ken Greenwald
Wed Jan 26, 2005 12:21 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: fuzz = policeman
Replies: 14
Views: 5314

fuzz = policeman

Robert’s above explanation is wrong and is a perfect example of what happens when amateurs guess answers, stating them as fact without saying that they are guessing, and with absolutely no proof that what they say is true, which, of course they can’t provide, because it isn’t true. Next, some naïve ...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 25, 2005 10:09 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: puny
Replies: 11
Views: 8465

puny

Wiz, It’s just my usual good old cheerful self, and Mel does ask interesting questions and makes interesting comments, unlike some others I know. ------- Only kidding. (&lt)

Ken - January 25, 2005
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:48 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: umpteen
Replies: 7
Views: 2709

umpteen

UMPTEEN/UMTEEN first appeared in 1918 as an indefinite (large) number – lots. “She has umpteen pairs of shoes.” UMPTY-UMP is also often used as a synonym for ‘umpteen.’ One source said that 'umpteen' was a humorous coinage based on the word ‘umpty,’ a fanciful rendering in military slang of the Mors...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:59 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: mow, as in to eat quickly
Replies: 1
Views: 4416

mow, as in to eat quickly

RD, MOW was a 1980s teen and college expression which is still in use, meaning to eat heartily, to eat until one might explode, to gorge oneself. “I mowed last night at the barbeque.” Here’s my theory on its derivation and the two pronunciations. I can’t say which pronunciation came first, but which...
by Ken Greenwald
Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:18 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: man of the cloth
Replies: 2
Views: 2613

man of the cloth

Sharlene, ‘Man of the cloth’ for a clergyman first appeared in print in the 17th century. However, it all began in the 12th century with one’s wearing apparel being called ‘cloth.’ By 1300 ‘cloth’ also meant a single garment such as a robe or coat. By 1630 it had come to mean “the distinctive clothi...
by Ken Greenwald
Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:41 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: puny
Replies: 11
Views: 8465

puny

Mel, Welcome back. Don’t know much French, so can’t help you there, but very glad to see your return. It’s been so long I thought that perhaps you were no longer with us, or with anybody – if you know what I mean. Well, things have improved a whole bunch since you left and we no longer have to deal ...