Tag: word origin
There are 8 posts.
We mere, mortal speakers of that great hotchpotch, the English language, bring our noblest intentions to bear on this old-fashioned, hifalutin-sounding quoth. It’s just an antiquated way of saying ‘quote’, isn’t it? Not quite. Quoth looks like the word ‘quote’, and because we mainly see it in older texts, we might suppose that the final […]more
This is the first of a two-part series on Halloween by OED Consultant Editor Henry Hitchings. You can read the article in full, here. Halloween is an increasingly contentious occasion. Devotees claim that celebrating it is liberating and romantic – an opportunity to dress up and make merry. Yet critics complain that the festival is […]more
Bug has various common uses, and none of them are particularly pleasant. Whether you’ve come down with a bug, found a bug on your phone, worried about the Millennium bug, or been bitten by a bug, you’re unlikely to welcome the bug into your life. But how did the word come to mean such disparate […]more
Europe According to Greek mythology, Europe was the daughter of Agenor and Tilefasa. She was a princess living in Phoenicia (modern day Lebanon) with her three sisters Asia, Libya, and Thrace. One day she was playing on the seaside when she saw a beautiful white bull. She was mesmerized by his beauty so she approached […]more
Etymologically, chemical elements are in a class of their own. Unlike much of the English language, the names of elements tend to have been chosen by the researchers who first discovered them rather than developing organically over time. There are no rules as to how these names are decided, but the history of chemistry reveals […]more
Hollywood doesn’t pay much attention to lexicographers (Billy Wilder’s 1941 comedy Ball of Fire is the notable exception), but lexicographers are duty-bound to make a careful study of the world of film. The Oxford English Dictionary regularly studies screenplays as part of its research programme, and cites nearly 200 examples from film scripts. During the […]more