​Viking – Someone who takes trips

Viking – Norse seafarer, mainly speaking the Old Norse language, who raided and traded from their Northern European homelands. The use as ‘Scandinavian pirate’ can be dated back to 1801 and comes from the old Norse word ‘vikingr’ meaning ‘see-rover’, which was actually a variant of the Latin word ‘vicus’ meaning ‘village’, in the 10th…

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: 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…

Vote – To support a person or idea

Vote – To make a choice The word ‘vote’, in its current meaning, dates back to around the middle of the 15th century. It has its roots in the Latin word ‘votum’ which meant ‘a vow’, the Roman’s took voting very seriously and considered it a vow to support a person or an idea.