Phrase: To Bite The Bullet

Our phrase of the week is: To bite the bullet. This phrase is a relatively recent construction, its first known recording was in 1891 where it was used in Rudyard Kipling’s The light that failed, but it was likely in common parlance by that time. The phrase was originally very literal; on the battlefields medics…

Trivial beginnings

Trivial: From tri meaning three and via meaning road. In Roman days people chatted where 3 roads met. The open spaces at the confluence of different roads were ideal for getting together with others from neighbouring streets, fulfilling similar roles to the piazzas of Italy today. The Roman aristocracy held meetings in the buildings of…

Apocalypse Cancelled

Apocalypse: Greek apokalyptein “uncover, disclose, reveal”. With the news of the day we thought an appropriate word would be ‘Apocalypse’. But the good news is, we don’t need to worry about an apocalypse. Sadly not because the end of the world is not nigh , but because that’s not actually what apocalypse means in its…

Mortgage

I spoke to a mortgage advisor today, can’t help but think how Mort is an archaic term for death and gage is from gauge, ‘Measure until death’

Jerkin: likely meanibg day jacket

Jerkin: A close fitting jacket, usually without sleeves, worn by men in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. I have had a request for the origin of the word ‘Jerkin’, the word itself can be traced back to circa 1510 CE but unfortunately its origins are uncertain. The most likely origin is the old French word…

Milk – Rub juice

Of course, we’ve all wondered who the first human was, to look at an animal and think ‘I’m going to rub that and drink whatever comes out of it’, unfortunately, we just don’t have the historical records to find out. But we can find out the etymology of ‘milk’. Milk reached English via the Saxons,…

Edge – from PIE ‘ak’

The word ‘edge’ comes to us from old English, where the word was ‘ecg’, it meant the same as today but was also the word for ‘a sword’. The word can be traced back through Proto-Germanic to Proto-Indo-European where the word was ‘ak’.