anno 2002
anno 2003
anno 2004
collective nouns
phrase etymology
yiddish dictionary
style guide


© Daniel Reisel


January 24, 2003

[Latin appositus, past participle of appnere, to put near : ad-, ad- + pnere, to put; see apo- in Indo-European roots.]
Strikingly appropriate and relevant. See Synonyms at relevant.

January 4, 2003

Latin abrogre, abrogt- : ab-, away ; see ab-1 + rogre, to ask; see reg- in Indo-European roots.
To abolish, do away with, or annul, especially by authority.

February 25, 2003

Middle English, shade, from Old French, from Latin umbrticum, neuter of umbrticus, of shade, from umbra, shadow.
Offense; resentment: took umbrage at their rudeness.
Something that affords shade.
Shadow or shade. See Synonyms at shade.
A vague or indistinct indication; a hint.

eg. to take umbrage at a suggestion

French : mal-, mal- + adroit, adroit ; see adroit.
Marked by a lack of adroitness; inept.
An inept person.

February 22, 2003

i rise to the challenge

February 17, 2003

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin rscibilis, from Latin rsc, to be angry, from ra, anger; see eis- in Indo-European roots.
Prone to outbursts of temper; easily angered.
Characterized by or resulting from anger.

February 16, 2003

daniel reisel

February 13, 2003

Due Diligence

The last stage in the buying process; "The Final Frontier". This is the time when you will have access to all of the company's books, records and files. You will have a pre-determined period in which to investigate the information that you have been given so far to ensure that it 's true and accurate.

February 12, 2003

a. shining gently or playing about surface; flickering; gently radiant. lambency, n.


March 20, 2003

A neoconservative.


[to speak] ex·tem·po·re
Latin ex tempore : ex, of ; see ex- + tempore, ablative of tempus, time.
Spoken, carried out, or composed with little or no preparation or forethought.
In an extemporaneous manner.

That cuts both ways.

Latin vitire, vitit-, from vitium, fault.
To reduce the value or impair the quality of.
To corrupt morally; debase.
To make ineffective; invalidate.

March 1, 2003

Middle English spaundrell, probably from spandre, space between supporting timbers, from Anglo-Norman spaundre, from spandre, to spread out, from Latin expandere ; see expand
The roughly triangular space between the left or right exterior curve of an arch and the rectangular framework surrounding it.
The space between two arches and a horizontal molding or cornice above them.

Latin prflgtus, past participle of prflgre, to ruin, cast down : pr-, forward ; see pro-1 + -flgre, intensive of flgere, to strike down.
Given over to dissipation; dissolute.
Recklessly wasteful; wildly extravagant.
A profligate person; a wastrel.

April 27, 2003

not the brightest bulb in the building

Italian omertà, perhaps from dialectal alteration of umiltà, humility, modesty, from Latin humilits ; see humility.
A rule or code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of the mafia.

April 24, 2003

A History of the Months
The original Roman year had 10 named months Martius "March", Aprilis "April", Maius "May", Junius "June", Quintilis "July", Sextilis "August", September "September", October "October", November "November", December "December", and probably two unnamed months in the dead of winter when not much happened in agriculture. The year began with Martius "March". Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome circa 700 BC, added the two months Januarius "January" and Februarius "February". He also moved the beginning of the year from Marius to Januarius and changed the number of days in several months to be odd, a lucky number. After Februarius there was occasionally an additional month of Intercalaris "intercalendar". This is the origin of the leap-year day being in February. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar (hence the Julian calendar) changing the number of days in many months and removing Intercalaris.

January -- Janus's month
Middle English Januarie
Latin Januarius "of Janus"
Latin Janu(s) "Janus" + -arius "ary (pertaining to)"
Latin Januarius mensis "month of Janus"
Janus is the Roman god of gates and doorways, depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. His festival month is January.

Januarius had 29 days, until Julius when it became 31 days long.

February -- month of Februa
Middle English Februarius
Latin Februarius "of Februa"
Latin Februa(s) "Februa" + -arius "ary (pertaining to)"
Latin Februarius mensis "month of Februa"
Latin dies februatus "day of purification"
Februarius had 28 days, until circa 450 BC when it had 23 or 24 days on some of every second year, until Julius when it had 29 days on every fourth year and 28 days otherwise.

Februa is the Roman festival of purification, held on February fifteenth. It is possibly of Sabine origin.

Intercalaris -- inter-calendar month
Latin Intercalaris "inter-calendar"
Latin Mercedonius (popular name) "?"
Intercalaris had 27 days until the month was abolished by Julius.

March -- Mars' month
Middle English March(e)
Anglo-French March(e)
Old English Martius
Latin Martius "of Mars"
Latin Marti(s) "Mars" + -us (adj. suffix)
Latin Martius mensis "month of Mars"
Martius has always had 31 days.

