Sunday, April 15, 2018

Some Word Origins



A clue is anything that guides or directs. It comes from the Middle Ages where the word was clewe, also cleue, meaning a ball of thread or yarn. In Greek mythology Theseus made it back out of the deadly Minotaur’s labyrinth by unspooling a ball of yarn so he could retrace his steps. Eventually, clew took on the metaphorical meaning of something that will lead you to a solution, with the spelling being changed to Clue. 

Btw . . . 
If your only clue is a corned beef sandwich, can you solve the crime? 
It was Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the knife 


The daisy performs a daily routine of “sleeping” at night by closing and “waking” in the morning by opening up again. Because of this unusual trait and the whorled appearance of the flower, the daisy was given the Old English name dægeseage, meaning literally “day’s eye.” 

Btw . . . 
What did Daisy Duck say when she purchased lipstick? 
Put it on my bill. 


Disaster comes from the Greek "dis" meaning bad, and "aster", meaning star. The ancient Greeks used to blame calamities on unfavorable planetary positions. 



Middle English (denoting a regulation requiring people to extinguish fires at a fixed hour in the evening, or a bell rung at that hour): from Old French cuevrefeu, from cuvrir ‘to cover’ + feu ‘fire’. The current sense dates from the late 19th century. 


Groggy, meaning lethargic, sluggish, originated in the 18th century with a British man named Admiral Vernon, whose sailors gave him the nickname “Old Grog” by reason of his cloak, which was made from a material called “grogram”, a weatherproof mixture of silk and wool. In 1740, he decreed that his sailors should be served their rum diluted with water, rather than neat. This was called “grog”, and the feeling experienced by sailors when they’d drunk too much of it was thus called “groggy”. 


The word “genuine” comes from the Latin word “genuinus”, meaning “innate”, “native” or “natural”, itself derived, somewhat surprisingly, from the Latin word “genu”, meaning “knee”. This unlikely origin arises from a Roman custom in which a father would place a newborn child on his knee in order to acknowledge his paternity of the child. This practice also gave rise to an association with the word “genus”, meaning “race” or “birth”. In the 16th century the word “genuine” meant “natural” or “proper”, and these days we use it to mean “authentic”.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.