Tag: what in the word
There are 6 posts.
In the last article for our ‘What in the Word?!’ series, we saw how Middle English inserted an unetymological ‘n’ into the words harbinger, messenger, passenger, porringer, and wharfinger. Well, we didn’t fully pick over that list, as it were, for we left out at least one little, foraging fellow: scavenger. Contrary to our lexical […]more
The machinery of modern politics is complex. Consider just the role of the humble advance agent, someone who visits a location ahead of the arrival of an important visitor – especially a politician, say, for a campaign rally to sort out all the optics and stagecraft – to make sure all arrangements are sorted. But […]more
In the last installment of What in the Word?!, we saw how the military tank began as a secret British codeword for the armored vehicle during World War I. This edition, let’s continue with the vehicles-of-the-Great-War theme and dig deep into blimp. Sky-high etymologies First employed for convoy and patrol in World War I, a […]more
One hundred years ago, Flanders was covered in blood – and mud. At the Battle of Passchendaele (31 July – 6 November, 1917), Allies slogged through a grueling three months and hundreds of thousands of casualties to win control of the area around Ypres, Belgium. Heavy summer rains turned the battlefield into muddy sloughs so […]more
Tall. It’s a simple enough word, isn’t it? ‘High of stature’, ‘above average height’. ‘Not short’. Well, if we look to the history of this little word, we’ll find that that latter definition certainly applies. The long and short of tall Like handsome, which kicked off this series, tall is a word that really grew […]more
Handsome: it can mean ‘good-looking’, as we see in those yearly lists where George Clooney and Brad Pitt always seem to be vying for the top spot. It can also mean ‘substantial’, typically said of money or margins – though sometimes of cats, like Mr Handsome, a 31-pound (14-kg) stray cat recently adopted in North […]more