Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur (1735-1813) image: Encyclopædia Britannica MEANING a period of unusually calm dry warm weather, often accompanied by a hazy atmosphere, occurring in late ...
the Proms (2015) – photograph: BBC A promenade concert is a concert at which some of the audience stand rather than sit. In French, promenade is attested in 1599 in the sense of a place for promenading, and in 1671 in that of a leisurely walk. With addition of the […]
The Death of Chatterton (1856), by Henry Wallis (1830-1916) A slogan was originally a war cry or battle cry employed by Scottish Highlanders or Borderers, or by the native Irish, usually consisting of a personal surname or the name of a gathering-place. The word is from Gaelic sluagh-ghairm, composed of […]
Robespierre, after guillotining France, its government and its inhabitants, guillotines Sanson [= the executioner]. original text: Robespierre, après avoir guillotiné la France, son gouvernement et ses habitants, guillotine Sanson. (18th-century caricature, from La Guillotine en 1793 (1908), by Hector Fleischmann – image: Wikimedia Commons) By a curious twist of […]
Mongols’ Invasion (Mooko shuurai - 1847), by Kikuchi Yoosai (1781-1878) image: Wikimedia Commons Shinto (the way of the gods, from Chinese shên, gods, and tao, way) is the native Japanese religion dating from the early 8th century and incorporating the worship of ancestors and nature spirits and a belief in sacred power (kami) in […]
a lamia, from The History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents (1658) (A lamia was a fabulous monster supposed to have the body of a woman, and to prey upon human beings and suck the blood of children.) MEANING a cause of obsessive fear, anxiety or irritation ORIGIN […]
photograph: Health This Year MEANING a semi-precious variety of agate with different colours in layers ORIGIN Via Anglo-Norman and Old French forms such as onix and onice (Modern French onyx), the English word is from Latin onyx/onych-. This Latin noun is from Greek ὄνυξ/ὀνυχ- (onux/onukh-), which literally meant […]
title page of The discouerie of witchcraft (1584) MEANING contrary to nature, reason, or sense; absurd; ridiculous ORIGIN The adjective preposterous is from Latin praeposterus, meaning reversed, inverted, perverted, distorted, absurd, etc. This Latin adjective is composed of the adverb prae, in front, before, and the adjective […]