’22 A To Z Challenge – M

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten Words – Forgotten Attitudes

What do we want?

GOOD MANNERS

When do we want them?

Right now!

Are we likely to get them??!

F*&@ no!

In a world where the words we use, and our attitudes, are supposedly of utmost importance, words are regularly passing out of use from the English language.  We become dumbed down intellectually, ethically, and spiritually. Here are a few words which have been forgotten, though they were in regular use just a few decades ago. Interestingly, they’re all related in meaning:

Modesty

Humility

Courtesy

Honesty

“I pray thee then, write me as someone who loves his fellow man.”  (Abou ben Adhem)

Donald Trump is gone, although, if he can evade the FBI on his magpie collection of classified documents, he’s threatening to return in 2024.  While he facilitated much of the above, and vindicated it to a too-large swath of the American population, he was not the cause of it.  He was merely a visible symptom of the cultural rot.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Be nice to each other out there.  Okay?  The life you save may be your own.

Thus endeth the reading of the first lesson.  More of the usual drivel soon.

International Fibbing Friday

Since pensitivity101’s security clearance is higher that Top Secret, she was recently asked to be a charlady at an International Committee Conference on Averting Needless Travel Expenses from Unnecessary Conferences, held in beautiful Blechly-on-Stench.  She came out of the men’s washroom with a double-handful of foreign words that she invites us to fib about.  Since they’re politicians’ words, and already coated with lies, no-one may notice.

  1. What is an abbozzo?

This is a term that I learned from my bent-nose, ex-co-worker, Melvin Goombah.  It is the giant hug I give someone when they buy me a calzone.  I could show you a sketch that a street artist did of me embracing someone who did.

  1. What does it mean to absquatulate?

I don’t know, but I’m getting my ass out of here as soon as possible, before anyone discovers that my vocabulary is not as broad as I claim it is – and I’m takin’ the petty cash with me for travel expenses.
3.  What is a biggin?

She’s probably not talking about my well-endowed uncle, Ivor Biggin.  I’ll have to put on my thinking cap about this one.  It might even be a benefit to take a short nap.  I’ll probably sleep like a baby after I have a hot toddy.
4.  What is a daedalist?

I am soooo… glad that it has nothing to do with the Catholic Church pedophile scandal.  That’s about diddleists.  He’s a competitor in the Tour d’Estonia bicycle race.  It doesn’t get the interest and coverage that the Tour de France does.  Estonia being much smaller than France, the entire race is usually over in less than 47 minutes.
5.  What is gamophobia?

It is a fear of romantic involvement or marriage.  I thought I had it once, but my girlfriend assured me I didn’t, and that we were getting married.  And I wasn’t even pregnant!!?
6.  What is a holm?

Holm is the Swedish name for a string of hospices where aging actors and actresses live at the end of their careers and their lives.  For extra humidity, to help moisten their lungs, they are often built down on river flats.  Both Celeste Holm, and Sir Ian Holm have stayed at one.
7.  What is jettatura?

Obnoxious words and phrases evolve to hide their objectionable backgrounds.  In the US, nigger became Negro, and then Black, Colored, and finally, African-American.  So too, has Monied Society become the Idle Rich, Glitterati, and the Jet Set, and, at last, Jettatura, a Portuguese term that hides the fact that they’re still lighting $100 cigars with $100 bills, and carrying Gucci purses and Hérmes scarves worth an average family’s annual income.
8.  What is a keffel?

The things I learn at my Eurofood store!!  While they concentrate on European comestibles, they told me that a keffel is a type of Nigerian pancake, made with flour from ground-up crickets.  It is best, served with poinsettia-jelly.
9.  What is meant by labtebricole?

To B, or not to B??  Turns out that it’s not two Bs.  Someone was a tad generous with the consonants.  The word is preferably spelled LATEBRICOLE.  That’s something that I discovered when I emerged from my hermit cave – my Osama bin Laden spider-hole – to get good enough Wi-Fi reception to research it.
10. What is a lacuna?

Apparently, there’s a hole – a gap – in my language knowledge, as big as the one in Terry Thomas’ teeth.

’22 A To Z Challenge – H

 

Benny Hill!  Benny Hill!  Benny Hill!

What can you say about Benny Hill?

He was a mediocre actor, a funny TV comic, and a brilliant writer and comedian.  To be the writer and comedian, he was also a brilliant linguist, sometimes making puns and jokes in two and three languages.

