Whitewashing – Cheap lies

Whitewashing: Distortion of the facts to glorify the results, particularly by those in authority. The first recorded use of the term was as far back as 1591. Whitewash initially referred to the use of cheap white paint for coating walls, in order to give the appearance of cleanliness. It was in the early 1800s that…

Mark – Boundaries dedicated to gods

Mark – To make a visible impression on. Where does the word come from, and does it have anything to do with the name? The word mark, reached us via the Anglo-Saxons when they came when they came to Britain in around 400 CE, their word was ‘mearc’ which in turn, came from the proto-germanic…

Precipitate – Before head

Precipitate, it has its obvious meaning – to start something, but some of its forms overlap with rain… ‘precipitating’ for instance can mean to start something, or it can mean it’s raining. Where does it get off? Overlapping with another word so haphazardly? It’s a rarity, most words have either one meaning or more than one,…

Ramshackle – Ransacked

Ramshackle – meaning ‘in a state of severe disrepair.’ It was originally ‘ramshackled’ (1670) and was an alteration of the word ‘ransackled’ – the alteration is likely thanks to the Scottish dialect. ‘Ransackled’ is the past participle of the word ‘ransack’ and it’s easy to see how these words relate. ‘Ransack’ is a word from…

Yank/yankee – Little Dutch person

Yank / Yankee – Actually means something slightly different depending on who’s saying it; outside of the USA it is used to refer to an American, in the US, it refers to someone from the Northern states, and in the Northern states, it is specifically someone from the North-East, it seems no-one is keen to accept…