March was the original beginning of the year, and the time for the resumption of war.

Mars is the Roman god of war. He is identified with the Greek god Ares.

April -- Aphrodite's month
Old English April(is)
Latin Aprilis
Etruscan Apru
Greek Aphro, short for Aphrodite.
Aprilis had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 30 days long.

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She is identified with the Roman goddess Venus.

May -- Maia's month
Old French Mai
Old English Maius
Latin Maius "of Maia"
Latin Maius mensis "month of Maia"
Maius has always had 31 days.

Maia (meaning "the great one") is the Italic goddess of spring, the daughter of Faunus, and wife of Vulcan.

June -- Juno's month
Middle English jun(e)
Old French juin
Old English junius
Latin Junius "of Juno"
Latin Junius mensis "month of Juno"
Junius had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 30 days long.

Juno is the principle goddess of the Roman Pantheon. She is the goddess of marriage and the well-being of women. She is the wife and sister of Jupiter. She is identified with the Greek goddess Hera.

July -- Julius Caesar's month
Middle English Julie
Latin Julius "Julius"
Latin Julius mensis "month of Julius"
Latin quintilis mensis "fifth month"
Quintilis (and later Julius) has always had 31 days.

Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar (hence the Julian calendar) in 46 BC. In the process, he renamed this month after himself.

August -- Augustus Caesar's month
Latin Augustus "Augustus"
Latin Augustus mensis "month of Augustus"
Latin sextilis mensis "sixth month"
Sextilis had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 31 days long.

Augustus Caesar clarified and completed the calendar reform of Julius Caesar. In the process, he also renamed this month after himself.

September -- the seventh month
Middle English septembre
Latin September
Latin septem "seven" + -ber (adj. suffix)
Latin september mensis "seventh month"
September had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 30 days long.

October -- the eighth month
Middle English octobre
Latin October
Latin octo "eight" + -ber (adj. suffix)
Latin october mensis "eighth month"
October has always had 31 days.

November -- the ninth month
Middle English Novembre
Latin November
Latin Novembris mensis "nineth month"
Novembris had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 30 days long.

December -- the tenth month
Middle English decembre
Old French decembre
Latin december "tenth month"
Latin decem "ten" + -ber (adj. suffix)
December had 30 days, until Numa when it had 29 days, until Julius when it became 31 days long.

These sources are somewhat inconsistent. I have chosen interpretations that are predominate among sources or that seem most reasonable.

William Morris, editor, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New College Edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1976

Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Portland House, New York, 1989

William Matthew O'Neil, Time and the Calendars, Sydney University Press, 1975

April 22, 2003

bright eyed and bushy tailed

April 14, 2003

snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory

Short for penultima, from Latin paenultima, feminine of paenultimus, next to last : paene, almost + ultimus, last ; see ultimate.]
The next to the last item in a series.
The next to the last syllable in a word.

snapping at the heels of ...

April 10, 2003

Latin prrins, prrient- present participle of prrre, to yearn for, itch; see preus- in Indo-European roots.
Inordinately interested in matters of sex; lascivious.

Characterized by an inordinate interest in sex: prurient thoughts.
Arousing or appealing to an inordinate interest in sex: prurient literature.


May 22, 2003

Middle English, from Latin obsequisus, from obsequium, compliance, from obsequ, to comply : ob-, to ; see ob- + sequ, to follow; see sekw-1 in Indo-European roots.
Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning.

May 21, 2003

it never rains but it pours

May 17, 2003

French, from Italian svelto, from past participle of svellere, to stretch out, from Vulgar Latin *exvellere, from Latin vellere : , ex-, ex- + vellere, to pull.
Slender or graceful in figure or outline; slim.

Short for sleuthhound.
To track or follow.

Word History: Tracking down the history of the word sleuth requires a bit of etymological sleuthing. The immediate ancestor of our word is the compound sleuthhound, "a dog, such as a bloodhound, used for tracking or pursuing." This term took on a figurative sense, "tracker, pursuer," which is closely related to the sense "detective." From sleuthhound came the shortened form sleuth, recorded in the sense "detective" as early as 1872. The first part of the term sleuthhound means "track, path, trail," and is first recorded in a Middle English work written probably around 1200. The Middle English word, which had the form sloth, with eu representing the Scots development of the Middle English (), was a borrowing of the Old Norse word sldh, "a track or trail."

May 16, 2003

An implement consisting of a long, curved single-edged blade with a long bent handle, used for mowing or reaping.