He got “Son of a bitch!” past the BBC censors by claiming that a French skit character spoke of, ‘Ze sun, over ze beach.’

He talked about having a bent wood chair in his dressing room.  Not a Bentwood Chair – but a bent wood chair, because his dressing room was in the damp, BBC basement.

With the moving of a couple of letters on a sign, he turned
Dr. Johnson
the
rapist

Into

Dr. Johnson
therapist

Not only was he familiar with French and German, but quite knowledgeable about regional British accents, where, if you travelled 50 miles, the common folk could not be understood, and bread rolls had changed names.  Sometimes he used words and phrases that those born on this side of the pond didn’t recognize.

Once, he wrote a bit, making fun of a commercial from Cheer detergent, which had just begun selling in the UK.  We’ll take two dress shirts, and pour blackberry juice on both of them.  Then we’ll wash one of them in Applaud detergent, (So no-one could accuse him of making fun of Cheer) and the other one in Ben’s Cleanso.  Flash out – flash in.  And there you see it friends (Both shirts still badly stained)  Not a haip o’ the difference.

HAIP

haip = “wattle, sheaf or heap of straw etc.”
(Therefore – something small, or inconsequential)
And you thought that the word for H was going to be Benny HILL.

I took its meaning from context, but I had to wait for Al Gore to invent the Internet, and then wait some more until stable genius (Like Mr. Ed), Donald Trump perfected it, to meet its parents online.  I still haven’t, really.  I finally found one word-site which gave the definition, but only said that it was British dialect, and very rare.  It did not say what area dialect, although I suspect Northumbria/Yorkshire – up north, away from London and the universities, where the poor folk live.  If this word were coined in the US, it would be from Appalachia.

Helpful fellow-blogger and word-nerd Daniel Digby, just introduced me to wordhistories.net, a Frenchman living in Lancashire, who blogs about etymology.  At first I shook my head about a Frenchie in England but it makes as much sense as a Quebecois in Ontario.  It’s 300 miles from London to Paris, and 300 miles from Toronto to Montreal.  Perhaps he’s more successful wrestling search engines than I am.  When I get back from Merriam-Webster on Wednesday, we can have a few laughs.   😆

’22 A To Z Challenge – G

 

 

 

 

 

 

I dropped a bag of Scrabble tiles, and picked up seven of them at random.  They spelled out

GLUDDER

Is that a real word??
Not only is it a real word, it is a Scottish word.  Like the multiple meanings of Flag in the last A to Z post, my thrifty Scots ancestors wanted to get as much out of a word as possible.

The way to tell an Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotsman in a bar pub, is to serve them a drink with a fly in it.  The Englishman will push the drink away, and order another.  The Irishman will shrug, dip the fly out, and consume the drink.  The Scotsman will dip out the fly, give it a bit of a squeeze, and shout, “Come on, give it up, ya wee sot!”  Hell, he’d probably down the Englishman’s first, if he could get away with it.  Which drunkenly brings us to the many meanings of a word which sounds like it was coined after several drams of Glen Fiddich in the local.

If you are north of Hadrian’s Wall, the word Gludder can, and still does, mean
a glow of heat from the sun;
a bright and warm period of sunshine between rain showers;
the sound of a body falling into the mire;
to do dirty work or work in a dirty manner;
to swallow food in a slovenly or disgusting way.

Scotland has never been the entertainment and excitement capital of the world.  My Ancestors had to have something to do besides count all their sheep, because they kept dozing off.  They tried tossing large rocks across the frozen surface of ponds and rivers, and invented curling.  They practiced knocking smaller stones into gopher holes with their walking sticks, and invented golf, which is just flog, spelled backwards.  Some time before they were forced to go home to the Missus at closing time, they dreamed up words like gludder.  May the banks and braes forgive them.  😳

’22 A To Z Challenge – F

 

Poor overworked English-language words!

Like, I don’t mean words like, like.  I mean words like the poor word, run.  The dictionary definition for that one runs to a page and a half.  Its somewhat less stressed and overburdened country cousin is

FLAG

Seems simple enough – a colored, often patterned piece of cloth, representing countries, provinces, states, corporations, etc.  A visit to my American friend revealed that, of 14 houses on his cul-de-sac, 8 of them proudly, patriotically displayed the Stars and Stripes.  But….

To my gardener wife, a flag is an iris, or similar, broad-leafed plants

To a landscaper or paver, a flag is a thin flat stone, used to create walkways or driveways.

To a hawk or falcon, a flag is a tuft of feathers on the leg.

