A PHIL BRODIE
BAND'S FUN PAGE . . ENJOY
for February 2017
Where They Came From
further down page
ONES EVERY MONTH
town named Marathon, the scene of a victory over the Persians in 490 BC; the modern
race is based on the tradition that a messenger ran from Marathon to Athens (22
miles) with the news of the Greek victory. The original account by Herodotus told
of the messenger Pheidippides running 150 miles from Athens to Sparta before the
battle, seeking help at Marathon.
/ BUMF ~
actually means toilet paper; from the late 19th century,
it is an abbreviation of the slang word bum-fodder.
GLUTTONY ~ derived
from the Latin "gluttire" meaning to gulp down or to swallow, it went
on to mean over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or wealth items
to the point of extravagance or waste. In some religions gluttony is a deadly
sin and 590AD Pope Saint Gregory I/St. Gregory the Great was even stricter, he
before the time of meals in order to satisfy the palate a sin of gluttony!
from the Latin roots ambi-
meaning "both", and dexter- meaning "right". Thus, "ambidextrous"
is literally "both right" and now meaning able to use the right and
left hands equally well. The term ambidexter in English was originally used in
a legal sense of jurors who accepted bribes from both parties for their verdict.
The word Halloween or Hallowe'en dates to about 1745 and
is of Christian origin. The word "Hallowe'en" means "hallowed evening"
or "holy evening". It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve
(the evening before All Hallows' Day). In Scots, the word "eve" is even,
and this is contracted to e'en or een. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved
into Hallowe'en. Although the phrase "All Hallows'" is found in Old
English (ealra halgena mæssedæg, all saints mass-day), "All Hallows'
Eve" is itself not seen until 1556.
COCK AND BULL STORIES ~ the
town of Stony Stratford, which name derived from 'the stony ford on the Roman
road', is located on the old Roman road of Watling Street, now the A5, was a main
coaching stop. In the height of the coaching era - the 18th and early 19th centuries
it was an important stopping-off point for mail and passenger coaches travelling
between London and the North of England. The Cock and The Bull were the two main
coaching inns in the town and the banter and rivalry between groups of travellers
is said to have resulted in exaggerated and fanciful stories, which became known
as 'cock and bull stories'. The two hostelries still exist.
~ from the Old English word haligdæg
from.. halig "holy" + dæg "day". The word originally
referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day
of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days away from work or school.
from the Old Norse 'vindauga', from 'vindr wind' and 'auga eye',
i.e., wind eye. In Norwegian Nynorsk the Old Norse form has survived to this day,
in Swedish the word vindöga remains as a term for a hole through the roof
of a hut.
ABROAD ~ mid-13c.,
when it meant "widely apart" from Old English 'on brede'. By the late
14c it had become to mean "out of doors, away from home", which by mid-15c
had led to the main modern sense of "out of one's country, overseas".
The word comes from the Proto-Germanic verb root, "bru-",
meaning 'to cook, brew, or make a broth,' which was the role of the daughter-in-law
in primitive families.
VILLAGE ~ from
Latin villaticum "farmstead with outbuildings", noun use of neuter singular
of villaticus "having to do with a farmstead or villa," from the
latin villa "country
from the Arabic "al zahr" which means, the dice. The term came to be
associated with dice during the Crusades and took on a negative connotation because
games of dice were associated with gambling.
~ If you get something "to boot" it means you
get it extra, or like the expression "moreover, on top of that". However
it has nothing to do with boots you wear on your feet. It is a corruption of from
the Old English bote /bot which meant help, relief, advantage; atonement, literally
'a making better, from Proto-Germanic boto, which is where the word better comes
ALMANAC ~ Diary... derives
from a Greek word
calendar, however that word appears only once in antiquity, by Eusebius who quotes
Porphyry as to the Coptic Egyptian use of astrological charts. Also al-manakh,
was an Arabic word, meaning the climate, this refers to the natural change in
weather and the Saxon term 'al-mon-aght' which means 'all moon heed', was the
record of new and full moons.
The earliest almanacs as we know them were calendars that included agricultural,
astronomical, and meteorological data.
NICE ~ Lovely,
likable, agreeable... in middle
English it meant 'stupid' from Old French from the Latin word nescius ='ignorant,
from nescire = 'not know', which gave rise to 'fastidious, and scrupulous', this
led to 'fine, subtle' (which is regarded by some as the correct sense
now), and then went on to the current senses, eg. likable, agreeable, lovey.
~ Sleep or nap, originally meant "Brothel",
as refered to in the book The Vicar of Wakefield: "....... tattering a kip......"
meaning "wrecking a brothel". The word eventually came to be used for
lodging-houses and finally to refer to the act of sleeping itself; also sailors
called their hammocks, kips.
word came from the German language words Poltern meaning "to make sound"
and "to rumble", and Geist meaning "ghost" and "spirit";
the term itself translates as "noisy ghost", "rumble-ghost"
or a "loud spirit"
from the Greek words arthro meaning joint + itis, meaning inflammation.
musike, from Old French musique, which derives from ancient Greece "mousa"
meaning muse, and mousike "art of the Muses"
word gymnasium comes from the Greek word gymnazein which means to exercise naked.