May 15, 2003

From Latin Trglodytae, a people said to be cave dwellers, from Greek Trglodutai, alteration (influenced by trgl, hole, and -dutai, those who enter), of Trgodutai.
A member of a fabulous or prehistoric race of people that lived in caves, dens, or holes.
A person considered to be reclusive, reactionary, out of date, or brutish.
An anthropoid ape, such as a gorilla or chimpanzee.
An animal that lives underground, as an ant or a worm.

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin mandibula, from Latin mandere, to chew.
The lower jaw of a vertebrate animal.
Either the upper or lower part of the beak in birds.
Any of various mouth organs of invertebrates used for seizing and biting food, especially either of a pair of such organs in insects and other arthropods.

May 9, 2003

French, from Old French soubriquet, chuck under the chin
An affectionate or humorous nickname.
An assumed name.

May 8, 2003

Lager. A classification of beer styles made with a bottom fermenting yeast, lagers generally are smooth, elegant, crisp, and clean.

Ale. A classification of beer styles. A style made with a top fermenting yeast, ales generally are hearty, robust, and fruity.

Stout. A very dark, heavy, top-fermented beer made from pale malt, roasted unmalted barley, and often caramel malt. Stout was first introduced by Guinness as an extra stout version of their porter. The new stout was darker, hoppier and richer than porter, which it gradually overtook in popularity. A distinction is drawn between sweet stout and dry stout: although both are highly hopped, sweet stout is less bitter than dry stout.

Bitter. One of the flavor characteristics of beer, contributed by the hops. In Britain, the draft equivalent of pale ale -- golden brown, top-fermented beer that's usually highly hopped, dry and lightly carbonated. Accounts for about 80% of draft beer sales in English pubs.

There are really only two main types of beer. Ales and lagers. The significant difference between these two types are the way they ferment. Ales are known as top fermenters and can ferment in just a few days. Ales ferment between 68 and 76 degrees. Ales tend to have heavier bodies, more alcohol, a darker hue and are cloudier than lagers. Lagers are bottom fermenters. They take much longer to ferment, anywhere from one to three months, and ferment at a much colder temperature than ales. Lagern means "to store" in German. Lagers will have a cleaner taste and appearance. Lagers also are less hoppy, maltier and have a lighter body than ales. Lagers were invented by Bavarian Monks about 500 years ago when they found they could produce a clearer brew by storing it during the summer in wooden casks in cold subterranean caves.

a pint of the old amber nectar

May 7, 2003

Having the nap worn down so that the filling or warp threads show through; frayed or shabby: threadbare rugs.
Wearing old, shabby clothing.
Overused to the point of being worn out; hackneyed: threadbare excuses.

'threadbare ambition'

Perhaps alteration of sumptuous.
Splendid; delectable.

May 4, 2003

From Priapus, Greek & Roman god of procreation, guardian of gardens and vineyards, and personification of the erect phallus.
Of, relating to, or resembling a phallus; phallic.
Relating to or overly concerned with masculinity.

Latin inchotus, past participle of inchore, to begin, alteration of incohre : in-, in ; see in-2 + cohum, strap from yoke to harness.
In an initial or early stage; incipient.
Imperfectly formed or developed: a vague, inchoate idea.

Late Latin apothesis, from Greek, from apotheoun, to deify : apo-, change ; see apo- + theos, god; see dhs- in Indo-European roots.
Exaltation to divine rank or stature; deification.
Elevation to a preeminent or transcendent position; glorification.
An exalted or glorified example: Their leader was the apotheosis of courage.

June 30, 2003

Latin prflgtus, past participle of prflgre, to ruin, cast down : pr-, forward ; see pro-1 + -flgre, intensive of flgere, to strike down.
Given over to dissipation; dissolute.
Recklessly wasteful; wildly extravagant.
A profligate person; a wastrel.

Latin Pripus, from Greek Pripos: The god of procreation.
Of, relating to, or resembling a phallus; phallic.
Relating to or overly concerned with masculinity.

Kemo Sabe: trusted old friend (From 1933 Radio series Lone Ranger; Tonto (Navajo Indian) calls Lone Ranger (Texas Ranger) Kemo Sabe after he has been ambushed).

June 29, 2003

beer goggles

Holy crap!

if you do that, you can't go far wrong (in life)

curly + cue tail and possibly cue
A fancy twist or curl, such as a flourish made with a pen.

to get ahead of oneself

to ruffle someone's feathers

French, past participle of décolleter, to lower a neckline, uncover the neck : dé-, off (from Latin d-; see de-) + collet, collar (from Old French, diminutive of col, neck, collar, from Latin collum, neck; see kwel-1 in Indo-European roots).
Cut low at the neckline: a décolleté dress.
Wearing a garment that is low-cut or strapless.

dé·colle·tage: A dress with a low neckline in front.