To a hunter, a flag is the tail of a deer, or of his hunting dog.

To a journalist, a flag is the nameplate of his newspaper or magazine.

As a verb, flag can mean to affix a flag(s), as on a ship or building.

Flag can mean to signal or warn – as to flag a taxi or a bus.
My Father used to describe scantily clad females as, “Not wearing enough clothes to flag a handcar.”
The meaning of the term handcar will be provided upon request, at no additional cost.  I have ridden on a handcar several times, sometimes assisting to propel them.  Their gasoline-powered replacements came to be known as jiggers.

Flag can mean to mark a file, or other, for attention.
I’m going to flag his tax return for an audit.

Lastly, flag can mean to diminish in strength, energy or interest.
My enthusiasm for this project is beginning to flag.
I am going to wave the white flag for now, but I’ll be back on Wednesday.

Parents Of Kids Say The Darnedest Things

Pros

Don’t cast aspirations on her femininity – Cast aspersions, instead.

It continues to reside in the attack. – I had to go up to the attic, to research this.

He spoke a sort of pigeon Galician – This pigeon thinks it should read pidgin.

So, needlessly to say – It was needless to use an adverb instead of an adjective.

He built the viaduct that brought the water – Then it would be an aqueduct.

Mary had a little lamb.  Her cheeks were white as snow – And the lamb’s fleece was white as snow.

The horseflies left whelps with their bites – The young whelps had welts on them.

The squad debauched from the fort – This debauched author meant debouched.

The pilot waggled the plane’s wings for an instance – an instance where it should read, instant.

The company was marketing Santinism. – They weren’t marketing the correct spelling of Satanism.

Phone gets stuck in base guitar – It’s fishy that there’s no bass.

Businessman revels how he got rich – If I were rich, I’d revel, but I wouldn’t reveal how I did it.

He sniffed his depreciation of the idea. – I’d appreciate him using deprecation

The family fortune was dilapidated – and my patience with this usage was depleted.

Amateurs

The idea has gained some exposer recently – Police arrested the exposer for indecent exposure.

Believe it or not – I found a Belief It Or Not Christian video – not wrong…. just wrong!

They were forced to be reckoned with. – I was forced to write, “A force to be reckoned with.”

An elderly none came in – but the nun would have none of that spelling.

She was dancing in the isleI’ll tell you that it should be aisle.

Vacuums don’t cause autism – Neither do vaccines.

I pulled up the parking brake leaver – Well, leave ‘er parked, and look up lever.

Darwin advocated ‘Survival of the Fitness’ – The fittest of us know that’s not true.

It could justify killing or torchering – That spelling is torturing me.

One only has to take a looksy – to know that it should be a look-see.

I was going to lambest him for saying that – I’s like to lambaste you for using lambest.

I’m into essential oils and incest. – Does your daughter know about this?

‘The Office’ is a meaty okra show. – About as mediocre as that spelling.

She said she got a Bachelorette Degree – Blondie meant a baccalaureate!!

I have only lent in my pocket – because you gave up your dictionary for lent.

A term that attempts to draft on an air of coolness – I drank some cool draft while I looked up graft.

This woman had the gull to insult him – A little bird told me she had gall.

He’s got the saddle soars to prove it – Lets waft on over to where they are sores.

***

Now that I’ve had something to say about some things that other people say, it’s back to business as usual.  What??!  Ranting IS my usual?  I dare you to read this post and say that.   😉

Speaking English Like An Arab

Over centuries, dozens of Arabic words have entered the English language, through science, philosophy, mathematics, food, fabrics, trade and travel.

Most were introduced by inland and maritime trade along the Silk Route, while others came through the Islamic conquests of southern Europe. Not all of these words are of Arabic origin – some came from India, Persia and ancient Greece – but Arab merchants helped export them to the West.

Finally, the discovery of medieval Islamic scientists and astronomers during the Renaissance brought new words and concepts to Europe.  I have picked the top 15 most surprising words with Arabic origins.

Admiral: amir أمير

The word for this high-ranking naval commander evolved from amir, the Arabic word for a prince or ruler. The word was first documented on the island of Sicily in the 11th century, where the Arabs had ruled for 300 years.

Alchemy: al kimiya الكيمياء

The ancient branch of philosophy known as alchemy involved the study of substances and materials. Medieval alchemists believed that some liquids could be turned to gold, or a potion that would make its drinker immortal. The original Arabic word stems from the Greek term “khemeia, though some scholars also trace its roots back to ancient Egypt.

