#NailedIt

Nov. 12th, 2014 09:15 pm
mcgillianaire: (Bedouin in Desert)
mcgillianaire: (Union Jack)

mcgillianaire: (Scale of Justice)
This makes for morbid reading.

(HT @LondonHistorian)
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
1590s, originally cole florye, from Italian cavoli fiori "flowered cabbage," plural of cavolo "cabbage" + fiore "flower" (from Latin flora; see flora).

First element is from Latin caulis "cabbage" (originally "stem, stalk") which was borrowed into Germanic and is the source of cole in cole-slaw and of Scottish kale. The front end of the word was re-Latinized from 18c.; the back end was influenced by flower (n.). The boxer's cauliflower ear is from 1907.

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary

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I was inspired to make this entry after I saw an intriguing tweet which said that the introduction of cauliflower to England could be dated to a dinner given to the Privy Council in November 1590 (Joan Thirsk, Food in Early Modern England: Phases, Fads and Fashions 1500-1760 (2007) p. 289). A subsequent Google search produced another interesting tidbit from the author's note of Ian Mortimer's historical fiction work, The Final Sacrament (under the pen name James Forrester):

"I stated in my Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England that the cauliflower was introduced to England at a dinner for the Privy Council in 1590, but subsequently I noticed one in Joachim Beuckelaer's painting in the National Gallery, Four Elements: Fruit and Vegetable Market (1569) and another in a work by the same artist dated 1564, so clearly they were available in the Low Countries in the 1560s."

While Wikipedia offers a short excerpt into its origins and journey through Europe before its arrival in This Sceptred Isle:

"For such a highly modified plant, cauliflower has a long history. The oldest record of cauliflower dates back to the 6th century B.C. Pliny wrote about it in the 2nd century after Christ. In the 12th century, three varieties were described in Spain as introductions from Syria, where it had doubtless been grown for more than a thousand years. It is found in the writings of the Arab botanists Ibn al-'Awwam and Ibn al-Baitar, in the 12th and 13th centuries when its origins were said to be Cyprus. They were introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century, and are featured in Olivier de Serres' Théâtre de l'agriculture (1600), as cauli-fiori "as the Italians call it, which are still rather rare in France; they hold an honorable place in the garden because of their delicacy", but they did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV."

And there you have it, the etymology and history of the beloved cauliflower. If you're anything like me, you'll never look at another cabbage flower (or the next one, at any rate) the same way again... bon appetit!
mcgillianaire: (Bedouin in Desert)
Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has announced a package of reform proposals, including lifting some restrictions on the use of the Kurdish language and on wearing Islamic headscarves. This bit in particular caught my attention:

"Kurdish groups had also demanded that Erdogan go further on liberalizing restrictions on the use of their language, so that Kurdish children would have the right to education in their mother tongue.

Kurds see current restrictions as one of the key tools of cultural repression in Turkey, and the issue has been a source of tension that has fueled more than 30 years of violent conflict. Kurds make up 20 percent of Turkey's nearly 75 million citizens.

Erdogan's proposal would allow private schools to have some classes in Kurdish. The reforms would also allow the letters q, w and x, which are part of the Kurdish alphabet but not the Turkish one, to be used in official documents.

The seemingly narrow grammatical law had become a nationalist issue on both sides, forcing Kurds, for instance, to spell their traditional spring festival of "Newroz" the Turkish way: "Nevroz." The restrictions have been used to prosecute activists and journalists."

( Original Link, via BBC Magazine Monitor )

Slut

Sep. 20th, 2013 07:05 pm
mcgillianaire: (Union Jack)
c.1400, "a dirty, slovenly, or untidy woman," probably cognate with dialectal German Schlutt "slovenly woman," dialectal Swedish slata "idle woman, slut," and Dutch slodder "slut," but the ultimate origin is doubtful. Chaucer uses sluttish (late 14th-century) in reference to the appearance of an untidy man. Also "a kitchen maid, a drudge" (mid-15th-century; hard pieces in a bread loaf from imperfect kneading were called slut's pennies, 18th-century). Meaning "woman of loose character, bold hussy" is attested from mid-15th-century; playful use of the word, without implication of loose morals, is attested from 1660s.

Our little girl Susan is a most admirable slut, and pleases us mightily. [Pepys, diary, Feb. 21, 1664]

Sometimes used 19th-century as a euphemism for bitch to describe a female dog. There is a group of North Sea Germanic words in sl- that mean "sloppy," and also "slovenly woman," and that tend to evolve toward "woman of loose morals" (cf. slattern, also English dialectal slummock "a dirty, untidy, or slovenly person," 1861; Middle Dutch slore "a sluttish woman").