Arm candy: Demi Moore's new friend, 15 years her junior

June 23, 2003

What's the craic?
Craic is an Irish word, and the only one I know of that is regularly used in Irish English. It is a noun refering to good times, laughs, jovial humor. Often spelled "crack." "What's the crack?" means "What's up?"

Not the Queen's English: Irish Expressions
fair fucks to ya: fair play
banjaxed: broken down
manky: dirty
rat-arsed: drunk
arse me bollocks: bullshit
bob's your uncle: you've got it made
pissed on the chips: screwed that one up

June 22, 2003

Middle English fourtenight, alteration of fourtene night, fourteen nights : Old English fowertne, fourteen; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots + Old English niht, night; see nokwt- in Indo-European roots.
A period of 14 days; two weeks.

June 21, 2003

Middle English yoman, perhaps from Old English *gaman, from Old Frisian gman, villager : g, region, district + man, man; see man-1 in Indo-European roots.
An attendant, servant, or lesser official in a royal or noble household.
A yeoman of the guard.
A petty officer performing chiefly clerical duties in the U.S. Navy.
An assistant or other subordinate, as of a sheriff.
A diligent, dependable worker.
A farmer who cultivates his own land, especially a member of a former class of small freeholders in England.

Material, such as waterproofed canvas, used to cover and protect things from moisture.
A sheet of this material.

June 19, 2003

bless her cotton socks

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin rscibilis, from Latin rsc, to be angry, from ra, anger; see eis- in Indo-European roots.
Prone to outbursts of temper; easily angered.
Characterized by or resulting from anger.

Inspiring pity or compassion.
Causing, feeling, or expressing sorrow or regret.

toing and froing

June 18, 2003

proceeding apace

June 17, 2003

brown-nosing: overzealous ass-kissing

yea high

built like a brick shithouse

June 16, 2003

un-1 + canny, fortunate, safe (obsolete).
Peculiarly unsettling, as if of supernatural origin or nature; eerie.
So keen and perceptive as to seem preternatural.

CANNY TOON. Newcastle

x dovetails nicely with y

Geordie dialect: good person
"An embodiment of all that is kindly, good, and gentle. The highest compliment that can be paid to any person is to say that he or she is canny. As "home" expresses the English love of the fireside, so in Tyneside and Northumberland does canny express every home virtue. All that is good and loveable in man or woman is covered by the expression "Eh, what a canny body !" A child appealing for help or protection always addresses his elder as canny man "Please. canny man, gi's a lift i' yor cairt." "0, canny man 0 show me the way to Wallington." What Northumberland bairn but has appealed, when punishment impended, "Please canny man, it wasn't me !" The fishwife who wishes to compliment her customer says, "Noo, canny-hinny, see what vor buyin'."

June 12, 2003

cheeky butchers (they bring their sausages round the back door) the actress said to the bishop.

Oh, jeg ber?

Marked by blithe unconcern; nonchalant; untroubled.
[French : in-, not (from Old French; see in-1) + souciant, present participle of soucier, to trouble (from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *sollictre, alteration of Latin sollicitre, to vex; see solicit).

as the crow flies

June 11, 2003

Probably back-formation from eavesdropper, one who eavesdrops, from Middle English evesdropper, from evesdrop, place where water falls from the eaves, from Old English yfes drype; see upo in Indo-European roots.
intr.v. eaves·dropped, eaves·drop·ping, eaves·drops
To listen secretly to the private conversation of others.

July 25, 2003

Latin intrepidus : in-, not ; see in-1 + trepidus, alarmed.
Resolutely courageous; fearless. See Synonyms at brave.

Middle English edifien, from Old French edifier, from Late Latin aedificre, to instruct spiritually, from Latin, to build ; see edifice.
To instruct especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement.

Probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse mgi, heap.
A small hard mound or bump on a ski slope.

to broach a subject -
Middle English brochen, to pierce, probably from broche, pointed weapon or implement, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *brocca, from Latin broccus, projecting.

July 24, 2003

Middle English hakenei, probably after Hakenei, Hackney, a borough of London, England, where such horses were raised.
often Hackney A horse of a breed developed in England, having a gait characterized by pronounced flexion of the knee.
A trotting horse suited for routine riding or driving; a hack.
A coach or carriage for hire.
tr.v. hack-neyed, hack-ney-ing, hack-neys
To cause to become banal and trite through overuse.
To hire out; let.
Banal; trite.
Having been hired.

July 23, 2003

there is always the outside possibility that ...