Cotton: qutun قطن

Though cotton was known to the ancient Romans, the word and the fabric were imported by Arab merchants to Europe in the late Middle Ages.

Elixir: al-iksir الإكسير

Today, an elixir is a liquid remedy with healing powers. In Arabic, it originally referred to a dry powder for treating wounds. It was later adopted by alchemists who referred to an elixir as the elusive mineral powder that would turn metals into gold.

Jumper: jubba جبّة

The Arabic word for overcoat originally entered European languages as “juppa“, valuable silk clothing, in southern Italy in the 11th century.

Macrame: miqrama مقرمة

This type of knotted textile used in craft and high fashion originates from the hand-loomed fabrics of Arabic weavers. In Arabic, miqrama refers to an embroidered tapestry or bedspread.

Mohair: al-mokhayyar المخيّر

In Arabic, al-mokhayyar was a high-quality cloth made of fine goat hair. Various forms of it were imported to the West for centuries, the most famous being the wool made from Angora goats of Turkey.

Monsoon: mawsim موسم

Early Arab sea merchants on the Indian Ocean rim used the word “mawsim” or “seasons” to refer to the seasonal sailing winds. Later, the word was adopted by Portuguese, Dutch and English sailors as they navigated extreme weather conditions off the coasts of India, South-East Asia and China.

Muslin: musuliyin موصلي

Muslin, a cotton-based fabric, is said to have derived its name from the traders of the city of Mosul, or the musuliyin, who imported it from South Asia to Europe.

Nadir: nazir نظير

In English, a nadir refers to the worst moment, or the point at which something is of the least value. But in Arabic, the word means a counterpart, and was used in medieval Islamic astronomy to refer to the diametrically opposing points of a celestial sphere.

Orange: naranj نارنج

Though both the fruit and the word came from India, Arabs introduced oranges to the Mediterranean region. For many southern European countries today, they are considered a staple fruit.

Serendipity: serendib سرنديب

The ancient fairy tale place of Serendib, which appears in One Thousand and One Nights and other ancient oral traditions, was also the old Arabic name for the island of Sri Lanka. The English word serendipity, meaning a fortunate discovery, was coined by the English author Horace Walpole in 1754.

Safari: safar سفر

The English adopted the Swahili word for journey – safari – in the 19th century for their hunting expeditions in East Africa. Though a safari today involves an organized trip to spot wild animals, its origins are from the Arabic “safar”, or journey, a reminder of the crucial presence of Arab sea merchants on the East African coast.

Sugar: sukkar سكّر

Another word to have travelled the Silk Road is sugar, which was originally produced in India. By the sixth century, sugar cane cultivation reached Persia, and was brought into the Mediterranean by the Arabs, who produced it extensively.

Tariff: ta’riff تعريف

A tariff in Medieval Arabic means a notification. It was introduced to western languages around the 14th century through commerce on the Mediterranean Sea, where it referred to the bill of lading on a merchant ship, or the statement of products and prices for sale.

WOW #75

Yankee Doodle went to town
Riding on a pony.
Stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it Macaroni

MACARONI

How did he get to be a Yankee??  And what did it have to do with macaroni??!

Yanke Surname Definition: (Dutch) Descendant of little Jan (gracious gift of Jehovah); one who came from Holland; a name sometimes applied to a stranger.

The Online Etymology Dictionary gives Yankee its origin as around 1683, attributing it to English colonists insultingly referring to Dutch colonists (especially freebooters). Linguist Jan de Vries notes that there was mention of a pirate named Dutch Yanky in the 17th century.

From the mid-1750s – even still today – it was the custom of the upper British crust to ‘Do The Continent’ when they came of age.  Starting in Spain or France, they would party their way though Germany and Poland, and end up in Italy.  Italy was considered the epicenter of society and fashion.

Young English men became enamored of anything Italian – better than what was back in frumpy old Britain.  Costume balls were common, and clothing became more and more gaudy and ostentatious.  Of course, “everything Italian” did not usually extend to actually learning the language.

After they returned home, they would wax eloquent about Italian food and wine, the flamboyant clothing, the buildings, and the parties.  It became common to refer to “everything Italian” in verbal shorthand as simply Macaroni.

