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#1531 - 05/03/00 07:48 AM Re: Etymologies
paulb Offline

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
re pumpernickel:

Brewer has: the coarse rye-bread ("brown George") eaten in Germany, especially in Westphalia. Thackeray applied the term as a satirical nickname to petty German princelings (His Transparency, the Duke of Pumpernickel") …

Shorter Oxford refers to its earlier sense of 'lout' or 'stinker'.

#1532 - 05/03/00 08:41 AM Re: Etymologies
jmh Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Once again I've got myself in a cross cultural stew.

My (other) daughter came home from school in Edinburgh with a message saying that she needed new gym-shoes (the little, cheap(ish) black or white rubber-bottomed affairs sometimes called plimsoles). In Lancashire, in the North of England, where I come from they are known as "pumps". She was mortified when I asked one of her friends where she got her "pumps" from - I think the local interpretation of the word has more to do with pumpernickle than I had realised!

#1533 - 05/05/00 12:33 PM Re: Etymologies
patatty Offline

Registered: 03/20/00
Posts: 19
Loc: Orange County Calif.
Thanks to Bear, paulb, wsieber, jmh et al.

I now know much more about pumpernickel that I did (or wanted to?).

Just kidding. These posts are always stimulating, if only to make us marvel at the unexpected scenery awaiting us around the next bend.

#1534 - 03/17/01 12:55 PM Re: Etymologies
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
The word "henchman" has an interesting etymology. When important knights had to ride into crowded places, to have both hands free to prevent an assassination attempt, they had a trusted bodyguard lead their horse. The horse was a "hengst" so the bodyguard who led it was a "hengstman" which was corrupted into "henchman".

#1535 - 03/19/01 03:40 AM Re: Etymologies
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
Was this before or after the days of Hengist and Horsa?


#1536 - 03/22/01 09:57 PM Re: Etymologies
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
A friend who knows me well gave me a set of "The Queen's
English" cards for my birthday. Here is a good one:


"An indefinite noun for all the nameless parts, contents, or mechanics of a thing (c. 1919). Originally, gubbins was standard English for fish parings, fish offal, or all the workings of a fish (seventeenth century). In its present sense, the word may be related also to the obsolete noun
'gobbon', for fragments, and to 'gobbet', referring to a mouthful or an amorphous lump of something (especially of flesh hacked or vomited).

U.S. translation: Let's have the whole kit and caboodle."

These cards are published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc.

#1537 - 04/07/01 12:55 AM .
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

#1538 - 09/24/01 06:27 PM Re: Etymologies
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Etymologies when learned, can be indeed interesting. But conversely, there are words for which the etymology may be very difficult to discover. In Chaucer's The Knight's tale, from the Canterbury Tales, the word "anlass" is translated as "dagger". Who can tell me the etymology of "anlass"?

#1539 - 09/24/01 07:39 PM .
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

#1540 - 09/25/01 05:08 PM Re: Etymologies
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
W3 has an illustration of a tapering dagger and insists there is some relationship to the word awl; actually, not very interesting.

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