Search found 82 matches

by John Barton
Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:40 am
Forum: Miscellaneous
Topic: nightcap and nightshirt tatters [tappers -- Forum Mod.]
Replies: 4
Views: 6124

nightcap and nightshirt tatters [tappers -- Forum Mod.]

Looking for origin of a quote; I can only find one (mispelt) mention on searches: "With his nightcap and his night-shirt tatters, he botches up the loopholes in the structure of the world". Anyone know who first used this, and to whom they referred? I seem to think it was some legedary or folk-lore ...
by John Barton
Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:09 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: stet
Replies: 1
Views: 1291

stet

Well-known as Latin "let it stand", " 'stet' seems to be the present subjunctive of the verb 'sto, stare, steti, statum' = 'to stand, to remain standing'". The origin of course of hundreds or thousands of English words - State, Status, Stately, Statistics, Statue, Stature,and the suffix in words suc...
by John Barton
Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:56 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: dux
Replies: 5
Views: 2333

dux

Does anyone know the origin of the phrase "duc ad me"? Which sounds like bad latin, but apparently means "come to me".It occurs in Edward Tylor's "Primitive Culture" in a discussion of the different words used for calling animals (e.g. "dilly, dilly", for ducks, as a quote of a poem by Thomas Hood (...
by John Barton
Sun May 07, 2006 2:46 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: horse hands
Replies: 18
Views: 5939

horse hands

Horses are measured in hands, defined as exactly four inches. Not that inches are all that exact, since in July 1959 the two kinds -US and UK - were slightly changed into a new third one of exactly 2.54 cm. Now I define a 'hand' as the same as 'palm', the width of the palm. For me about 3 1/4 inches...
by John Barton
Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:55 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: pornography
Replies: 4
Views: 2595

pornography

But if your dictionary says it means 'obscene', throw it out. Literally, it means 'a writing about prostitutes'. So a police list of names of prostitutes would be pornography, but nothing indecent would be unless it mentioned prostitutes.
by John Barton
Sun May 15, 2005 9:19 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Belfry
Replies: 1
Views: 1701

Belfry

Bats would find little shelter in a belfry, since it's open to the weather. Though the term has been used for a bell-tower since at least 1440. A belfry being a usually movable wooden tower used for besieging fortifications. It seems uncertain when the confusion arose; 'belfry' being from the Old Fr...
by John Barton
Sun May 15, 2005 9:02 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: sluggish
Replies: 5
Views: 2718

sluggish

Is there an adjective from 'slug' (the animal, not the sloth)? 'Slug-like',perhaps. There being no connection whatever between 'slug' and 'sluggish', which don't even come from the same language? i.e., 'slggish' can be used to mean slow or tardy, but not 'like a slug'.
by John Barton
Sat May 07, 2005 8:10 am
Forum: Usage and Writing
Topic: Churchill, the punctilious wordsmith
Replies: 1
Views: 6483

Churchill, the punctilious wordsmith

Yes, Bill; I agree entirely, and can only think of a single occasion when Winston was not 'a punctilious wordsmith'; and he had the disadvantage of speaking French. It is remarkable that 'he was sent to school at seven and hated it from the moment he arrived there. He was condidered a backward child...
by John Barton
Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:02 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Hollick
Replies: 5
Views: 2186

Hollick

Thanks Hans; nice to find wheat amongst the chaff[ing].
by John Barton
Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:19 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Hollick
Replies: 5
Views: 2186

Hollick

I'd be grateful for any reference to this word for a storm-sail (the half-forecourse)used by William Strachey 1n his 1610 description of the 1609 wreck of the "Sea adventure"; first published in Purchas 'Pilgrimage'1625, part 4, book 9, ch.6:- >Our sailes wound up lay without their use, and if at an...
by John Barton
Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:30 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: millihelen
Replies: 7
Views: 2493

millihelen

Not a jargon word accepted as real, but a facetious one which might well be adopted seriously? A standard measurement of female facial beauty - that amount of charm sufficient to launch a single ship (or arouse one sailor), in comparison with Helen of Troy, the 'face that launched a thousand ships'.
by John Barton
Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:25 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: cellulite
Replies: 4
Views: 5663

cellulite

Is this a real word? It's not in my Dorland's Medical Dictionary, which lists some 250,000 medical words. Nor in any dictionary I've so far found. Dorland gives 'cellular, cellule, cellulin, cellulitis, cellulose, cellulous' and at least ten similar words. Cellulite seems to be an invention of an im...
by John Barton
Mon Apr 04, 2005 9:28 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: booyakasha
Replies: 15
Views: 17707

booyakasha

I think Freddie Mercury stole that from George Bernard Shaw, who was obviously a boob-fancier: "It's love that makes the world go round, but marriage turns it /them flat". According to a stock market flash, Playtex is expanding.
by John Barton
Sun Apr 03, 2005 10:03 pm
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: booyakasha
Replies: 15
Views: 17707

booyakasha

Isn't Erik confusing callipygean with megapygean? Big is not necessarily better, as Felicity Kendall ('rear of the year')
demonstrated.
by John Barton
Sun Apr 03, 2005 5:13 am
Forum: Word Origins and Meanings
Topic: Brussels sprouts
Replies: 7
Views: 3043

Brussels sprouts

It seems that about a quarter of the world thinks the capital of Belgium is Brussel. A Google search gives 320,000 hits for 'Brussels sprouts' and 115,000 for the imaginary 'Brussel sprouts'. For New Zealand, 583 'Brussels' and 1010 'Brussel'. So 3 out of 4 kiwis can't spell it. The majority of supe...