Thanks to a phone call from Dennis Rogers of Pflugerville, Texas, I’ve been reminded of my interest in regional language use. This week’s brief post includes some examples I hope this taste will get you sorting through your memories for regional usage you can send my way for a future post.
Dinkum entered English n 1888, meaning hard work. Hailing from Australia, dinkum added the meaning honest & genuine by 1894. Though it may have its roots in Lincolnshire, nobody’s really sure where dinkum came from.
The Old English word for ant was æmete, which explains why in some parts of England ants are called emmets, Interestingly,holiday tourists in & around Cornwall are also known as emmets.
Swivet appears to have come from the Kentucky environs in at late 1800s and nobody’s sure about its roots. A swivet is a fluster, a confusion. A related idiom is “Don’t get your knickers in a swivet.”
May your week find you avoiding emmets & swivets of all kinds, enjoying good company (most likely virtual) and good food (hopefully not virtual), & getting a restful respite from dinkum (first meaning).
In the meantime, please send any regional words, idioms or turns of phrase my way.
Big thanks to this week’s sources: Suko’s Notebook, Wordnik, Etymonline & the OED.
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.