Some English in the New World (Remember, there were no ‘Americans’ yet) with less wealth and far less chance to party in Italy – were Yankees.  If they had servants and slaves, and were ‘idle,’ – they were a Doodle.  They displayed their wealth by being able to ride a fine horse – pony.  If they wanted to emulate their British cousins, they would adorn and ornament their clothes.  They would stick a jaunty feather in an otherwise simple, basic hat, and pretend that it was as glitzy as any of that Italian Macaroni.

So, this nonsense little poem has nothing to do with college survival food.  Instead, it is a reminder of how the early American common folk viewed those who claimed to be their betters.  I’d better make some mac-and-cheese for lunch.   😉   😆

WOW #74

Yeehaw, buckaroos, this here’s a rootin’, tootin’ yarn about three funny, over-the-hill characters.

Not that three!!  That there is a picture of me and my brother and sister!  😯  How did that get in here?

No, I’m talking about the even older and less significant, Middle English comedy trio of

ROOTLE

TOOTLE

AND

FOOTLE

Do not confuse Rootle with The Rutles, a fake British band that became a real one, much like the fake American band, The Monkees, did.

Rootle is the sometimes-used British alternative verb form of root – to root about like a hog.
to turn up the soil with the snout, as swine.
to poke, pry, or search, as if to find something

Melodious little Tootle means to toot gently or repeatedly on a flute or the like.
to move or proceed in a leisurely way.

Hong Kong English driving instructions include, If pedestrian do not move advantageous, tootle him gently.

You can get footloose with Footle, if you act or talk in a foolish or silly way, loiter aimlessly; potter, or talk nonsense.

Trust the English language to confuse those who are trying to learn it – three words – one basic spelling – two different pronunciations.  😳

Showing the difference between Canadian English and British English, I was taught to putter, rather than potter.  To ‘potter’ would require a throwing wheel, and a kiln.  For me to ‘putter’ only takes a long, strangely-shaped stick to get the ball rolling.  Golf is a lovely walk in the sun and fresh air – spoiled by having to chase a little white ball.  It’ll be par for me to be rootin’ and tootin’ again in a couple of days.

I Cant Rely On Kindle

I continue to hold my love of dead-tree versions of books, if only because I can get many of them for free, from the Library – and often in LARGE PRINTTo you, with failing eyes, we throw – something you may more easily read.  I am becoming more habituated and inured to the Kindle book variants, especially since a couple of authors, whose series I follow, publish only electronically.

One of the benefits to Kindle is that, when the writer uses an esoteric or unfamiliar word, I need only poke the screen to get a dictionary meaning.  I had hoped that the meaning of every word used in each book would be available, but the dictionary file is on-board, not accessed on the internet.  That hope was dashed, repeatedly, by a recent book.

I read, I knew by the cant of his head, so I poked CANT in the eye – actually, in the A.  I got back, an expression of enthusiasm for high ideals – a sermon or extended oration.  Neither of those seemed to fill the bill, so I took a taxi over to Dictionary.com, which told me that my ‘cant’ meant, a salient angle – a slanted or tilting position.

On the next page, They had not hung the celebratory bunting.  Kindle only offered me two small, seed-eating birds, one European, one American.  My online dictionary was far more generous.  First it told me that bunting was a baseball play, where a pitched ball is gently returned by a stationary bat, or, it could be a hooded sleeping garment for infants (also, bunting bag).  Finally, it admitted that bunting was patriotic and festive decorations made from coarse cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc., in the colors of the national flag.  That’s the one I needed.  Busy word!

The story said, “Fashion was becoming important.  Lacing emphasized waists, and skirts flared out with gores.”  I poked the word ‘gores,’ and got, Gore, Al, Vice-President of the United States.  It’s a good thing they weren’t playing cards, or I’d have been told that trump was the President.  Their boat-launching site was a couple of klicks past the fort.  I should have known better.  Kindle claimed that klicks meant the same as clicks.  Now see here, Kindle, see also: slang, (mainly) military, diminutive of kilometers.

At last, the literary bad guy, returned to his hant.  When I prodded Kindle, it told me that Han was a Chinese river, or a dynasty from 206 B C to 220 A D.  Interesting, but that’s not even the same word.  Dictionary.com only told me that hant was the Scottish form of the verb – to haunt.  I had to go further afield for this one.

I eventually found that, from that Scottish verb form, came the noun which means, an often light-duty structure, temporarily or intermittently occupied, such as a party tent, duck blind or fishing hut.  This all qualifies as an episode of Things I Learned While Researching Other Things.

I am surprised that I was never asked, Did you mean can’t?  I can’t wait to see what I publish in a couple of days.  Are you as excited as I am?  😉