I think we are across purposes on this one

July 22, 2003

cleanliness is next to godliness

pray tell

July 21, 2003

Alteration of Middle English gastli from gasten, to terrify. Middle English agast, past participle of agasten, to frighten : a-, intensive pref. (from Old English -) + gasten, to frighten (from Old English gstan, from gst, ghost).
Inspiring shock, revulsion, or horror by or as if by suggesting death; terrifying: a ghastly murder.
Suggestive of or resembling ghosts.
Extremely unpleasant or bad: "in the most abominable passage of his ghastly little book" (Conor Cruise O'Brien).
Very serious or great: a ghastly error.

July 19, 2003

The more fool you, for laying on my duty. The Taming of the Shrew.

July 18, 2003

guts for garters

Blighty n.

London. It's a relic of British India. It comes from a Hindi word bilayati, foreign, which is related to the Arabic wilayat, a kingdom or province. Sir Henry Yule and Arthur C Burnell explained in their Anglo-Indian dictionary, Hobson-Jobson, published in 1886, that the word was used in the names of several kinds of exotic foreign things, especially those that the British had brought into the country, such as the tomato (bilayati baingan) and especially to soda-water, which was commonly called bilayati pani, or foreign water.
Blighty was the inevitable British soldier-s corruption of it. But it only came into common use as a term for Britain at the beginning of the First World War in France about 1915. It turns up in popular songs There-s a ship that-s bound for Blighty, We wish we were in Blighty, and Take me back to dear old Blighty, put me on the train for London town, and in Wilfred Owen-s poems, as well as many other places.

July 17, 2003

so, if you've been handed a bunch of lemons, make some lemon juice

my girlfriend tells me that all the time

is that a threat or a promise?

I did my damnedest ...

July 14, 2003

Good adjectives from the new statesman: chiefly, elegant, new-fangled, half-baked, bolshie.

Could I invite you to picture a hypothetical situation where that isn't the case...

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Alteration of Dutch taptoe, tap-shut (closing time for taverns), tattoo : tap, spigot, tap (from Middle Dutch tappe) + toe, shut (from Middle Dutch; see de- in Indo-European roots).
A signal sounded on a drum or bugle to summon soldiers or sailors to their quarters at night.
A display of military exercises offered as evening entertainment.
A continuous, even drumming or rapping.

Of Polynesian origin.
A permanent mark or design made on the skin by a process of pricking and ingraining an indelible pigment or by raising scars.
A design made on the skin with a temporary dye such as henna or ink.

Word History: Although the practice of tattooing the body is very old, the English word tattoo is relatively new. The explorer Captain James Cook (who also gave us the word taboo) introduced the word to English speakers in his account of a voyage around the world from 1768 to 1771. Like taboo, tattoo comes from Polynesian languages such as Tahitian and Samoan.

July 13, 2003

Middle English, from Old French tripes, intestines, tripe.
The rubbery lining of the stomach of cattle or other ruminants, used as food.
Informal Something of no value; rubbish.

two cans short of a six pack adj
1. stupid or crazy; not "all there."

Informal A reprobate; a rascal.
A white Southerner working for or supporting the federal government during Reconstruction.

1. the more outgoing person in a pair. ("He's the Garfunkel in that relationship.") Origin: refers to folk- rock 1960s duo Simon and Garfunkel. Art Garfunkel, who did not write or play an instrument, arguably was the better singer of the two. He was also more personable/talkative. In a way, the "sidekick" of Simon.

1. the "tortured artist" half of a pair of people. ("He's the Simon in that relationship.") Origin: refers to folk- rock 1960s duo Simon and Garfunkel. Paul Simon wrote the songs and played guitar, but he was the less outgoing/talkative one.

coyote ugly adj 1. extremely ugly. Origin: When caught in a trap, a coyote will sometimes chew it's leg off to escape. A female that is "coyote ugly" is so ugly, that a male (upon waking up and realizing how ugly she is) would rather chew his arm off than risk waking her by pulling his arm out from underneath her.

bummage 1. used to denote general sorrow, despair, or disappointment. Also bummer. ("This place doesn't take credit cards? Oh, bummage.")

Bumblefuck n 1. a location inconveniently far away. Also East Bumfuck. See also East Bumblefuck. ("You parked way out in Bumblefuck!"). Also Bumfuck.

mondo adj
1. to a great degree; EXTREMELY, VERY. Also mongo. ("That house is mongo expensive.") very

marinate v
1. to sit around waiting for something to happen. Origin: from the cooking term "marinate", which is to soak something (often meat) for some period of time (usually several hours) in a sauce before cooking. ("Last night we marinated at Justin's house until we found a party.")

Origin unknown.
To move in a leisurely, relaxed way; saunter: moseyed on down / over to the club after lunch.
To get going; move along.

Latin lsi, lsin-, from lsus, past participle of ldere, to strike out ; see elide.
Omission of a final or initial sound in pronunciation.
Omission of an unstressed vowel or syllable, as in scanning a verse.
The act or an instance of omitting something.

