Tag Archives: worldwide

one’s pigeon

  The development of trading contacts between Britain and China led to the emergence in 19th-century China of a trading language consisting of basic English and some Chinese grammatical forms. In this hybrid language, pidgin was derived from, and originally meant, business. (The phonetic development was perhaps via an intermediate form /pidginiss/ (with replacement of […]

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to run amok

    MEANING   The adverb amok, also spelt amuck, is used in the phrase to run amok, which means to behave uncontrollably and disruptively.     ORIGIN   Via Spanish amuco and Portuguese amouco, amok is from a Malay word thus defined by Charles Payson Gurley Scott in The Malayan Words in English (1897): āmuḳ, […]

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rickshaw

rickshaw

  jinrikishas, from The Gist of Japan (1897), by the Reverend R. B. Peery     The English noun rickshaw is a shortening of the Japanese jinrikisha, which seems to have first appeared in English in A Ramble Round the World, 1871 (1874), the translation by Mary Elizabeth Herbert (1822-1911) of Promenade autour du monde, 1871 […]

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ketchup

ketchup

              Originally, ketchup was a sauce made from the juice of mushrooms, tomatoes, walnuts, etc., used as a condiment with meat or fish.   The word ketchup appears to be from Chinese (Amoy dialect) kōetsiap, brine of pickled fish or shellfish, from kōe, seafood, and tsiap, sauce.   It […]

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mumbo jumbo & jumbo

mumbo jumbo & jumbo

      MUMBO JUMBO     The word mumbo jumbo has the following meanings: foolish religious reverence, ritual, or incantation; meaningless or unnecessarily complicated language; an object of superstitious awe or reverence.   Mumbo jumbo is an anglicised approximation to a Mandigo term for an idol or god venerated by certain West African tribes. […]

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Communing in the South Pacific

    The ten years I spent as a French teacher in several small South Pacific countries have taught me a lot. Being immersed in radically different civilisations has greatly helped me: not only to define myself but also to learn what real respect consists of.   In particular, I spent three years on one […]

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