“Fog” and a story of unexpected encounters

“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river,… Fog down the river….” This is Dickens (1852). But in 1889 Oscar Wilde insisted that the fogs had appeared in London only when the Impressionists discovered them,
“Fog everywhere. Fog up the river,… Fog down the river….” This is Dickens (1852). But in 1889 Oscar Wilde insisted that the fogs had appeared in London only when the Impressionists discovered them, [More]

Blessing and cursing, part 2: curse

Curse is a much more complicated concept than blessing, because there are numerous ways to wish someone bad luck. Oral tradition (“folklore”) has retained countless examples of imprecations. Someone
Curse is a much more complicated concept than blessing, because there are numerous ways to wish someone bad luck. Oral tradition (“folklore”) has retained countless examples of imprecations. Someone [More]

Blessing and cursing, part 3: curse (conclusion)

The verb curse, as already noted, occurred in Old English, but it has no cognates in other Germanic languages and lacks an obvious etymon. The same, of course, holds for the noun curse. The OED
The verb curse, as already noted, occurred in Old English, but it has no cognates in other Germanic languages and lacks an obvious etymon. The same, of course, holds for the noun curse. The OED [More]

Blessing and cursing part 2: curse (conclusion)

The verb curse, as already noted, occurred in Old English, but it has no cognates in other Germanic languages and lacks an obvious etymon. The same, of course, holds for the noun curse. The OED
The verb curse, as already noted, occurred in Old English, but it has no cognates in other Germanic languages and lacks an obvious etymon. The same, of course, holds for the noun curse. The OED [More]

Etymology gleanings for October 2016

Mr. Madhukar Gogate, a retired engineer from India, has written me several times, and I want to comment on some of his observations. He notes that there is no interest in the reform in Great Britain
Mr. Madhukar Gogate, a retired engineer from India, has written me several times, and I want to comment on some of his observations. He notes that there is no interest in the reform in Great Britain [More]

Blessing and cursing part 2: curse

Curse is a much more complicated concept than blessing, because there are numerous ways to wish someone bad luck. Oral tradition (“folklore”) has retained countless examples of imprecations. Someone
Curse is a much more complicated concept than blessing, because there are numerous ways to wish someone bad luck. Oral tradition (“folklore”) has retained countless examples of imprecations. Someone [More]

The origin of the word “slang” is known!

Caution is a virtue, but, like every other virtue, it can be practiced with excessive zeal and become a vice (like parsimony turning into stinginess). The negative extreme of caution is
Caution is a virtue, but, like every other virtue, it can be practiced with excessive zeal and become a vice (like parsimony turning into stinginess). The negative extreme of caution is [More]

The origin of the word SLANG is known!

Caution is a virtue, but, like every other virtue, it can be practiced with excessive zeal and become a vice (like parsimony turning into stinginess). The negative extreme of caution is
Caution is a virtue, but, like every other virtue, it can be practiced with excessive zeal and become a vice (like parsimony turning into stinginess). The negative extreme of caution is [More]

Sticking my oar in, or catching and letting go of the crab

Last week some space was devoted to the crawling, scratching crab, so that perhaps enlarging on the topic “Crab in Idioms” may not be quite out of place. The plural in the previous sentence is an
Last week some space was devoted to the crawling, scratching crab, so that perhaps enlarging on the topic “Crab in Idioms” may not be quite out of place. The plural in the previous sentence is an [More]

Down to earth, or moving slowly, with the body close to the ground: “creep” and “crawl”

My travel through the English kr-words began with the verb creep, for I have for a long time tried to solve its mystery. On the face of it, there is no mystery. The verb has existed in Germanic from
My travel through the English kr-words began with the verb creep, for I have for a long time tried to solve its mystery. On the face of it, there is no mystery. The verb has existed in Germanic from [More]