Subscribe: OUPblog » Lexicography
http://blog.oup.com/category/reference/lexicography/feed/
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
Tags:
acts act  appeared oupblog  appeared  drama acts  etymological  etymology gleanings  etymology  gleanings  oupblog  words   
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: OUPblog » Lexicography

OUPblog » Lexicography & Language



OUPblog » Lexicography & Language



Last Build Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:30:09 +0000

Copyright: (c) Oxford University Press
 



Nine of diamonds, or the curse of Scotland: an etymological drama in two acts: Act 1

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:30:02 +0000

The origin of this mysterious phrase, "nine of diamonds," has been discussed for over two hundred years. Nor are surveys wanting. I cannot say anything on this subject the world does not know, and I have no serious preferences for any of the relatively promising hypotheses.

The post Nine of diamonds, or the curse of Scotland: an etymological drama in two acts: Act 1 appeared first on OUPblog.




Etymology gleanings for October 2017

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 11:30:24 +0000

Singular versus plural. What feel(s) like failed relationships…. The dilemma is as old as the hills: English speakers have always felt uncertain about the number after what. An exemplary treatment of this problem will be found in the old editions of H. W. Fowler’s Modern English Usage (the entry what 2).

The post Etymology gleanings for October 2017 appeared first on OUPblog.




Revenons à nos moutons!

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:30:42 +0000

I keep returning to my sheep and rams because the subject is so rich in linguistic wool. Last time (see the post for 11 October 2017), I looked at the numerous etymological attacks on sheep and came to rather uninspiring results.

The post Revenons à nos moutons! appeared first on OUPblog.




Sheepskin and mutton

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:30:05 +0000

This is a sequel to the previous post of 4 October 2017. Last time I mentioned an embarrassment of riches in dealing with the origin of the word sheep, and I thought it might not be improper to share those riches with the public.

The post Sheepskin and mutton appeared first on OUPblog.




Sheep and lambs on an etymological gallows

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 11:30:16 +0000

Animal names are so many and so various that thick books have been written about their origins, and yet some of the main riddles have never been solved.

The post Sheep and lambs on an etymological gallows appeared first on OUPblog.




Etymology gleanings for September 2017

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 11:30:49 +0000

Cognates and borrowing once again It has been known for a long time that the only difference between borrowing and genetic relation is one of chronology.  Engl. town once meant “enclosure,” as German Zaun still does. Russian tyn also means “fence.” There is a consensus that the Russian word is a borrowing from Germanic because […]

The post Etymology gleanings for September 2017 appeared first on OUPblog.




Trashing Thurse, an international giant

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:30:43 +0000

While working on my previous post (“What do we call our children?”), which, among several other words, featured imp, I realized how often I had discussed various unclean spirits in this blog. There was once an entire series titled “Etymological Devilry.” Over the years, I have dealt with Old Nick, grimalkin, gremlin, bogey, goblin, and […]

The post Trashing Thurse, an international giant appeared first on OUPblog.




What do we call our children?

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 11:30:32 +0000

In the Indo-European languages, most words for “mother,” “father,” “son,” and “daughter” are very old—most (rather than all), because some have been replaced by their rivals. Thus, Latin filia “daughter” is the feminine of filius “son,” and filius has nothing to do with son, which is indeed ancient.

The post What do we call our children? appeared first on OUPblog.







A fake etymology of the word “fake,” with deep thoughts on “Fagin” and other names in Dickens

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 11:30:49 +0000

I do not know the etymology of fake, and no one knows, but, since the phrase fake news is in everybody’s mouth, I am constantly asked where the word fake came from. I’ll now say what I can about this subject, in order to be able to refer to this post in the future and from now on live in peace.

The post A fake etymology of the word “fake,” with deep thoughts on “Fagin” and other names in Dickens appeared first on OUPblog.




Our shortest words continued: “of,” “both,” and (again) “if”

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 11:30:42 +0000

Last week, we looked at the history of the conjunction if, and it turned out that the Dutch for if is of. The fateful question asked “at dawn,” when “Scheherazade” had to stop her tale, was: “Are English if and of related?”

The post Our shortest words continued: “of,” “both,” and (again) “if” appeared first on OUPblog.




A few more of our shortest words: “if,” “of,” and “both”

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 11:30:44 +0000

The post of 21 June 2017 on the “dwarfs of our vocabulary” was received so well that I decided to return to them in the hope that the continuation will not disappoint our readers. Those dwarfs have a long history and have been the object of several tall tales.

The post A few more of our shortest words: “if,” “of,” and “both” appeared first on OUPblog.




Etymology gleanings for July 2017

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:30:08 +0000

First of all, I would like to thank our readers for their good wishes in connection with the 600th issue of The Oxford Etymologist, for their comments, and suggestions. In more than ten years, I must have gone a-gleaning about 120 times.

The post Etymology gleanings for July 2017 appeared first on OUPblog.




