mcgillianaire: (South Park Me)
[SOURCE]

"On this day in 1905, some 450 people attend the opening day of the world’s first nickelodeon, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and developed by the showman Harry Davis. The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged each patron five cents. Nickelodeons (named for a combination of the admission cost and the Greek word for “theater”) soon spread across the country. Their usual offerings included live vaudeville acts as well as short films. By 1907, some 2 million Americans had visited a nickelodeon, and the storefront theaters remained the main outlet for films until they were replaced around 1910 by large modern theaters.

Inventors in Europe and the United States, including Thomas Edison, had been developing movie cameras since the late 1880s. Early films could only be viewed as peep shows, but by the late 1890s movies could be projected onto a screen. Audiences were beginning to attend public demonstrations, and several movie “factories” (as the earliest production studios were called) were formed. In 1896, the Edison Company inaugurated the era of commercial movies, showing a collection of moving images as a minor act in a vaudeville show that also included live performers, among whom were a Russian clown, an “eccentric dancer” and a “gymnastic comedian.” The film, shown at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in New York City, featured images of dancers, ocean waves and gondolas.

Short films, usually less than a minute long, became a regular part of vaudeville shows at the turn of the century as “chasers” to clear out the audience after a show. A vaudeville performers’ strike in 1901, however, left theaters scrambling for acts, and movies became the main event. In the earliest years, vaudeville theater owners had to purchase films from factories via mail order, rather than renting them, which made it expensive to change shows frequently. Starting in 1902, Henry Miles of San Francisco began renting films to theaters, forming the basis of today’s distribution system. The first theater devoted solely to films, The Electric Theater in Los Angeles, opened in 1902. Housed in a tent, the theater’s first screening included a short called New York in a Blizzard. Admission cost about 10 cents for a one-hour show. Nickelodeons developed soon after, offering both movies and live acts."
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
mid 16th century (originally denoting the observation of bird flight in divination): from French, or from Latin auspicium, from auspex ‘observer of birds’, from avis ‘bird’ + specere ‘to look’. (late 16th century: from auspice + -ous.)

[Source]

Discourse

Jun. 14th, 2015 03:30 pm
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
late Middle English (denoting process of reasoning): from Old French discours, from Latin discursus ‘running to & fro’ (in medieval Latin ‘argument’), from verb discurrere, from dis- ‘away’ + currere ‘to run’; the verb influenced by French discourir.

[Source]

Precocious

Jun. 13th, 2015 02:25 pm
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
Mid 17th-C: from Latin praecox, praecoc- (from praecoquere ‘ripen fully’, from prae ‘before’ + coquere ‘to cook’) + -ious.

[Source]
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

----

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!

Candid

May. 12th, 2014 11:05 pm
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
1620s, "white," from Latin candidum "white; pure; sincere, honest, upright," from candere "to shine," (see candle). In English, metaphoric extension to "frank" first recorded 1670s (compare French candide "open, frank, ingenuous, sincere"). Of photography, 1929.

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary
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

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

Josh (v.)

Aug. 24th, 2013 02:00 pm
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
"to make fun of, to banter," 1845, American English, probably from the familiar version of the proper name Joshua, but just which Joshua, or why, is long forgotten. Perhaps it was taken as a typical name of an old farmer. The word was in use earlier than the career of U.S. humorist Josh Billings, pseudonym of Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818-1885), who did not begin to write and lecture until 1860; but his popularity after 1869 may have influence that of the word.
    About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment. ["Josh Billings"]
Related: Joshed; joshing.

SOURCE: Online Etymology Dictionary
mcgillianaire: (BBC Logo)
Every Sunday at 10pm, Carolyn Quinn presents Westminster Hour on BBC Radio 4. For the past five weeks, she has filled a fifteen minute segment before What the Papers Say, with a fascinating profile into the careers of five 20th-century British politicians who "made the weather". The phrase was invented by Winston Churchill in reference to Joseph Chamberlain, the former Colonial Secretary, of whom he wrote, that although he never became Prime Minister, he still managed to play a crucial role in shaping the political agenda of his day. The profiles have been chosen by Vernon Bogdanor*, one of Britain's foremost constitutional experts, as part of a lecture series under this entry's subject title, at London's Gresham College.

Founded in 1597 under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham, an English merchant and financier who founded the Royal Exchange in 1568, the College plays host to over 140 free public lectures each year. In this six-part series, Bogdanor has profiled the political careers of Aneurin Bevan, Iain Macleod, Roy Jenkins, Enoch Powell, Tony Benn and Sir Keith Joseph. All the lectures at the College have already been delivered, while the last segment on Joseph will air this Sunday on Radio 4.

Depending on your interest and/or time, you can listen to the condensed segments from Radio 4 here, if not you can watch, listen, download and even read the full-length lectures at Gresham College here. As a keen student of British politics, these lectures have been thoroughly informative and enjoyable. Bogdanor is undoubtedly an engaging and fluent speaker. He has also clearly researched his material thoroughly. Without giving too much away, one of the most fascinating things I learnt was how Tony Benn had started off as a Labour-centrist or even Labour right-winger, actively supporting and voting for Hugh Gaitskell to become leader in the 1950s, before gradually shifting (permanently) to the hard-left only in the 1970s.

On a more general note, it is indeed incredible the amount of free and easily accessible online multimedia content that we have at our disposal on our politicians. Whether it be a peek into their personal lives on Desert Island Discs, a meeting with their younger self through Archive on 4, their biography by an admirer on Great Lives, a secret memo released via UK Confidential, or a BBC Archive recording, there is an incredible body of material to choose from. And that's just radio content. Add to it these lectures, other Gresham College lectures, other freely available public lectures, BBC documentaries, Channel 4 documentaries and the BBC Parliament channel, and you've got a lifetime's worth of political programming.

(* Bogdanor's most famous former student at Oxford University is the current PM David Cameron, whom he has described as "one of the ablest" students he has taught, whose political views were "moderate and sensible Conservative".)

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.

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