’18 A To Z Challenge – W

Get Off My Lawn

Old Man

I write ‘old,’ because I am old, but also because I read even older writings when I was young.  I love the new technology (what I can understand of it), but I miss the grace, style and solemnity of bygone days, and bygone manners, and bygone speech.  When/because I was younger, I never had the opportunity to call someone a

Whippersnapper

Now that I am old enough to do so, life and language have moved on, and I have missed my chance.  I might as well speak of button-hooks, or buggy-whips, or Marcel hair treatments.  People would regard me even more strangely than they already do.

‘Whippersnapper’ is a word which has been used since the 17th century. The word can be used in two different contexts. One, it refers to a person who is very lazy and has no ambitions. The other context is used to denote young people who live on the streets and are indulged in wrong practices. However, the usage and meaning of the word changed over time. Now, it is used for a person who is very confident, or for a child who keeps questioning.

Nowadays, society moves so fast that many of us don’t have, or take, the time to actually say or write things.  OMG!  For those who deserve this epithet, (and they are numerous, and greatly deserving) I will have to settle for a firmly applied “Asshole,” or a solid smack with an appropriate acronym (PITA = Pain In The Ass), or Emoji. Thumbs Down

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WOW #42

abyss

I gazed into the abyss Rochelle’s weekly photo prompt, and the abyss stared back. I couldn’t get Frederick Nietzsche to help me with a Flash Fiction, so this week’s back-patting, ego-driven Word Of the Week is the all-about-me

Linguaphile

a language and word lover.
Origin of Linguaphile
Linguist has existed in English since the 16th century. It means “one who is adept at learning and using foreign languages; one who is a student of language or linguistics; a translator or interpreter.” Linguaphile has a somewhat different meaning: “one who loves words or languages.” The originally Greek suffix -phile (“lover of”) is completely naturalized in English.

I thought a Linguaphile might be something that smoothed my speech out.  My son doesn’t understand my fascination with foreign names.  They can tell me where someone, or their ancestors, came from.  I’ve studied the origin and meaning of many English names.  While some of them are – interesting, some foreign names just have me shaking my head.

A candidate in a recent, local election was named Estoesta.  I quickly determined that this was a Portuguese name.  From my limited knowledge of Romance languages, I thought that it might mean East/West, perhaps originating when Portuguese sailors reached Malaysia.  Google Translate told me that it actually just means ‘this is.’  😕

 A young Spanish-Canadian co-worker was named Soto.  I asked him the meaning of it one day, but he said he didn’t know, and would have to ask his father.  He might forget or ignore, so I looked it up that evening.  The next day, I told him that it translated to a copse, a thicket, or a brake.  “No, No!” he replied, “My Dad says that it’s a bunch of trees.”  The worker from Newfoundland, who many thought could barely write his own name, piped up.  “What does he think a copse, a brake or a thicket is?”

A recent obituary was for another Portuguese, Eric Armand Cyril Cecil D’Silva.   I suspect that his mother was of English heritage.  While Eric and Armand may be Portuguese given names, Cyril and Cecil are very British.  My English-heritage Father was Cyril, and his half-brother was Cecil.  The word Silva is not the same as Sylva, and has nothing to do with trees.  Instead, it means hiss, whistle, swish, fizz.  How would you like to be named after a leaky steam-pipe?  😳

The four German names, Hefner, Heffner, Hafner and Haffner all come from Hőffner Originally, hoff meant wish or hope.  Medieval travelers often wished or hoped for a country inn, where they could rest and get warmth and food, so hoff came to mean an inn.  A Hőffner was an innkeeper.  Hugh Hefner sold Playboy magazines.  A local car dealership is Heffner Lexus/Toyota.  A small town, 15 miles out, has Haffner Motors, a Chrysler dealership.   This explains the annual Labor Day MoparFest, where dozens of 1970s Hemi-powered muscle cars from all over Southern Ontario show up.

Lastly, I want to talk about big fish in little ponds.  In Germany, if your ancestors came from the small town of Vetter, they might have adopted, or had that name assigned to them.  However, if your forebears owned the village of Vetter, an honorific von, meaning of or from, was prefixed, to indicate minor nobility, and your family name became von Vetter.  The same thing occurred in Dutch or Belgian, with the prefix van.

The equivalent word in French, is guy, although the last name of the French short-story writer, Guy de Maupassant, means something like hard luck, or tough times.  While not a hereditary name, English has the same concept in the honorary title, Squire.  This is the highest that a non-Nobility family may rise.  While the Earl may possess all the surrounding fields and pastures and woods, as his administrator, the Squire owns the land that the village or town sits on, and collects rent and respect from every business and home.

Come back again later when I discuss Lingua Franca, which is how to order a hot-dog from a street vendor food cart.  😉

’18 A To Z Challenge – T

 

Challenge '18Letter T

 

 

 

 

 

 

The challenge for a T theme brings you another odd little word.  It is

TMESIS

Noun: the interpolation of one or more words between the parts of a compound word, as be thou ware for beware.

Which is the dull, boring, pretentious definition that Dictionary.com provided, but not the one they gave when I first found it as a word of the day, but wasn’t smart enough to download it then.  At that time they claimed that it was, “the insertion or interjection of an intensifier into an already forceful statement – often profanity.”

Profanity??  Now you’re speaking my language.  Jesus H. Christ, holy f**king shit, that’s the kind of stuff that I abso-bloody-lutely understand.  None of this ‘interpolation’ crap.  This is how many of us speak.

I understand that a new year is (almost) upon us, and that this particular alphabetical series is nearly finished.  See U soon.  😉

Merry Christmas (or any other suitable substitute holiday) to all, and to all a good night.

Santa

Best wishes from the fat old guy who lives up north in the snow – no, not Santa.  He’s short a reindeer.  We had venison steaks for dinner.

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.  😉  😆

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.  😆