Etymology: Latin, exercise ground, school, from Greek gymnasion, from gymnazein
to exercise naked, from gymnos naked
DOZEN ~ Ever
wondered why a bakers dozen is
thirteen ... this old saying
comes from the days when bakers were severely punished for baking underweight
loaves. Many bakers would add a loaf to a batch of a dozen to be above suspicion.
* HERO ~ Late
14c., "man of superhuman strength or physical courage," from Latin heros
"hero" from Ancient Greek heros "demi-god", originally a "defender
or protector". The meaning as a "man who exhibits great bravery"
in any course of action is from 1660s; and used as a "chief male character
in a play, story, etc" was first used 1690s, and the first record of hero-worship
is from 1774.
~ originates from the Japanese word jinrikisha ...
jin = human, riki = power or force, sha = vehicle, which literally means "human-powered
* SOFA ~
is from Turkish derived from the Arabic word suffa for "wool", originating
in the Aramaic word sippa for "mat", where as SETTEE
~ is from the Old English word, "setl", which was used to
describe long benches with high backs and arms, but is now generally used to describe
PIG'S EAR ~ The term is now used to mean something messy
and useless; its origin comes from the phrase "You can't make a silk purse
from a sow's ear", which is a derivative of a 16th century phrase "None
can make goodly silke of a gotes fleece"
Scottish word meaning "celebration" and/or "party",
closely associated with Hogmanaythe Scots New Year celebration which, traditionally,
is the biggest celebration on the Scottish calendar.
is when a person or persons, does something funny or does something out of the
the results may be viewed as being
anything from wierd to hilarious.
* DARK HORSE ~ The
term began as horse racing parlance for a race horse that is not known to gamblers
and thus is difficult to place betting odds on.
The earliest-known mention of the concept is in Benjamin Disraeli's novel, The
Young Duke, published in 1831
AWKWARD ~ a
combination of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Germanic dialects, the words merged between
the 9th & 13th centuries. Awk is an obsolete word meaning turned the
wrong way, and originally awkward just meant in an awk direction,
just as forward means to move to the front and backward means to move to the rear
ON WOOD / TOUCH WOOD ~ touching, tapping, or knocking
on wood, or merely stating the same, in order to avoid "tempting fate"
after making a favourable observation, a boast, or declaration concerning an unfavorable
situation beyond your control. The origin of is in folklore, wherein tree sprites
aka dryads were thought to live in trees, and can be invoked for protection and
NUCLEUS ~ from
the Latin word nucu(la) meaning little nut, the seed inside a fruit
OF THE DOG ~
expression originally referred to a method of treatment of a rabid dog bite, it
was a belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you, when applied to the wound,
will prevent the evil consequences.
an eel; eel like movements.
Origin is late 17th century: from Latin anguilla meaning 'eel' + iform
Anchor cables were
wrapped around posts called bitts, and therefore the last piece of cable was called
the bitter end. So if f you let out the cable to the bitter end there was nothing
else you could do, you had reached the end of your resources
is adapted from
the French language hélicoptère, first coined by Gustave Ponton
d'Amécourt in 1861, which originates from the Greek helix/helik - "twisted,
spiral" and the Greek pteron - "wing"... which can also be seen
in pterodactyl, an extinct flying reptile, Greek pteron "wing" + daktylos
BEE'S KNEES ~ first
recorded in the 18th century, when it was used to mean 'something very small and
insignificant'. Its current meaning of 'an outstanding person or thing' dates
from the 1920s, when a whole collection of American slang expressions were coined.
* GENUINE ~ Originally
meant "placed on the knees". In Ancient Rome, a father legally claimed
his newborn child by sitting in front of his family and placing his child on his
the 1690s the Chinese invented "ke-tsiap"... a concoction of pickled
fish and spices (but no tomatoes). By the early 1700s its popularity had spread
to Malaysia, where British explorers first encountered it. By 1740 the sauce,
called "ketchup" in the western world, was an English staple and it
was popular in the American colonies. Tomato ketchup was invented until the 1790s,
when New England colonists first mixed tomatoes into the sauce. (Before this time
tomatoes were thought to be poisonous, being a relative of the deadly nightshade)
ESCAPE ~ In
Latin, escape means "out of cape". The ancient Romans would often avoid
capture by throwing off their capes when fleeing.
ASSASSIN ~ From
the old Arabic word "hashshshin", which meant, "someone who is
addicted to hash" [marijuana]. Originally refered to a group of warriors
who would smoke up before battle. The hashshshins or assassins were a sect of
warriors who controlled a number of fortified towns in Persia for about 200 years.
