WOW #41

Bistro

I don’t like English words that aren’t really, wholly, completely accepted and widely used English words.  I know that the English Language appropriates words from other tongues, wholesale, but I don’t like words like tsuris, which is a seldom-used Yiddish/Hebrew word, meaning troubles, or woe.

I’m not pretentious enough to use the Word Of this Week, which is

BISTRO

but if I did, I’d have regarded it as an artsy-fartsy, café-au-lait sipping, croissant-munching, Left-Bank Parisian Frog French word which does not fall trippingly from the mouths of most Americans or Canadians…. until I did a little recent research.

It seems that bistro’s ancestor was a common-man, dock-walloper word that would have been familiar to any MAGA who supports Trump.  The Seine River that Paris sits on is large enough for small ships to navigate upstream, to unload their cargoes.

Once upon a history, France and Russia used to do a lot of trading.  Roustabout Russian sailors used to be common on Paris docks.  When they paused for a quick noon-time meal, they would go to the many nearby restaurants/cafes to eat.  Time and tide wait for no man, especially the tide.  They needed to eat quickly, and get back to finish the job.

The food establishments, used to the French, laggard, laissez-faire lifestyle, were in no hurry to prepare or serve food to them, so it became common for them to shout at the kitchen/waiter, “Bistro, Bistro”, a Russian word that means hurry, rush, get a move on!

I still prefer a Burger King to a Bistro – unless you’re treating, in which case, please contact me at once.  We could have a lovely discussion about international trade, and Russian sailors’ tattoos.  😉  😆

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WOW #39

Dictionary

The Word Of this Week,

KAHOOT

doesn’t exist, even though I found it in an A to Z Challenge.  There’s all too much of this sort of thing going on out there in Bloggerland, even among the better spoken written.

Despite filling the ‘K’ slot in her alphabet challenge, the word should be cahoot.  They’re very sociable little creatures that get lonely quite easily, so you almost always see two or more cahoots together, getting into mischief.

  1. US partnership; league (esp. in the phrases go in cahoots with, go cahoot )
  2. in cahoots in collusion

Word Origin and History for cahoots

1829, American English, of unknown origin; said to be perhaps from French cahute “cabin, hut” (12c.), but U.S. sources credit it to French cohorte (see cohort), a word said to have been in use in the U.S. South and West with a sense of “companions, confederates.”

I met a lady online that I wanted to get in cahoots with, so I sexted her a picture of my privates.  She said it must be a private; it wasn’t big enough to be a Corporal, much less a General.  Oh well, back to looking for odd/interesting words.  😆

’18 A To Z Challenge – Q

Challenge '18
letter-q

 

I recently found that I’m a

QUIDNUNC

Shabby Man

It’s okay.  I’ve been called worse.  A quidnunc is a nosy old man.  And here I thought that I was just an interested observer of the human condition.  I am fascinated by the most mundane of details about the people who I come into contact with – what their name means, and what ethnic background they come from.  Even if I ask you a question which you refuse to answer because you feel that it is too personal, I still learn something about you.

Actually, a quidnunc is:  noun

  1. a person eager to learn news and scandal; gossipmonger
    a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody.

Origin of quidnunc

First recorded in 1700–10, quidnunc is from the Latin word quid nunc – what now?

Up until about a century ago, the upper social crust liked to study Latin and Attic Greek, the Classical Languages, and show off their education by scattering Greek and Latin terms into their conversations.  That is largely gone now.  Rapidly advancing technology leaves very little spare time to learn dead languages.

Quidnunc is now a seldom-used, archaic term.  It originally applied to someone of any age, but matured to indicate only nosy older men.  Aside from this blog-post, you may never run into it again for the rest of your life.  If you do, it will almost certainly be applied to some old dude with suspenders, and his pants hiked up almost to his armpits, probably at Shoney’s at 4:00 PM, for the Early Bird Special.

Please stop back again soon.  I’d like to play a game of Twenty Questions.  😉

WOW #38

Dictionary

The obscure English Word Of the first Week of November is

 Turbary.

This word means the legal right to cut turf or peat from ground belonging to somebody else. It was important, upon a time, because peat was a specific and limited resource in certain regions; but who’d have ever imagined that the rights to cut it actually had its own specific term?

Only in English, the language of a million plus words and a history of mugging other languages for their vocabulary and then chasing them down a dark alley and riffling their pockets for even more.

I don’t think that anyone would want to come to my place and cut sod, but I wouldn’t mind if some nice person cut my lawn.