Latin ldere, to strike out : -, ex-, ex- + laedere, to strike.
To omit or slur over (a syllable, for example) in pronunciation.
To strike out (something written).

To eliminate or leave out of consideration.
To cut short; abridge.

Latin perrre, perrt- : per-, per- + rre, to speak.
To conclude a speech with a formal recapitulation.
To speak at great length, often in a grandiloquent manner; declaim.

"He has never been one for sophisticated similes and complex perorations"

July 12, 2003

suffering the curse: menstruation

July 11, 2003

Latin nmen, nod of the head, divine power, numen.
A presiding divinity or spirit of a place.
A spirit believed by animists to inhabit certain natural phenomena or objects.
Creative energy; genius.

July 10, 2003

like chalk and cheese expr adj :
emphasizing the complete difference between two people or things, like apples and oranges, -that-s chalk and cheese-.

lady, Lady Godiva rsl n :
fiver, -5.

jammy col adj :
lucky, -jammy bastard-.

how-s your father expr intj :
generic expression for anything rather left unexpressed (How about them A-s?), esp. in answer to an impudent question, and sometimes with notable derision.

Home Counties n :
the counties closest to London: Berkshire, (Middlesex), Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, and Surrey.

half-inch crsl v :
pinch, steal.

Geordie n :
person from Newcastle (Tyne and Wear).

Estuary English n :
the name given to the late 20th C accent which is the inevitable assimilation by Standard English of the Cockney accent, in the London and surrounding (Kent & Thames Estuary) areas. (Features include dropping h-s (hat /at/), glottal stopping t-s (bitter /bi??/), and pronouncing l like w at the end of a syllable (milk /miuk/).)

enquire usage v :

Emerald Isle [poetic] n :

draught (air currents, and drawing of liquids, only. Not, for instance, bank drafts, etc.) sp n :

Downs n :
undulating chalk and limestone uplands; -The Downs- refer to both the The North Downs, which are mostly in Kent, and The South Downs, which are mostly in Sussex and Surrey.

cor blimey! [contr God blind me!] intj :
[the quintessential Cockney exclamation] syn. jeeze!, gorblimey.

codswallop sl n :

charlies sl n :

bespoke [pp of bespeak] adj :
custom-made, bespoke tailor = tailor making fitted clothes.

au fait /oh fay/ adj :
familiar or conversant, -is she au fait with...-.

apple [apple-s core - score] rsl n :

wet adj :

Watford , north of euph n :
where civilization ends. Watford is a town on the northwest of London (now merely a suburb) on a main thoroughfare to the north through a valley (The Watford Gap).

trundle usage col v :
moving like a very small child, -I just saw that old geezer trundling down the street-.

titbit sp n :

to hand usage adj :
at hand, -do you have a calculator to hand-.

tatties [Northern] sl n :

Taffy offen col n :
person from Wales.

spot of bother n :
ruction, see bother.

sprog (hence sproggie, sprogette, etc.) Scot sl n :
baby, small child, sprogs = kids.

spond [spondulicks] sl n :

spondulicks [probably from Spondylus shells (spiny oyster) which were one of the commodities used as money by the Mayans] sl n :
money (in a previous era used by upper classes, and hence an excellent word for use by lower classes when putting on mock airs and graces or making fun).

spot col n :
small amount, -would you like a spot of tea?-, but often as ironic understatement, -spot of bovver-, syn. bit.

shufti /shuftee/ [Hindustani] v :
to look around, to scope out, -let-s have a shufti-, also, just look or look at.

Scouse, Scouser n :
person from Liverpool, (Common repartee - -bloody Londoner! Scouse git!-). [In Ireland skause is beef stew with new potatoes - Liverpool has a large Irish population.]

parky adj :
of sharp biting windy weather, -it-s a mite parky-.

July 9, 2003

ham-fisted: clumsy

July 8, 2003

'til the cows come home to roost

July 7, 2003

mind you p's & q's: mind your manners or quite simply mind your please and thank-yous - p(lease) and (thank)q-s.

Here are a few straws in the wind ...

July 4, 2003

haven't got the foggiest

Thou flatter'st misery. Timon of Athens.

July 3, 2003

"Though this be madness yet there is method in it." Hamlet.

"The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Hamlet.

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." Hamlet.

"Now is the winter of our discontent." Richard III.

"Milk of human kindness." Macbeth.

"Not much meat on her, but what's there is, is cherce (choice)." Spencer Tracy on
Hepburn in the movie 'Pat and Mike.'

