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#14969 - 01/09/01 05:13 PM chemistry lesson  
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of troy Offline
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Thank's Shanks! I learned a thing or two from Isaac Asimov's World of Cabon, and World of Nitrogen, but i never took a class in chemisty beyond HS Chemistry (more than 30 years ago!)--which while i liked it, i remember more as a math class than anything else-- I never knew a use for Borax--(well aside from washing) 20 Mule Team is still a brand of Borax available to US consumers, and they used to sponser a Western-- I never could understand why someone would brave the Death Valley desert for a bit of laundry soap.


#14970 - 01/09/01 08:21 PM Re: Poking the Borax  
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Bobyoungbalt Offline
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Maybe it has to do with frogs, as in "Brek-ek-kek Borax".


#14971 - 01/09/01 11:31 PM Post deleted by musick  
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#14972 - 01/10/01 12:28 AM Re: Poking the Borax  
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this too shall pass
<<waiting for tsuwm at this point???>>

I had nothing to contribute to this thread, but here's the obligatory pastes from OED, fwiw at this late date:

borak - Austral. and N.Z. slang. [Aboriginal Australian. Cf. barrack v.2]

Nonsense, humbug; chaff, banter; esp. in to poke (the) borak, to make or poke fun.

1845 T. McCombie Arabin 273 Borack, gammon, nonsense. 1882 Bulletin (Sydney) 9 Sept. 9 A smart fellow was ‘poking borak’ at them, and asked, ‘Is the snow in Japan the same as it is in Tasmania?’ 1898 in M. Davitt Life & Progr. Australasia xxxv. 192 A jest is ‘poking borac’. 1904 Blackw. Mag. June 832/1 One of the crowd was poking borak and said something pretty bad to him at the beginning. 1916 J. B. Cooper Coo-oo-ee ix. 113 At the same time he wondered whether Nipper was not ‘pokin' borak’ at him. 1944 J. H. Fullarton Troop Target iv. 34 You wouldn't be poking the borax, would you?

borax - var. borak. {they don't connect this with the other borax at all}

barrack - v.2 {a separate entry from the military barrack}
[app. orig. Australian (? alteration of borak), but E.D.D. cites barrack ‘to brag, to be boastful of one's fighting powers’, barracker ‘a braggart’, and barracking ‘bragging, boastfulness’ from northern Ireland.]
intr. To shout jocular or derisive remarks or words of advice as partisans against a person, esp. a person, or side collectively, engaged in a contest. Also, with for, to support (a player, speaker, etc.) (esp. by shouting). (Said of a section of the crowd of spectators, orig. Australian.) Also transf. b. trans. To shout in this way at (a player, speaker, etc.). Hence "barracking vbl. n. and ppl. a.; also "barracker n., one who barracks.

joe (waiting for dogot) friday

N.B. - truth be told, I didn't expect to find this one in the OED; just goes to show....

#14973 - 01/10/01 02:13 AM Re: Poking the Borax  
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Jackie Offline
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Helen, borax requires evaporation to form; thus deposits will only be found in deserts.

Now: (forgive me, Jackie, Father S.).
What, pray tell, is that all about?


#14974 - 01/10/01 03:56 AM Re: Poking the Borax  
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Capital Kiwi Offline
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Well, the OED, while not always authoritative, usually gets most things right. I still find it difficult to believe it came from borak, but, who knows?

I rather fancy the explanation of the use of borax for gold assaying purposes, but ...



The idiot also known as Capfka ...
#14975 - 01/10/01 01:51 PM Re: Poking the Borax  
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NicholasW Offline
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But as you see from the quotations, and which I earlier mentioned for just this reason, 'borax' first occurs in 1944, a hundred years after 'borak'.

When I earlier mentioned the OED's reference to 'barrack' and said I couldn't see a connexion, I refrained from adding details. They say to see the EDD. So I did. There's a Northern Ireland word 'barrack' meaning 'boast, esp. of one's fighting skill'.

The original meaning of the word 'barrack' = 'cantonment' is a soldier's tent or booth. Ultimate origin unknown -- Spanish, from unknown earlier language (OED suggests Celtic and one or two others). But that could give rise to 'boast, swagger like a soldier'.

On the other hand there is also 'bark' extended to various noisy senses, including 'crow, boast' recorded from WYorks in the EDD. I don't know whether it's phonetically plausible to derive 'barrack' from 'bark'.


#14976 - 01/10/01 02:15 PM Re: Poking the Borax  
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of troy Offline
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rego park
In reply to:

borax requires evaporation to form; thus deposits will only be found in deserts.


Well borax is a salt-- but there are salt deposits to be found in non desert areas, presumably the areas were deserts in the distant past– or they are dried lake beds from salt lakes.

There are salt mines in NY (Watkin's Glen area– well known to auto race fans.) The salt deposits are deep underground, and are mined by pumping down water, extracting the brine, and evaporating the water. Watkin's Glen, even if you have never been there is not a desert or even close to one.

And there are solid salt "quarries" in what is now southern Poland–still not "played out" even though mining has been going on since the Roman's time. I don't think of Poland has large extensive deserts-- though like NY state, it might have some small deserts or desert like areas.

So salt mining is not only done in the desert. I just never had any idea of what borax was used for besides washing. I actually prefer hydrated sodium carbonate to hydrated sodium borate for cleaning. (Washing soda--not Borax) and for really tough jobs, tri-sodium phosphate– but use of tri-sodium is restricted.


#14977 - 01/10/01 04:29 PM Post deleted by musick  
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#14978 - 01/10/01 04:36 PM Re: Poking the Borax  
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Jackie Offline
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3) Oh nothing...

'S'ok, my noted (notated? notable? notorious??) friend.

I've missed posts myself, without quite knowing how. I think it's to do with maverick's complaint about the 'New'
icon being capricious. I'm glad Godot caught up with you.
I'm still waiting.




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