CAMOUFLAGE ~ The
original meaning of camouflage was smoke blown into the eyes, blinding the person
to what was happening around them. From the French camouflet, meaning puff of
smoke; and camoufler, to disguise
from the Old English cwellan "to kill, murder, execute",
Old Saxon quellian "to torture, kill", Old Norse kvelja "to torment",
Middle Dutch quelen "to vex, tease, torment;" Old High German quellan
"to suffer pain," German quälen "to torment, torture".
The milder sense of "suppress, extinguish" was developed by c.1300
the Latin words "Liber,"
"Libera," and "Liberum" -- with a Long I -- came from the
root meaning, "to pour." From this, we get the word "Liberty"
(pronounced with a short I), from the freedom we feel when we get drunk
Slaves given to the ancient
Roman soldiers to reward them
for performance in battle were known as addicts. Eventually, a person who was
a slave to anything became known as an addict.
The word came from Old English cyssan : to kiss,
in turn from coss : a kiss.
Among the first known written descriptions of mouth-to-mouth kissing are included
in the epic poem, Mahabharata, written 3,000 years ago in ancient India.
Romany "nak" meaning nose .... around 1860 we started to use the word
to discribe a person who stuck his nose into peoples business to inform on them,
such as a copper's nark
~ Greek: Orkhis meaning testicle .... The plant is so named because
of the similarity of the shape between its tubers and a testicle. There are more
than 22,000 species of orchids.
Latvian: Selesian from
Silesia .... The large area in central Europe known as Silesia was once noted
for fine quatily fabrics that were often shipped out of the Baltic ports of Latvia.
When poor quality imitations began arriving the Latvians coined the derogatory
PENGUIN ~ originally
used for the now
auk of Newfoundland, but shifted to the Antarctic bird, found by Drake in Magellan's
Straits in 1578 is from 1580s. Of unknown origin, though often asserted to be
from Welsh.. pen "head" + gwyn "white". The great auk had
a large white patch between its bill and eye.
XMAS ~ sometimes
pronounced eksmas, but it, and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting
abbreviations for the typical pronunciation krismas. The "-mas" part
is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass, while the "X" comes
from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Xpiotoc,
translated as "Christ". There is a common misconception that the word
Xmas stems from a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas
by taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas". Early use of "Xmas"
includes Bernard Ward's History of St. Edmund's college, Old Hall, originally
published circa 1755. An earlier version, "X'temmas", dates to 1551.Around
1100 the term was written as "Xpes mæsse" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
BANK ~ latin:
banco... meaning a bench. Visitors to ancient Rome were only allowed to use the
Roman currency and had to visit money changers who set up benches where they transacted
~ latin: liber -- with a long I -- meaning, "to
peel"; the thin coating found on the inner bark of the Egyptain papyrus marsh
plant, peeled off was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for making paper,
but the word paper comes from the latin.. papyros, the marsh plant.
FORGOTTEN / LOST WORDS:-
means to lay a bottle on its side-after drinking its contents,
so as to collect the few remaining drops, so every last drop can then be dribbled
into a glass. (The Simpsons come to mind!!!)
GELICIDE ~ from
the 17th century meaning "a frost"
to caress sexually, to fondle, to pet, to canoodle
or to indulge
attested in English in 1646 from Latin ambi - both + laevus - left
... meaning having equally bad ability in both hands; clumsy, awkward, butterfingered
(also the opposite to ambidextrous)
small piece of bacon to put in a recipe, a sprinkle of bacon used to enrich the
flavor of a dish.
A spatchcock is a historical old Irish word for a culled
immature male chicken, but now it denotes a preparation technique.
a noun meaning
a quick smart blow or smack especially to
the ear or side of the head,
a backhand slap.
an adjective used from 1626 -1820 meaning appealing to the
~ is the correct word for "The day after tomorrow"
~ This Old English
noun means "tomfoolery or joking"
English verb means "to make war, lay waste, ravage, plunder"
FLITTERWOCHEN ~ This Old
English expression meant "fleeting weeks," and refers to what we today
call a honeymoon. Flitterwochen is, obviously, a much better word.
verb, meaning to celebrate with boisterous rejoicing and hilarious behavior
Bad handwriting; poor spelling.
~ A 17th century word meaning to confuse
things, jumble or mix things up.
NIMGIMMER ~ A 17th century term for a surgeon who specialized in curing
pox or the clap.
official debt collector, derives from Latin and French and literally means chicken
hoodwink, swindle, dupe, wheedle,
cheat or trick,
enticed by flattery and sweet-talk.
caused by excessive eating or drinking, from crapulent, sick from gluttony, from
Late Latin crapulentus meaning very drunk, which is from Latin crapula: intoxication,
from the Greek kraipale.
eat / drink or both, greedily
and noisily or gluttonously
lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days
~ to groke, is to gaze at somebody while they
are eating in the hope that they will give you some of their food. I am sure most
if they new this word, would use it
shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician
common noun meaning a spot, pimple, or sty, but in Scotland, it is a verb meaning