To fit together
This week, we celebrate the tiny Proto-Indo-European word, *ar-. a word that meant to fit together.
Its progeny are legion.
*ar- gave us words that acknowledge the fitting together necessary for military action:
& the fitting together it takes to cease military action:
*ar- gave us words that acknowledge the fitting together that is art:
It gave us the names of critters that fit together:
And words that recognize other ways things might fit together:
Even words that suggest fitting together is simply the way of things:
And a word that may just be where all this fitting together started:
Did any of these fitting together words surprise you? If so, please say so in the comments section.
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: the Merriam Webster, OED, Collins Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, & Etymonline.
There is magic in lists, & a very particular sort of magic in lists of idioms. To celebrate that magic, here’s a list of idioms beginning with the word pull.
pull a fast one
pull a muscle
pull in the reins
pull one’s punches
pull one’s weight
pull oneself together
pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps
pull a rabbit out of a hat
pull someone down
pull someone’s chain
pull someone’s leg
pull something off
pull something out of a hat
pull something out of thin air
pull something together
pull the long bow
pull the plug on something/someone
pull the rug out from under something/someone
like pulling teeth
pull the trigger on something
pull the wool over someone’s eyes
pull up stakes
pull up with a start
I hope that brought a smile. Any responses are welcome.
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: the MyEnglish Teacher site, OED, TheFreeDictionary, Oxford Dictionary, & Etymonline.
The process of preening ourselves to look smart, tidy or stylish, has any number of labels. Here are a few.
Since the late 1800s we can get duded up (or dooded/doodied up if preferred). This term came about in the late 1800s from the word dude (city slicker).
The Proto-Indo European word *sleigh- meant to glide smoothly, & gave us the English word slick, which made its way across the pond to America, where one variant came to mean preening oneself to look smart, tidy or stylish -- slicked up.
We can also get spruced up. This idiom seems to have been born of the fancy leather jerkins worn by Prussian soldiers back when the word spruce used to refer to Prussians.
In the early 1800s a fancily dressed individual could be referred to as a spiff, which gave birth to the late 1800s idiom spiffed up.
And since the 1940s we’ve had the term gussied up. Though nobody’s certain of its origins, it may have come from a familiar name for Augustus (Gussie), or from the word gusset.
In the early 1800s when one tidied oneself, the verb tidivate came along (from the word tidy + verb ending -vate). It soon shifted to titivate.
So, next time you need to look fancy, what term will you use for the process of getting there?
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: the OED, Etymonline. Free Dictionary, Merriam Webster, Collins Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, & Wordnik
Most English words have their source in Latin, Greek, or Germanic languages. But not all. Slogan is one such word.
Slogan comes from the Celtic term slough gairm, which roughly translates to service cry. When it moved from Celtic into Gaelic, it became sluogh ghairm, meaning battle cry. From there, it made its way to English, first appearing as slogorne in 1510, & morphing to the spelling we know today by 1670.
By 1704 slogan meant distinctive word or phrase used by a political or business group.
So all this suggests that the modern citizen has a historical argument for feeling overwhelmed or embattled by the war cries of advertising & poltical slogans.
My thanks go out to this week’s sources: the OED, Etymonline. Merriam Webster, Collins Dictionary, & Wordnik (image from Daily Mail)
I write for teens, narrate audio books, bake bread, play music, and ponder the wonder of words in a foggy little town on California's central coast.
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