Saturday, April 25, 2020

Wordiness Is Next to Godliness

Like the flu and the coronavirus, language is constantly evolving.

This week’s word-link list is a bit brief. We had a bit of an emergency in the Hollandbeck household this week — involving my 72-year-old father, an unstable ladder, and four or five broken ribs — that left me relocated and rather busy. Thankfully, the injured party should recover fully, eventually.

The Village Idiom

idioms, word history

That Anatoly Liberman, at the Oxford University Press blog, was tracking down the named people in some English idioms caught my interest. What I found when I read was a collection of idioms I had never heard before — as coy as Croker’s mare, as wise as Waltham’s calf, as learned as Dr. Doddipol — from the right (as opposed to left, not wrong) side of the Atlantic. So not only do you get a fun little trip through these phrases’ history, you get a slew of new idioms to play with in “Who Is Dr. Doddipol?

Bacon It Till You're Makin' It

word history, etymology

Patricia O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman of Grammarphobia this week do their best to answer the question Why is a strip of bacon called a rasher? (They also delve into the history of the adjective rash.) If you can read their article without craving the wonderful taste of warm bacon, you’ve more self-control than I.

Zump Truck

neologisms, quarantine

This week’s video comes from We Love Hip Hop — not one of my usual sources for lexical goodness. They’re talking about a new word on the rise: zumped, getting dumped over Zoom.

All's Dwell That Ends Dwell

word history, etymology

It’s long been espoused that words that contain a K sound are inherently funny. But for my comedic tastes, nothing can hold a candle to words that start with dw-. (I’m a dweeb, I know.) James Harbeck of Sesquiotica wanders through the nuances and history of another dw- word, dwell, with stops at poems from Tennyson and Dickinson.

Pay It Backward

etymology, self-promotion

I wrote briefly about the etymology of the word pay this week at The Saturday Evening Post in “Pay It Backward.” Its origins have less to do with receiving what one has earned and more to do with getting one’s creditors to calm down.

Featured image by Kim Carter, CC BY-SA 3.0.