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: (Default)


Some time ago, I picked up this gem of a second-hand coat-pocket-sized book at my local market for the magical price of £1.25, a steal from the original RRP of £8.99 for a 2007 publication. Packed within it are 128 pages, including over 100 photographs of notable inn signs, and short insights to the stories behind them. The ideal companion to the history-loving, trivia-obsessed tipple-quenching Londoner. Can you think of anyone...?

Here are some of my favourites:

The Assembly House: (Kentish Town Road NW5)
The name refers to the fact that travellers gathered here before making their journey to the north across Hampstead Heath hoping that as a group they would avoid being attacked by highwaymen.

The Barley Mow: (Dorset Street W1)
Dates back to 1791 claiming to be the 'oldest pub in Marylebone', and it probably did serve farmers who came to the village of Marylebone from what was then countryside surrounding London. Many of its original features are intact including small snugs and a private bar. The name is more often attached to country pubs as a 'mow' is a stack and as barley is an ingredient of beer, the barley mow sign merely indicated that beer was sold in the house.

The Black Friar: (Queen Victoria Street EC4)
This pub, built in 1878, remodelled by H. Fuller Clark 1903-05, and refurbished in the early twentieth century, is a miraculous survival of art nouveau decoration. The area takes its name from the Dominican friary, which was situated here from the thirteenth century until its dissolution in 1536. The friars, founded by St Dominic in 1216, were known as the Black Friars from the colour of their robes. The trial of Catherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII took place in the Blackfriars Hall. The whole facade and interior of the pub is ornate with friars imbibing drink or having other connections with beer. The vaulted back room was added after the First World War to provide extra seating space.

The Blind Beggar: (Whitechapel Road E1)
The Blind Beggar was Henry, son of Simon de Montfort who was killed at the battle of Evesham in 1265. Henry was left for dead but escaped by assuming the guise of a beggar. The sign shows him accompanied by a nobleman's daughter who is said to have married him in the east of London. The event was recorded in a play, The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, first performed in 1659. General Booth of the Salvation Army 'opened fire' in the pub with his first sermon in 1865. The pub was also the site of the murder of George Connell by the rival gangster Ronnie Kray in March 1966. Connell greeted Kray with the words, 'Well, look who's here' before being shot through the forehead.

The Cannon: (Cannon Street EC4)
The sign shows a trooper by the sign of a cannon, which he is about to fire. Though the name is taken from the street, Cannon Street was once Candelewrithstreet, where candlewrights had their shops.

Cat & Mutton: (Broadway Market E8)
This is a splendid Victorian pub with a sign showing a cat running away on hind legs waving a leg of mutton in its right paw being chased by a furious butcher. There has been a pub on this site since at least 1680 when the building stood on the Porters' Path, a drovers' road leading to Smithfield Market. John Rocque's map of 1745 identifies it as the Leg of Mutton and it has also been known as the Shoulder of Mutton.

The Dublin Castle: (Parkway NW1)
The pub shows a castle purporting to be that in Dublin. The name dates from the time when the main railway line to the North West from Euston was being driven through Camden Town and Chalk Farm. Navvies from all parts of the British Isles dug the line, but this often led to violence between the national groups. To try to stop the fighting separate pubs were built in the Camden area. The Dublin Castle was the base of the Irish navvies, the Windsor Castle served the English, the Edinboro Castle the Scottish and the Pembroke the Welsh. As the pubs were placed far apart this strategy seems to have kept the peace.

The Flask: (Flask Walk NW3)
Dates back to 1663. The sign shows a thirsty soldier drinking from his flask. The pub was originally called the Thatched House then the Lower Flask. There was an Upper Flask, which has now been demolished. Mineral waters, which were discovered in the vicinity, were exploited for their presumed medicinal qualities and flasks of this mineral water could be bought at the pub. The present building dates from a rebuilding of 1874 intended to serve the local workers and at one time had separate bars dividing the gentry from the working class.

The Hand & Shears: (Middle Street EC3)
The pub stands on the site of a twelfth-century alehouse which served the monks and guests of St Bartholomew's Priory. The sign, which is the guild sign of the Merchant Tailors' Co., commemorates their role in the Smithfield Fair or St Bartholomew's Fair held at Michaelmas every September and one of the largest in London. The officials of the company checked the cloth to ensure that the cloth was sold with the right measure. The Lord Mayor opened the fair, first recorded in 1133, by cutting the first piece of cloth, which seems to have given rise to the tradition of cutting a piece of tape to open an event. The last Cloth Fair was held in 1855. The pub claims to have provided refreshment to those who wished to watch the prisoners leave Newgate Prison for their execution at Tyburn.

The Jerusalem Tavern: (Britton Street EC1)
This is a small building dating back to 1720, through having the sign of the head of St John on a platter, has reference to the Knights Templar who protected pilgrims on their way to and from the Holy Land. The Templars were suppressed in 1314 and their duties were taken over by the Knights Hospitallers, the Knights of the St John of Jerusalem, whose priory was close by.
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

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

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)


Carlsberg Special Brew was invented for Winston Churchill to commemorate his visit to Copenhagen in 1950. Here's what the beer company's official website says about it:
    "Originally called V-øllet (V-Beer), the drink followed the Danish tradition of producing a new beer to celebrate outstanding events such as a royal occasion or European coronation. Churchill's favourite drink was cognac, so in brewing him a commemorative beer, the brewers at Carlsberg created a stronger lager with cognac flavours among its tasing notes. At Christmas in 1952 Special Brew was launched throughout Denmark, and has been available in the UK since the '70's. Special Brew is a full bodied, fruity tasting, strong lager with a good clean bitterness."
I wonder if he liked it. Either way, I'm certainly looking forward to impressing my friends with this lager nugget the next time I'm at a pub that stocks it.
mcgillianaire: (Portcullis Logo)
Before becoming the first Maori Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives in 1993, Sir Peter Tapsell (no, not that one) was an orthopaedic surgeon. Along with Jacques Rogge, the current president of the International Olympic Committee, they are the only ortho surgeons that I know of in the higher echelons of power. There is hope and proof yet for my dad to forge a successful political career in sports medicine. Curiously enough, British Tory MP and current Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell was born just eleven days after his Kiwi namesake. But he's not a medical practitioner.
mcgillianaire: (EU Flag)
It's the world's biggest island yet it's not an independent state. If it were, it would be the world's thirteenth largest country. Yet it's not considered a part of Denmark's overall territory, merely an autonomous country within its Kingdom. It's so big it covers four time zones, but because the vast majority of its 57,000 population lives within just one of these, three zones are simply ignored. So in practice only the GMT-3 zone is ever used. And although it's part of the North American continent, because of its Danish connection, it follows the EU DST.

Tournai

Aug. 11th, 2010 12:15 am
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
It's one of Belgium's oldest cities but did you know that between 1513 & 1519, it was a constituency returning two members to the Parliament of England? Wiki also says an election is known to have taken place there in December 1513. You learn somfin' new everyday!
mcgillianaire: (Football player)
The Red Devils were literally seconds away from their first ever back-to-back goalless draws since the Premier League began in 1992. That's how dominant they have been the last eighteen years, so it should've come as no surprise to me when they snatched a last-minute equaliser in stoppage time, away at the Manchester derby. No pressure on Chelsea to beat Spurs later today. Grr, If I hated them before...

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