Tag Archives: vegetal
apricot

apricot

  Malus Persica. The Peache tree – Malus Armeniaca. The Aprecock tree from A New Herball, or Historie of Plantes     In A New Herball, or Historie of Plantes, published in 1578, Henry Lyte wrote: Of the Peache and Abrecock trees The Kindes There be two kindes of Peaches, whereof the one kinde is […]

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to season – assaisonner

to season – assaisonner

  Michelle Shocked (born Karen Michelle Johnston)     The noun season is from Old French seson (Modern French saison), which is generally said to be from Latin satio(n-), act of sowing, later time of sowing, from the root of serere, to sow.   However, season is estación in Spanish, estació in Catalan, estação in […]

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to play gooseberry – tenir la chandelle

to play gooseberry – tenir la chandelle

        A gooseberry is a third person in the company of two people, especially lovers, who would prefer to be alone. The word is especially used in the phrase to play gooseberry.   This figurative use of gooseberry appeared in the early 19th century: a gooseberry was a chaperon, someone who ‘played propriety’ […]

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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 […]

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to turn up one’s toes

to turn up one’s toes

  Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845)     To turn up one’s toes, which means to die, derives from the phrase to turn up one’s toes to the daisies.   This phrase appeared in The Norfolk Tragedy. An Old Song to a New Tune, a tale written by Richard Harris Barham under the pen name of “Thomas […]

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pushing up daisies

pushing up daisies

  Pushing Daisies American television series – October 2007- June 2009           To be pushing up (the) daisies is to be dead and buried.   Daisies had been associated with death before (read to turn up one’s toes), but to be pushing up (the) daisies was originally WWI British slang. In January […]

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fresh as a daisy

fresh as a daisy

        The word daisy is from Old English dæges ēage, meaning day’s eye. This name alludes to the fact that the flower opens in the morning and closes at night, as the human eye does. Perhaps its petals, which close over its bright centre at the end of the day, were also thought to resemble human eyelashes. […]

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the last straw

the last straw

  Thomas Hobbes       The last (or final) straw is a further difficulty or annoyance, typically minor in itself but coming on top of a series of difficulties, that makes a situation unbearable. This is from the phrase the last straw that breaks the (laden) camel’s back, a reference to the carrying of […]

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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 […]

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the forbidden fruit

the forbidden fruit

  Eve offering the apple to Adam in the Garden of Eden by Lucas Cranach the Elder (circa 1472-1553)     According to the post-biblical Christian tradition, the apple is the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in defiance of God’s commandment. However, in the Book […]

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