Tag Archives: Isidore of Seville
the ring finger – l’annulaire

the ring finger – l’annulaire

        In the Etymologies (Etymologiarum sive Originum libri viginti), compiled between around 615 and the early 630s in the form of an encyclopaedia arranged by subject matter, St Isidore (circa 560–636), bishop of Seville and Doctor of the Church, wrote the following about the names of the fingers (the original Latin words are in […]

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imbecile

imbecile

  Orphan Man with Cap and Walking Stick (1882), by Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) image: Van Gogh Gallery     The English adjective imbecile is, via French, from the Latin imbecillus, or imbecillis, meaning weak, feeble, in body or mind. In his etymological encyclopaedia Originum sive Etymologiarum (The Origins or Etymologies), the Spanish archbishop and Doctor of the Church St Isidore of Seville (circa […]

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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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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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