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary

[This entry was inspired by this news story.]

Potpourri

Sep. 18th, 2013 09:30 pm
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
also pot-pourri, 1610s, "mixed meats served in a stew," from French pot pourri "stew," literally "rotten pot" (loan-translation of Spanish olla podrida), from pourri, past participle of pourrir "to rot," from Vulgar Latin *putrire, from Latin putrescere "grow rotten" (see putrescent). Notion of "medley" led to meaning "mixture of dried flowers and spices," first recorded in English 1749. Figurative sense (originally in music) of "miscellaneous collection" is recorded from 1855.

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
"the sea between southern Europe and northern Africa," c.1400, from Late Latin Mediterraneum mare "Mediterranean Sea" (7th-century), from Latin mediterraneus "midland;" the original sense being of "sea in the middle of the earth," from medius "middle" (see medial (adj.)) + terra "land, earth" (see terrain). The Old English name was Wendel-sæ, so called for the Vandals, Germanic tribe that settled on the southwest coast of it after the fall of Rome. The noun meaning "a person of Mediterranean race" is from 1888.

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
Maverick:
1867, "calf or yearling found without an owner's brand," so called for Samuel A. Maverick (1803-1870), Texas cattle owner who was negligent in branding his calves. Sense of "individualist, unconventional person" is first recorded 1886, via notion of "masterless."

Gobbledygook:
also gobbledegook, "the overinvolved, pompous talk of officialdom" [Klein], 1944, American English, first used by U.S. Representative Maury Maverick, Democrat-Texas, (1895-1954), a grandson of the original maverick and chairman of U.S. Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II. First used in a memo dated March 30, 1944, banning "gobbledygook language" and mock-threateaning, "anyone using the words activation or implementation will be shot." Maverick said he made up the word in imitation of turkey noise. Another word for it, coined about the same time, was bafflegab (1952).

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary
mcgillianaire: (Union Jack)
Why UKIP is a party of extremists

It's not often one agrees with a Tory, or worse still, freely and publicly admit to it. But on this occasion I've made an exception because Matthew Parris has largely articulated what I think of the Great British public's latest political squeeze:

"The spirit of Ukippery is paranoid. It distorts and simplifies the world, perceiving a range of different ills and difficulties as all proceeding from two sources: foreigners abroad, and in Britain a ‘metropolitan liberal elite’ (typically thought to be in league with foreigners). None of the problems it identifies (with immigration, with EU bureaucracy, with the cost of the EU, with the ambitions of some Europeanists, with political correctness, with health-and-safety, with human rights legislation etc) are anything less than real; but to the un-extremist mind they need to be tackled ad hoc, one by one, rather than seen as the hydra-headed expression of a single monster.

Very well, you ask, if immigration/foreigners/Brussels are not the overwhelming cause of the problems of modern Britain, what is? I would reply that there is no overwhelming cause, but many: some insoluble. I’d number among these a general decadence arising from nearly 70 years of peace, security and rising incomes. The uncompetitiveness that renders us easy prey for the manufactories of, not Europe, but China and the developing world; the levels of welfare provision that rob indigenous Britons of hunger to work (not the poor immigrants who then take the work)… but this analysis lays many of our problems at the door of many of the voters attracted to Ukip, and is of less interest to the party.

It is the single-cause, single-prism, single-root-explanation way of interpreting the world and its sorrows (a way of thinking and seeing that has its attraction to all human beings) that leads to (or is the fount of) extremism: it is one of the reasons religion, with its forces-of-evil focus, has so often led people that way."

You can read the rest of the article here. To me, UKIP is the acceptable face of xenophobia. And because it's the first such party to shake up mainstream politics, in a way that the far-right could only dream of, it's attracted many of their supporters. Those of us who do not identify with such politics should be worried, because UKIP is led by an ambitious, able and articulate leader, Nigel Farage. To outward appearances, he seems a perfectly reasonable English gentleman. Only some of that is true. He's certainly English and he's probably a gentleman, but he's definitely not reasonable. He may not be preaching to the lowest common denominator, but it's awfully close to it. It's still demagoguery and it appeals to our worst instincts.