Poor antiquated ‘Turbary.’  A few people must still cut peat to use as fuel, but electricity and gas being piped to almost every home in Britain, has relegated it to the back of the top shelf of the Dictionary’s closet.  It is not alone there.  The writer of a recent post that I read was amazed by the existence of the word ‘defenestration,’ which means throwing something, or someone, out of a window.

“Was there really a lot of that going on, back in the Middle Ages, that they needed to create a word to describe it?”  Watch/rewatch the movie Braveheart, where Longshanks, the King, casually tosses the ‘friend’ of the gay prince out of the tower window.  “Clean that mess up!”

Would you like a real challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word.  I had trouble enough just composing this short little post.  I can issue a challenge with the word ‘turbary,’ I try to keep this a G-rated blog site.  I couldn’t challenge you with a word like dongle.  I know you lot.  😆

 

Once Upon A Time In The Mid-East

Arab

Once upon a time in the mid-east…. things haven’t really changed much, only gotten more so.

Many moons ago, I worked as a security guard.  One of my co-workers was a man even older than me.  As a young man, just after World War II, he had traveled to England to take advantage of the burgeoning British post-war economy, to get a job.  Instead, he enlisted in the British Army, and was attached to the British Palestine Peacekeeping Force.  Their job was to prevent violence, and protect the newly-minted state of Israel.

Many Jews had lived in what became Arab Territory.  Either voluntarily, or under political pressure, they were convinced to leave farms and lands that they had worked and lived on for generations, and move inside the imaginary boundary-line of Israel, into imaginary safety, and start all over again.

He said that, as they patrolled around in Palestine, it was easy to see who had occupied the properties.  Jewish farms were green and lush with fruit, grain and vegetables.  They had bright homes and barns, and greenhouses to get new crops started.  Arab homesteads were dusty and brown, with perhaps a scrawny goat wandering around.

Did the Muslims who were leaving Israel take possession of these ready-made sources of shelter, food and income??  They did not!!  Usually the homes and outbuildings were burned, the greenhouses torn down, all the glass smashed.  The patrol was supposed to be neutral, but he said that it was difficult not to have sympathy, and side with the people who tried to build things up, rather than the hooligans who just wanted to tear things down.

One day they were called out to a problem.  They were trucked to a nearby Arab village near the new border.  They debarked, and marched into the village square/market.  There they came upon a small clot of idlers, with more drifting in.  As in my StOp! Ed post, the local imam or mullah was working the mob up, to march to the nearest Jewish settlement and attack.  Knives, machetes, clubs, slings, rocks, and bottles were in evidence.

My co-worker recounted that, in English, and in his best brash British bluster, the Sergeant-Major commanding the squad, waved his hands as if shooing flies, and told them that ‘You chappies ought to just break this up now, and get on with your business somewhere else.’

He got back the equivalent of, ‘No speakee English, you Tommy Brit invaders.’, so he went to plan B, and literally read them the Riot Act.  For those of you who think that being read the Riot Act is just a euphemism for your Mom coming down on you, think again.  There is an actual British Riot Act.  The solemnity of having it read to potential rioters is supposed to make them think twice about causing trouble.

Our Sovereign Lord The King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the Act made in the first year of King George the First for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies.

God Save The King

The rules state that it must be read three times, before any official violence is unleashed.  The SarMaj read the ponderous paragraph of it once in English.  Then, because some of the miscreants might be Jewish, he read it in Hebrew.  Then he read it in Arabic.  Then he circled around and read it again in all three languages.

All this time, the crowd is growing in size, and the mood is getting nastier.  Knives are waved at them, and small fake sorties are threatened.  Finally, he got the Act read three times in three languages, and ordered them in Arabic to disperse.

Wasn’t gonna happen, so he started giving the squad, orders.  Present arms!  The Arabs watched.  Insert cartridges!  They slapped magazines into their Lee-Enfield rifles. (They’d been unarmed all this time.)  The Arabs waited.  Charge weapons! Rifle bolts back, and then forward to cock. (Now they’re finally ready for action.) The Arabs wondered.  And, the SarMaj shouted, At the knees, aim!

He said that, by the time he got his rifle up to his shoulder, and his eyes on the sights, a single piece of paper, and dust, was settling to the ground.  The little plaza was empty.  Maybe some of them understood English, or just understood superior firepower.

