Tag Archives: food
jejune

jejune

      The primary sense of the Latin adjective jejunus was fasting, hungry, abstinent. Figuratively, it meant dry, barren, unproductive, and scanty, insignificant in quantity. It was especially used in the following senses: – poor, barren, powerless – insignificant, trifling, contemptible, mean, low – of speech: meagre, dry, feeble, spiritless – destitute of, without, […]

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‘pie’

‘pie’

  mincemeat pie photograph: André Baranowski (saveur.com)     MEANING   A pie is a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry.     ORIGIN   The word, which appeared in the early 14th century, is of uncertain origin. (No further related word is known outside […]

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Scouse

Scouse

  Albert Dock, Liverpool     MEANING   A Scouse, or Scouser, is a person from Liverpool, Lancashire, and Scouse is the dialect or accent of people from Liverpool. Liverpool is a city and seaport in North-West England, situated at the east side of the mouth of the River Mersey. Liverpool developed as a port […]

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s’more

s’more

      The word s’more, or smore, used chiefly in the plural, represents a rapid pronunciation of some more. Both s’more and some more seem to have originally been US Girl Scout terms. They denote a dessert or snack consisting of toasted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers, typically served outdoors, with the […]

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scurvy

scurvy

  photograph: Australian Skin Institute     Scurvy is a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds, which particularly affected poorly nourished sailors until the end of the 18th century.   One of the earliest attestations of the word is in The Principall […]

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to take the biscuit

to take the biscuit

    MEANING   To take the biscuit (or, chiefly in American English, the cake), often used ironically or as an expression of surprise, means to rank first.     ORIGIN   The phrase originally alluded to biscuit or cake in the sense of a dainty, a delicacy.   To take the cake is first […]

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marmalade

marmalade

  photograph: bbc.co.uk     According to folk etymology, when feeling out of sorts, Mary Queen of Scots could only eat one thing: a conserve made of oranges, which was subsequently named after her. Among the numerous zany versions of the story, the following etymological gem appeared in The Gay Galliard: the Love Story of […]

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mustard

mustard

  black mustard seeds – photograph: Sanjay Acharya     The English word mustard is from Anglo-Norman and Old French forms such as mustarde and moustarde, meaning a condiment prepared with crushed mustard grains. These words are composed of most, meaning must (grape juice before or during fermentation) and the suffix -ard. This condiment was […]

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to eat humble pie

to eat humble pie

  Samuel Pepys (1666) by John Hayls Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) – English diarist and naval administrator. He is particularly remembered for his Diary (1660-9), which describes events such as the Great Plague and the Fire of London.     The phrase to eat humble pie means to make a humble apology and accept humiliation.   […]

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moonraker

moonraker

  Whiltshire     MEANING   A moonraker is a native of the county of Wiltshire, in England.     ORIGIN   Francis Grose explained the word in A Provincial Glossary, with a collection of local proverbs, and popular superstitions (1787): Wiltshire moon-rakers Some Wiltshire rusticks, as the story goes, seeing the figure of the […]

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