"It's all grist to the mill": Every little helps to move toward a conclusion. Origin: Grist was the abrasive grit which was added to wheat when it was ground between grinding stones to help the flour grind more quickly.

flattery will get you anywhere

drunk as an adult newt

August 27, 2003

Middle English fealtye, from Old French fealte, from Latin fidlits, faithfulness, from fidlis, faithful, from fids, faith; see bheidh- in Indo-European roots.
The fidelity owed by a vassal to his feudal lord.
The oath of such fidelity.
Faithfulness; allegiance.

Middle English derthe, from Old English *dorthu, costliness, from dore, costly ; see dear
A scarce supply; a lack: "the dearth of uncensored, firsthand information about the war" (Richard Zoglin).
Shortage of food; famine.

August 24, 2003

One over the eight
The notion that eight drinks is okay: any more makes you drunk

After Svengali, the hypnotist villain in the novel Trilby by George du Maurier.
A person who, with evil intent, tries to persuade another to do what is desired: "a crafty Svengali who lures talented people with grand promises yet gives them little lasting operational authority" (Chris Welles).

Latin, bedpost, from fulcre, to support.
The point or support on which a lever pivots.
Zoology An anatomical structure that acts as a hinge or a point of support.
An agent through which vital powers are exercised.

August 23, 2003

if i were a betting man...

it couldn't have happened to a better man

August 7, 2003

corpus mentum: present with all faculties

August 6, 2003

Middle English, from Anglo-Norman guimbelet, perhaps from Middle Dutch wimmelkijn, diminutive of wimmel, auger.
A small hand tool having a spiraled shank, a screw tip, and a cross handle and used for boring holes.
A cocktail made with vodka or gin, sweetened lime juice, and sometimes effervescent water and garnished with a slice of lime.
tr.v. gim?e1et?d, gim?e1et??gng, gim?e1ets

To penetrate with or as if with a gimlet.
Having a penetrating or piercing quality: gimlet eyes.

August 5, 2003

From New Latin imprimtur, let it be printed, third person sing. present subjunctive passive of Latin imprimere, to imprint ; see impress.
Official approval or license to print or publish, especially under conditions of censorship.

Official approval; sanction.
A mark of official approval: a directive bearing the imprimatur of high officials.

Only a very mediocre writer is always at his best. Somerset Maugham

nostalgie de la boue - nostalgia for the mud or gutter, a popular phrase and attitude among twenties paris bohemians.

Latin prrins, prrient- present participle of prrre, to yearn for, itch; see preus- in Indo-European roots.
Inordinately interested in matters of sex; lascivious.

Characterized by an inordinate interest in sex: prurient thoughts.
Arousing or appealing to an inordinate interest in sex: prurient literature.

August 4, 2003

cryosote: beis

(click to hear the word) (dnchr)
A partial or complete set of artificial teeth for either the upper or lower jaw. Also called dental plate.
A complete set of removable artificial teeth for both jaws. Often used in the plural.

Happening or done after a meal.

Postprandial is from post- + prandial, from Latin prandium, "a late breakfast or lunch."

All writing should be selection in order to drop every dead word. Why do you not save out of your speech or thinking only the vital things?the spirited mot which amused or warmed you when you spoke it?because of its luck & newness. I have just been reading, in this careful book of a most intelligent & learned man, a number of flat conventional words & sentences. If a man would learn to read his own manuscript severely?becoming really a third person, & search only for what interested him, he would blot to purpose?& how every page would gain! Then all the words will be sprightly, & every sentence a surprise. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Good Writing.

September 30, 2003

Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin rscibilis, from Latin rsc, to be angry, from ra, anger; see eis- in Indo-European roots.
Prone to outbursts of temper; easily angered.
Characterized by or resulting from anger.

Not easily understood; abstruse. See Synonyms at ambiguous.
Concerned with or treating something abstruse or obscure: recondite scholarship.
Concealed; hidden.

September 28, 2003

Spanish pecadillo, diminutive of pecado, sin,, and Italian peccadiglio, diminutive of peccato, sin both from Latin pecctum, from neuter of pecctus past participle of peccre, to sin; see ped- in Indo-European roots.
A small sin or fault.

spinneside - sverdside

September 23, 2003

Possibly alteration of Middle English gibecrake, small ornament.
A cheap and showy object of little or no use; a gewgaw.
Cheap and tasteless; gaudy: "The shelves groan with an array of gimcrack gifts from fans: a stuffed piranha fish ... a ceramic ... bull, a papier-mâché replica of an Apollo moonwalker" (Harry F. Waters).

September 19, 2003

Of or relating to a thousand, especially to a thousand years.
Of, relating to, or believing in the doctrine of the millennium; relating to or believing in the millennium of peace and happiness. Millenarian religions promis e a "golden age," or millennium.