Sadly, nowadays, little altercations like this happen much faster and more violently.  The Gentlemanly British rules of war have been replaced by Kill Or Be Killed.  Perhaps they were what Mr. Ed, the talking horse’s ass was thinking about.

’18 A To Z Challenge – M

Alarm Clock

By dark and dreary mundane passings, are clipped.  (Psst!  Wanna read some poetry?)

A travelling salesman approaches an old codger, sitting in a chair outside the flyspeck-town’s general store.
“Excuse me sir, do you know what time it is?”
“Oh, ‘bout Tuesday, ah reckon.”
“No sir, I need to know the correct time.  I have a train to catch.”
“Tuesday’s close enough.  Ain’t no train till Friday.”

Once, people toiled from sunup to sundown, not caring what time it was, and only vaguely knowing, when the church bells rang, to tell them that it was time to tithe.

As towns and cities grew, it became more important that most folks were doing things at the same time, so the Latin horas became English language hours.

Passing Time was chopped up into 1/60th pieces of the hours.  Compared to the ‘hours’, these little chunks were MINUTE (my-nyoot), and that’s what they were called.  The original meaning of, tiny, small, is still pronounced that way.  Centuries of mush-mouth slide have changed these chunks of time into MINUTES (minnits).

With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, especially steam trains and their schedules, even smaller bits of time became necessary, and the MINUTES got carved into 60 smaller bits.  Since these were the SECOND smaller sections of the hour to be established, that was what they were called.

As modern technology relies more on computerized electronics, and even quantum services, time must be chopped up into finer and finer little portions.  The state-of-the-art technologists of even only a half century ago, would probably be astounded by the use of millisecond – thousandth, microsecond – millionth, nanosecond – billionth, and picosecond – trillionth.

It’s no wonder that Ethel GPS put me in Oregon, instead of Ohio.  She probably just needs new batteries in her watch.  I’ll watch to see if you stop by again soon.  😀

SPEAK TO ME ONLY WITH THINE EYES….

FOR THY FINGERS HAVE F**KED THINGS UP

Grammar Nazi

PROS

He got married at the boarder, then they realized he was a smuggler. – The Washington Post knows no borders.

Niagara Falls freezes in teeth-shattering temps – My teeth are chattering at this usage.  Same headline lists an ‘artic’ blast

BC gas stations insist on swimming against the tied – British Columbians should know what tide is.  Toronto captioners think it’s just for laundry.

He just gorged them out. – Gorged means filled up.  Gouged means emptied out.

Get a sculpsured bod. – or get the always-popular dictionary, and learn to spell sculptured.

Wither goes democracy? – Upscale usage will wither if you don’t look up whither.

Two viles of drugs were found – Well, it is pretty vile stuff, in a vial (phial), or not.

Kim Kardashian wore a bust-bearing dress – I know those puppies look like they need a hand-truck to haul them around, and the sight of the photo could confuse a male captioner, but the dress was bust-baring.

***

Amateurs

Violin boes rehaired – This guy gets a special category.  He’s not a professional writer, but he advertises as a ‘Professional violin builder, seller and repairer’, who should know about bows.

Lovely, fully-detached home, near Kawanas Park – this less-than-literate real estate agent apparently is not a member of the Kiwanis service club.

Michelangelo’s Sixteenth Chapel – from Canada’s ‘Good Christian’ wunderkind, Justin Beaver Bieber

***

Please use tongue when choosing donuts – because the tongs are already in use.

April Ham Lincoln – I guess the name Abraham isn’t popular in elementary schools anymore.  But he was joined by John Afghan Eddy, and Martin Lou, the King

Two ballards were struck by a forklift – Relax, the ex-owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs is fine.  It was two bollards which were struck.

That door is closed.  Se la vi. – He lives in Utah, where they don’t speak any French.  C’est la vie.

This were “Dances With Wolves” was filmed – This is where paying attention in English class would have helped.

find a place to hold up in tonight – The police frown on holdups.  Find a safe, warm hole, and hole up.

Hubby once through an entire angle food cake – although she did come back to correct to threw, but not the angel.

What do you get when you cross a blonde with a postal worker?
A fluesy with an Uzi.
The jokester is obviously not a floozy.

Like in a freakin’ fairy tell – I have to tell you that the word should be tale.

The judge gave him a slap on the risk – At the risk of sounding pedantic, it’s wrist.

Whats the deferents between soft point and hardball ammo?  Are exploding bullets called dumb dumbs? – The difference is that only redneck gun-nuts who ask questions like this, are called dumb dumbs.