‘Temptation’ in the Lord’s Prayer

‘Temptation’ in the Lord’s Prayer

  Notre Dame du Port – Clermont Ferrand (France)         To this day I suckle at the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and as an old man ...

The resistible rise of Marine Le Pen

The resistible rise of Marine Le Pen

     The new, reassuring face of old extremism       Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Gospel ...

La langue française est-elle sexiste ?

La langue française est-elle sexiste ?

    You can read the article in English here Vous pouvez lire l’article en anglais ici       Considérons les termes français suivants, avec leurs équivalents anglais :   ...

Highlights

point-blank – de but en blanc

point-blank – de but en blanc

  Gunner’s quadrant Quadrant consisting of two arms of unequal length joined ...
to buttonhole

to buttonhole

            The verb buttonhole not only means ...
a fine kettle of fish

a fine kettle of fish

            The word kettle is from Old ...

Latest News

lubber

lubber

    Nowadays, lubber is short for landlubber, which designates a person unfamiliar with the sea or sailing. But the original meaning of lubber was a big, clumsy, stupid fellow, especially one who lives in idleness. According to an unconvincing etymology, this noun is from Old French lobeur, the agent of the verb lober, meaning […]

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to wet one’s whistle

to wet one’s whistle

  How Are You Going To Wet Your Whistle (When the whole darn world goes dry) a Prohibition song by Francis Byrne, Frank McIntyre & Percy Wenrich (1919) source: The Authentic History Center       Since medieval times, the word whistle has been jocular for the mouth or throat as used in speaking or […]

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warts and all

warts and all

  Peter Lely – Portrait of Oliver Cromwell       In 1988, during the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, Vice-President George H. W. Bush reached into history for a ringing battle cry: As Abraham Lincoln said, here I stand—‘warts and all.’   But Bush was not quoting Abraham Lincoln. Here I stand is attributed to […]

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by rote

by rote

  At school in the year 2000 From a series of futuristic pictures, by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists, first produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris     Dating back to the early 14th century, the word rote means mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned.   The phrase by rote […]

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ham-fisted – ham-handed

ham-fisted – ham-handed

  W. A. Bishop       The ham is the part of the hindquarters of a pig or similar animal between the hock and the hip, hence, in cookery, the meat of this part, especially when salted or smoked.   The comparison between large hands and hams (aided by the alliteration ham-hand) gave rise […]

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potash

potash

        Potash is an alkaline potassium compound, especially potassium carbonate or hydroxide. Potassium is the chemical element of atomic number 19, a soft silvery-white reactive metal of the alkali-metal group. Its symbol is K.   Although, chemically, potassium is the basis of potash, etymologically, the former derives from the latter. The sense […]

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keep your shirt on

keep your shirt on

  illustration for the 1867 edition of Sut Lovingood’s Daddy, Acting Horse     Of American origin, the phrase keep your shirt on has the same meaning as keep your hair on: stay calm, be patient. But it is based on a different image: that of taking off one’s shirt before getting into a fight. […]

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keep your hair on

keep your hair on

  Ned Buntline, Buffalo Bill Cody, Giuseppina Morlacchi, Texas Jack Omohundro 19th century       The phrase keep your hair on means stay calm or be patient. It seems to be based on the image of pulling one’s hair out in exasperation, anger or frustration. However, it is worth noting that a contributor to Notes and Queries […]

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shirty

shirty

  Children swing on a lamp post in Lambeth, 1893     The adjective shirty means: – angry (temporarily); – ill-tempered (by nature); – apt to become quickly angered.   It was first defined in 1859 in The Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words, by John Camden Hotten: shirty, ill-tempered, or cross. When […]

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cricket

cricket

  The evolution of the cricket bat (The first cricket bat looked like a hockey stick) source: World Cricket Watch     The French ‘jeu de la crosse’ – 18th century The English game of cricket – 18th century       ♦ The name of the insect related to the grasshoppers dates back to the […]

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