Umbrage

Aug. 31st, 2013 11:55 pm
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
early 15th-century, "shadow, shade," from Middle French ombrage "shade, shadow," from Latin umbraticum, neuter of umbraticus "of or pertaining to shade," from umbra "shade, shadow". Many figurative uses in 17th-century; main remaining one is the meaning "suspicion that one has been slighted," first recorded 1610s; hence phrase to take umbrage at, attested from 1670s.
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
1580s, "traveling case or bag for clothes and other necessaries," from Middle French portemanteau "traveling bag," originally "court official who carried a prince's mantle" (1540s), from porte, imperative of porter "to carry" (see porter (n.1)) + manteau "cloak" (see mantle (n.)).

Portmanteau word "word blending the sound of two different words" (1882), coined by "Lewis Carroll" (Charles L. Dodgson, 1832-1898) for the sort of words he invented for "Jabberwocky," on notion of "two meanings packed up into one word." As a noun in this sense from 1872.

SOURCE: Online Etmology Dictionary

Holiday

Aug. 22nd, 2013 11:10 pm
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from Old English haligdæg "holy day; Sabbath," from halig "holy" (see holy) + dæg "day" (see day); in 14th-century meaning both "religious festival" and "day of recreation," but pronunciation and sense diverged 16th-century. As a verb meaning "to pass the holidays" by 1869.

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary

====

This is one of those etymologies that seems so obvious, yet was easily glossed over perhaps because of it. A part of me feels like I already knew this etymology, but another part of me also felt surprised at not knowing this, if that makes sense.
mcgillianaire: (Portcullis Logo)
Judging by these letters written to the Guardian some years ago, we have every right to question whether the practice of using numbered ballots has been abused by the authorities (ie spooks) in such a way as to deny us a secret ballot during elections.
mcgillianaire: (Hooka Pipe)

My sister arrived in Oman a few days ago and is having lots of fun with our puppy. I can't wait to join them at the end of the week!
mcgillianaire: (Royal Coat of Arms)
So following on from my previous post, I don't think there's much doubt that the sexiest accents in the British Isles, particularly when piped from someone of the fairer sex, are Welsh and Scottish, followed closely by Irish and anything else Northern. No offence, Brummie, West Country and London, but your accents do not stimulate the senses. Especially Brummie. I've never heard anything more depressing. Even when someone's chipper, it sounds like their whinging. Of course, it's a personal preference. Nothing does it more for me than a pretty lady with a Glaswegian or broad Welsh accent. Or man, if I'm brutally honest. There's just something about the broad Welsh lilt that makes my nerves tingle. Even just thinking about it... *mmm*
mcgillianaire: (Royal Coat of Arms)
One of the most fascinating aspects of the British Isles, is the variety of accents in such a small geographic area. It has been one of my informal missions to identify as many of them as possible simply from hearing a few words from a new speaker. After more than four years I can confidently pick out the following accents: Scottish, Irish, Geordie, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Scouse, Welsh, Brummie, Multicultural London, Cockney, Estuary, RP and West Country. Within those I can pinpoint Glaswegian, Lancashire accents from the Bolton area and on a lucky day, Northern Irish. But I've a long way to go because I sometimes find it difficult to distinguish Cumbrian (I often find it to be a mix of Geordie/Lancashire/Scottish, particularly depending on where the speaker's from/used to live), East Anglian, Mancunian and West Midlands. I've also spoken to very few people from Lincolnshire so I have little idea what they sound like. More Northern than Southern, I'm sure. In any case, I've got a good platform to work from. In the next four years I want to fine-tune these skills and hone down on actual places where people come from. That would be pretty nifty. So far I can only do that with cities like London, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham.

Turquoise

Nov. 30th, 2011 09:00 pm
mcgillianaire: (Hooka Pipe)
Precious stone, 1560s, replacement from Middle French of Middle English turkeis, turtogis (late 14c.), from Old French turqueise, feminine adjective "Turkish," in pierre turqueise "Turkish stone," so called because it was first brought to Europe from Turkestan or some other Turkish dominion (Sinai peninsula, according to one theory). Cognate with Spanish turquesa, Middle Latin (lapis) turchesius, Middle Dutch turcoys, German türkis, Swedish turkos. As a color name, attested from 1853.

Source: Online Etymology Dictionary
mcgillianaire: (Scale of Justice)
"The campaign to set up the International Criminal Court to prosecute crimes against humanity involved NGOs’ organising international conferences and meetings, supporting Southern CSOs and State participation in the process through funding and information dissemination, and lobbying throughout many countries, including lobbying US Congress and the EU Parliament. The result was the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 17 July 1998, ratified by 120 states and finally coming into force on 1 July 2002. The international system would not have been sufficiently equipped to bring to justice those, such as Slobodan Milosevic, responsible for human atrocities, without this success on the part of NGOs." [LINK]

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