Sycophant: ‘To show a fig’, Read more:

Sycophant: Comes from the Latin word ‘sycophanta’, which meant something quite different from today, ‘slanderer’ (c 1500s). ‘Sycophanta’ has its roots in the Greek ‘sykophantes’ which comes from a combination of ‘skyon’ meaning ‘fig’, and ‘phainein’ meaning ‘to show’. ‘To show a fig’ was a vulgar gesture in Greek times made by pushing the thumb…

Addiction: Latin for ‘To declare’, Read more:

Addiction: Is a relatively recent word, at least in its current usage. It has only been used to relate to a chemical dependence since 1910, previously it meant ‘devotion’. It has its roots in the Latin word ‘addictus’ which meant in a literal sense ‘to sell’ or ‘award’ – essentially to give over. It was…

Romance – ‘In the Roman style’, Read more:

It being valentine’s day, I thought I would explain the very essence of romance, well the word anyway. Romance, in its current usage, dates back to the 1650s, where it (of course) came from the French, who used the word ‘Romantique’ to refer to a romantic story characterised by an idealised love affair. The French…

Embuggerance

Embuggerance – An obstacle (natural or artificial) that gets in the way of progress. This word comes from military slang, often used as part of the phrase ‘embuggerance factor’ to describe how much of a problem is caused by something. The Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English dates the phrase back to the British military…