Tag Archives: medicine
don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

  An Indian judge is checking the teeth of a horse during a horse show in Dholera, some 110 km from Ahmedabad on 8th January 2012. Some 150 horses from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan states of India participated in the event. To showcase the pedigree and raise awareness about the breeds, the equestrian club of […]

Continue Reading
poor as a church mouse

poor as a church mouse

  woodwork in Easingwold Parish Church – Diocese of York Robert Thompson, the Kilburn craftsman, invariably carved a little mouse on his work. photograph: Visit Easingwold     The phrase as poor as a church mouse means extremely poor. It is first recorded in The royalist a comedy (1682), by the English author Thomas D’Urfey (1653-1723): ’Gad if he threatens […]

Continue Reading
a little bird told me

a little bird told me

  Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid) Honoré Daumier (1808-79)     The phrase a little bird told me is used to indicate that the speaker knows something but chooses to keep the identity of their informant secret.   The earliest occurrence of the phrase that I could find is in The Chapter of Accidents […]

Continue Reading
mad as a March hare – as a hatter

mad as a March hare – as a hatter

  The March Hare and the Hatter dunking Dormouse (illustration by John Tenniel - 1865 - Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)       Phrases associating animals with madness – in the sense of lunacy or angriness – have long existed. For example, in The Comedy of Errors (around 1594), Shakespeare used the phrase (as) mad as a buck: It would make a man […]

Continue Reading
on the side of the angels

on the side of the angels

  Benjamin Disraeli, photographed by Cornelius Jabez Hughes – 1878         The phrase on the side of the angels means on the side of what is right.   It was coined by Benjamin Disraeli in an 1864 speech at Oxford University.   Intense controversy was then in progress over the implications of […]

Continue Reading
hidebound

hidebound

  Frontispiece to Sylva Sylvarum, Or, A Natural History, in Ten Centuries by Francis Bacon       The adjective hidebound means unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention.   The word dates back to the mid-16th century as a noun denoting a malnourished condition of cattle.   In Thesaurus Linguæ Romanæ […]

Continue Reading
dandelion – pissenlit

dandelion – pissenlit

  the 1905 edition of Le Petit Larousse illustré, a French-language encyclopaedic dictionary published by the Éditions Larousse In 1890, Eugène Grasset (1845-1917) designed the image of la Semeuse (the Sower) blowing dandelion seeds, which accompanies the motto of the Éditions Larousse, Je sème à tout vent (I sow to the four winds).     The word dandelion is from French dent de lion, in Medieval […]

Continue Reading
Unexpected etymological twins

Unexpected etymological twins

                          Doublets (or etymological twins) are words in one given language that go back to the same etymological source but differ in form and meaning because they arrived at their present state by different routes. In many cases: – one of these routes is […]

Continue Reading
barmy

barmy

    Barm is the froth that forms on the top of fermenting malt liquors. It is used to leaven bread, and to cause fermentation in other liquors. This is why the literal senses of the adjective barmy are: – of, full of, or covered with, barm, – frothing. Therefore, barmy came to be applied […]

Continue Reading
‘flu’

‘flu’

  The English word flu is an abbreviation of influenza, an Italian word from Medieval Latin influentia, from which the English word influence is also derived. Besides denoting a contagious disease, Italian influenza has the various senses of English influence. But originally, both English influence and Italian influenza had the general sense of an influx, flowing matter. They […]

Continue Reading
123456

Unblog.fr | Créer un blog | Annuaire | Signaler un abus