Tag Archives: Romance languages
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 […]

Continue Reading
slave

slave

  Roman mosaic from Dougga, Tunisia (third century AD) The two slaves carrying wine jars wear typical slave clothing and an amulet against the evil eye on a necklace. The slave boy to the left carries water and towels, and the one on the right a bough and a basket of flowers. photograph: Pascal Radigue […]

Continue Reading

easel – chevalet

    An easel is a wooden frame to support a picture while the painter is at work upon it; it is also a similar frame used to support a blackboard. The word is first recorded in 1634 in The Mysteryes of Nature and Art, by John Bate, a writer on mechanics.   It was […]

Continue Reading
whipping boy

whipping boy

  Las Meninas (The young ladies-in-waiting) – 1656 – Diego Velázquez         MEANING   A whipping boy is a person who is blamed or punished for the faults or incompetence of others. This meaning is first recorded in Essays written in the Intervals of Business (1841) by the public servant and writer […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading
Cockaigne

Cockaigne

  Het Luilekkerland (1567) by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-69)     Cockaigne is the name of an imaginary land of easy and luxurious living. The word seems to have first appeared in the Latin compositions of the Goliards, who were wandering students and clerics in England, France, and Germany, chiefly in the 12th and […]

Continue Reading
to wet one’s whistle

to wet one’s whistle

  How Are You Going To Wet Your Whistle (When the whole darn world goes dry) a Prohibition song by Francis Byrne, Frank McIntyre & Percy Wenrich (1919) source: The Authentic History Center       Since medieval times, the word whistle has been jocular for the mouth or throat as used in speaking or […]

Continue Reading
potash

potash

        Potash is an alkaline potassium compound, especially potassium carbonate or hydroxide. Potassium is the chemical element of atomic number 19, a soft silvery-white reactive metal of the alkali-metal group. Its symbol is K.   Although, chemically, potassium is the basis of potash, etymologically, the former derives from the latter. The sense […]

Continue Reading
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 […]

Continue Reading

butter

    The word butter is from Old English butere, of West Germanic origin, and related to Dutch boter and German Butter. These words are based on Latin butyrum, which is also the origin of French beurre, itself the origin of Italian burro.   The Latin word is from Greek boutyron, which has been interpreted, […]

Continue Reading
12345

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