Tag Archives: medicine

Froggy

  And I saw three vncleane spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, & out of the mouth of the beast, & out of the mouth of the false prophet. Book of Revelation, 16:13 (King James Version - 1611)     MEANING   (informal and derogatory): a French person     ORIGIN […]

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to have a bee in one’s bonnet

    MEANING   to be preoccupied or obsessed with something     ORIGIN   This phrase is an alliterative and metonymic* transformation of the earlier one’s head full of bees, meaning scatter-brained, unable to think straight, as if bees are buzzing around in one’s head. (* An alliteration: bee and bonnet have the same […]

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psychopomp

psychopomp

  Charon and Psyche (circa 1883), by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)       MEANING   the spiritual guide of a living person’s soul     ORIGIN   The noun psychopomp, also psychopompos, is from ancient Greek ψυχοπομπός (= psukhopompos), meaning conductor, or guide, of souls. This Greek noun is from ψυχή (= pshukhe), soul, […]

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to burke

to burke

      MEANING   – to murder in such a way as to leave no marks on the body, usually by suffocation – figuratively: to get rid of, silence, or suppress     ORIGIN   While some chose the profession of body-snatching, for others it was a more accidental career. William Burke and William […]

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boutique

boutique

  image: Salle 103 – Latin (Collège de Vinci – Belfort – France)         MEANINGS OF BOUTIQUE   a small shop selling fashionable clothes or accessories a business serving a sophisticated or specialised clientele     ORIGIN   In the second half of the 18th century, English borrowed the French noun boutique […]

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glabella

glabella

  title page of A tracte containing the artes of curious paintinge, caruinge & buildinge (1598)       MEANING   anatomy: the smooth part of the forehead above and between the eyebrows     ORIGIN   This noun is a specific application of the Latin adjective glabella, feminine of glabellus, diminutive of glaber/glabr-, meaning […]

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‘vet’

‘vet’

  Rudyard Kipling by John Collier – 1891       To vet is to examine carefully and critically for deficiencies or errors, and specially to investigate the suitability of a person for a post that requires loyalty and trustworthiness. The British novelist, short-story writer and poet Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is credited with being the […]

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‘gin’

‘gin’

  Gin Lane (1751) by William Hogarth     The Latin noun juniperus is the origin of the English juniper and of the Old French genevre (modern French genièvre), which was adopted in Middle Dutch as genever (modern Dutch jenever). In the early 17th century, this Dutch noun came to be used in the sense […]

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whisky

whisky

  A Nip against the Cold – 1869 by the Scottish painter Erskine Nicol (1825-1904)     Whisky, or whiskey, is a spirit distilled originally in Ireland and Scotland, and still chiefly in the British Isles, from malted barley with or without unmalted barley or other cereals, in the USA chiefly from maize or rye. […]

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forty winks

forty winks

  William Kitchiner by William Brockedon (circa 1826) image: National Portrait Gallery     MEANING   The expression forty winks means a short sleep, especially during the day. Here, the noun wink means a closing of the eyes for sleep, a nap. This sense has survived in not to sleep (or get) a wink, or […]

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