Two numerals: “six” and “hundred,” part 2: “hundred”

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 11:30:21 +0000

Like the history of some other words denoting numbers, the history of hundred is full of sticks and stones. To begin with, we notice that hundred, like dozen, thousand, million, and billion, is a noun rather than a numeral and requires an article (compare six people versus a hundred people); it also has a regular plural (a numeral, to have the plural form, has to be turned into a noun, or substantivized, as in twos and threes, at sixes and sevens, on all fours, and the like).

The post Two numerals: “six” and “hundred,” part 2: “hundred” appeared first on OUPblog.




Two numerals: “six” and “hundred,” part 1

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 11:30:28 +0000

The reason for such a strange topic will become clear right away. The present post is No. 600 in the career of “The Oxford Etymologist.” I wrote my first essay in early March 2006 and since that time have not missed a single Wednesday.

The post Two numerals: “six” and “hundred,” part 1 appeared first on OUPblog.




Boasting and bragging

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 07:30:40 +0000

No one likes boasters. People are expected to be modest (especially when they have nothing to show). For that reason, the verbs meaning “to boast” are usually “low” or slangy (disparaging) and give etymologists grief and sufficient reason to be modest.

The post Boasting and bragging appeared first on OUPblog.




From the life of words, Part 3: the names of some skin diseases

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:30:36 +0000

The scourge of the Middle Ages was leprosy. No other disease filled people with equal dread. The words designating this disease vary. Greek léprā is a substantivized feminine adjective (that is, an adjective turned into a noun—a common process: compare Engl. the blind and blinds, with two ways of substantivization).

The post From the life of words, Part 3: the names of some skin diseases appeared first on OUPblog.




The dwarfs of our vocabulary

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:30:20 +0000

I receive all kinds of questions about etymology. Unless they are responses to my posts, they usually concern slang and exotic words. No one seems to care about and, as, at, for, and their likes. Conjunctions and prepositions are taken for granted, even though their origin is sometimes obscure and their history full of meaning.

The post The dwarfs of our vocabulary appeared first on OUPblog.




Mid-June etymology gleanings

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 11:30:15 +0000

John Cowan pointed out that queer “quaint, odd” can be and is still used today despite its latest (predominant) sense. Yes, I know. Quite intentionally, I sometimes use the phrase queer smile. It usually arouses a few embarrassed grins. My students assume that a man in the winter of his days is so un-cool that he does not know what this adjective now means.

The post Mid-June etymology gleanings appeared first on OUPblog.




English idioms and The British Apollo

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 11:30:56 +0000

In 1708, London witnessed the appearance of The British Apollo, or Curious Amusements for the INGENIOUS. To which are Added the most Material Occurrences Foreign and Domestick. Perform’d by a Society of GENTLEMEN. VOL. I. Printed for the Authors, by F. Mayo, at the Printing-Press, against Water-Lane in Fleet-Street.

The post English idioms and The British Apollo appeared first on OUPblog.




From the life of words, part 2

Wed, 31 May 2017 11:30:02 +0000

I am picking up where I left off last week. At first sight, nothing could be more straightforward than the adjective still. It has always meant “fixed, not moving.” We sit still, come to a standstill, and enjoy still lifes (that is, pictures of living things in a state of rest).

The post From the life of words, part 2 appeared first on OUPblog.




From the life of words, part 1

Wed, 24 May 2017 11:30:34 +0000

From time to time, various organizations invite me to speak about the history of words. The main question I hear is why words change their meaning. Obviously, I have nothing new to say on this subject, for there is a chapter on semantic change in countless books, both popular and special.

The post From the life of words, part 1 appeared first on OUPblog.




At bay: where is that bay?

Wed, 17 May 2017 11:30:06 +0000

To keep somebody or something at bay means “to keep a dangerous opponent at a distance; to hold off, ward off a disaster, etc.” The very first interpreters of this idiom guessed its origin correctly. They stated that bay here means “to bark” and that at bay refers to hunting.

The post At bay: where is that bay? appeared first on OUPblog.




Monthly gleanings for April 2017

Wed, 10 May 2017 11:30:15 +0000

The previous post on Nostratic linguistics was also part of the “gleanings,” because the inspiration for it came from a query, but a few more tidbits have to be taken care of before summer sets in.

The post Monthly gleanings for April 2017 appeared first on OUPblog.




Two posts on “sin”: a sequel

Wed, 03 May 2017 11:30:26 +0000

The colleague who wrote me a letter is a specialist in Turkic and a proponent of Nostratic linguistics. He mentioned the Turkic root syn-, which, according to him, can mean “to test, prove; compete; prophesy; observe; body, image, outward appearance,” and wondered whether, within the framework of Nostratic linguistics, this root can be compared with the root of Engl. sin.

The post Two posts on “sin”: a sequel appeared first on OUPblog.