‘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 ...

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to set someone’s teeth on edge

to set someone’s teeth on edge

    John Wycliffe (circa 1330-84) Wycliffe was an English religious reformer. He criticised the wealth and power of the Church and upheld the Bible as the sole guide for doctrine. His teachings were disseminated by itinerant preachers and are regarded as precursors of the Reformation. Wycliffe instituted the first English translation of the complete Bible. […]

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to egg on

to egg on

  acacia (credit: Stan Shebs)       To egg someone on is to encourage them to do something foolish or risky.   This verb has nothing to do with eggs. It is from Old Norse eggja, to incite, itself related to the English noun edge and to the German noun Ecke, corner.   These […]

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cootie

cootie

  detail of an illustration for One Thousand Objects for the Microscope (1869), by M. C. Cooke (8: the coot louse)       The word cootie, meaning a body louse, seems to have originated in the trenches and is first recorded in 1917. Two other related words, coot meaning louse and cooty meaning infested with lice, are attested earlier, […]

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by bell, book, and candle

by bell, book, and candle

  The Excommunication of Robert the Pious (1875) by Jean-Paul Laurens The officiants have just excommunicated Robert by bell, book, and candle, and left the quenched candle behind. Robert II of France was excommunicated by Pope Gregory V for his marriage to Bertha of Burgundy in 996, because she was his cousin.     In a previous article (tace […]

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tace is Latin for candle

tace is Latin for candle

        The obsolete phrase tace is Latin for (a) candle means do not throw light on it, keep it dark, secret. Latin tace means be silent, and candle is symbolical of light.    It was used by Jonathan Swift in A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation, published in 1738 but […]

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Yorkshire tyke

Yorkshire tyke

  The Trial of the Notorious Highwayman Richard Turpin Thomas Kyll’s pamphlet, published 10 days after Turpin’s execution on 7th April 1739, provides an eye-witness account of the trial.       Yorkshire tyke, or simply tyke, is used as a nickname for a person from Yorkshire.   The noun tyke is from Old Norse tík, […]

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toad-in-the-hole

toad-in-the-hole

      Toad-in-the-hole is a dish consisting of sausages baked in batter. Originally, it consisted of a piece of meat baked in batter.   The earliest occurrence of the word is found, in the form toad in a hole, in A General History of the Stage, From its Origin in Greece down to the […]

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banger

banger

  photograph: Lavender & Lovage     It is often said that the noun banger appeared as slang for sausage in the World War One trenches. And it is true that Walter Hubert Downing defined the word in Digger Dialects: A Collection of Slang Phrases used by the Australian Soldiers on Active Duty (1919).   […]

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deaf as an adder

deaf as an adder

  Adult female adder (Vipera berus)   The country people say that an adder can never die till sunset. If it be cut to pieces, the bits will retain their vitality till the sun goes down. They also say that on the adder’s belly will be found the words: If I could hear as well […]

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deuce

deuce

  Augustine of Hippo       MEANING   Dating back to the mid 17th century, the word is used as a euphemism for devil in expressions of annoyance, impatience, surprise, etc., such as what the deuce are you trying to do?, how the deuce are we to make a profit?.     ORIGIN   […]

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