​Wine – Older than words

Wine – Alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. Make no mistake about it, wine is old, humans have been making, and drinking, wine since just about straight after we managed to stand on two legs. So of course, the word ‘wine’ dates back to the oldest common language of India and Europe – Proto-Indo-European, the…

​Oaf – Norse Elf

Oaf – A person acting foolishly, usually through negligence or lack of understanding. The word ‘oaf’ has been used since the 1630s and is a slight change from an earlier word, ‘auf’ which was old Norse for ‘elf’. The word was used initially to mean a silly person in a fun manner, but has recently…

Phrase origin – By the skin of my teeth

By the skin of my teeth – To manage something by only a narrow margin. This phrase comes from the christian bible, its first use was in the Geneva bible of 1557 where the phrase was: “I haue escaped with the skinne of my tethe.” In the King James version of the bible, this bacame…

Phrase origin: No skin off my nose

The phrase ‘no skin off my nose’ means that the speaker does not care about something because it doesn’t affect them. The first written reference of the phrase is from 1910 in ‘The Cosmopolitan: Volume 49’. There is a quite wonderful story, which is, sadly, almost certainly untrue, that a cult in the 16th century…

​Karma – We are what we make

Karma – some call it ‘what goes around, comes around’, however it can be more accurately described as the Buddhist concept of the ‘the sum of actions of a person’s life’.  The word comes from the Sanskrit ‘krnoti’ meaning ‘make’, which originated from the Proto-Indo-European word ‘kwer’ which meant the same thing. 

​Kareoke – Empty orchestra

Karaoke – A past-time involving songs sung to banging tracks of popular hits. This is quite a well known one but let’s lay it down for posterity. The word was first coined in 1979 and combined the Japanese words ‘kara’ meaning ’empty’ and ‘oke’ meaning ‘orchestra’, a sombe thought but ‘kareoke’ means ’empty orchestra’.