Middle English elocucioun, from Latin locti, loctin-, from loctus, past participle of loqu, to speak out : -, ex-, ex- + loqu, to speak; see tolkw- in Indo-European roots.
The art of public speaking in which gesture, vocal production, and delivery are emphasized.
A style or manner of speaking, especially in public.

September 16, 2003

pudeur - decency.

- He had no pudeur about expressing his resentments or his enthusiasms.
- Blowing away Lyris's delusion of pudeur by the sheer brute force of his angry orgasming rhymes.

September 15, 2003

From Latin perspicx, perspicc-, from perspicere, to look through ; see perspective.
Having or showing penetrating mental discernment; clear-sighted; shrewd.

French poltron, from Old Italian poltrone, coward, idler, perhaps augmentative of poltro, unbroken colt (from Vulgar Latin *pulliter, from Latin pullus, young animal; see pau- in Indo-European roots), or from poltro, bed, lazy.
A base coward: "Every moment of the fashion industry's misery is richly deserved by the designers . . . and magazine poltroons who perpetuate this absurd creation".

September 11, 2003

Middle English apoplexie, from Old French, from Late Latin apoplxia, from Greek apoplxi, from apoplssein, apoplg-, to cripple by a stroke : apo-, intensive pref. ; see apo- + plssein, to strike; see plk-2 in Indo-European roots.
Sudden impairment of neurological function, especially that resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage; a stroke.
A sudden effusion of blood into an organ or tissue.
A fit of extreme anger; rage: "The proud . . . members suffered collective apoplexy, and this year they are out for blood" (David Finch).

From Latin micturre, to want to urinate, desiderative of meiere, to urinate; see meigh- in Indo-European roots.
To urinate.

September 5, 2003

Latin trdcere, to lead as a spectacle, dishonor : tr-, trns-, trans- + dcere, to lead; see deuk- in Indo-European roots.
To cause humiliation or disgrace to by making malicious and false statements.

September 3, 2003

you can bloody talk

September 1, 2003

cheek by jowl
Side by side; close together.

Latin lambns, lambent- present participle of lambere, to lick.
Flickering lightly over or on a surface: lambent moonlight.
Effortlessly light or brilliant: lambent wit.
Having a gentle glow; luminous.

Alteration of capriole.
A playful leap or hop.
A frivolous escapade or prank.
Slang An illegal plot or enterprise, especially one involving theft.
intr.v. ca·pered, ca·per·ing, ca·pers
To leap or frisk about; frolic.

French, from Italian capriola, somersault, from capriolo, roebuck, wild goat, from Latin capreolus, diminutive of caper, capr-, goat.
An upward leap made by a trained horse without going forward and with a backward kick of the hind legs at the height of the leap.
A playful leap or jump; a caper.
intr.v. cap·ri·oled, cap·ri·ol·ing, cap·ri·oles
To perform a capriole.

October 29, 2003

elocution - pronounciation

cut-glass accent

October 28, 2003

sarnie n. sandwich (slang).

October 27, 2003

to tell porkies = pork pies = lies.

oh thank you ever so much. you are a brick.

October 23, 2003

jealousy is nine tenths of possession

the little horrors

October 21, 2003

Possibly from Old French *bevel, perhaps from baif, open-mouthed, from baer, to gape, from Vulgar Latin *badre.
The angle or inclination of a line or surface that meets another at any angle but 90°. To be inclined; slant.

October 20, 2003

Nautical mile = 1/60th of a degree of latitude = 6,040 feet on Equator to 6,100 feet on latitude 89%
Nautical mile = Admiralty measured mile = 6,080 feet = 1.151 Statute land miles = 1.853 kilometres.

Imperial vs. Metric
16 oz (ounce) = 1 lb (pound)
14 lb (pound) = 1 st (stone)
1 st (stone) = 6.35 kg (kilo)

1 kg (kilo) = 2.2 lb (pound)

Middle English, silver penny : possibly sterre, star ; see star + -ling, diminutive suff. ( from the small star stamped on the coin) ; see -ling1.
Abbr. ster. or stg. British money, especially the pound as the basic monetary unit of the United Kingdom.
British coinage of silver or gold, having as a standard of fineness 0.500 for silver and 0.91666 for gold.
Sterling silver.
Articles, such as tableware, made of sterling silver.
Consisting of or relating to sterling or British money.
Made of sterling silver: a sterling teaspoon.
Of the highest quality: a person of sterling character.

It is an outrage that the phrase "human resources" was not strangled at birth. I hate it for its ugliness and its sloppiness. A moment's thought tells you that "resources" are exploited, used up, squeezed for every last drop of value and then replaced. Are we really meant to regard human beings in that light? It seems we are. John Humphrys @ the Guardian

October 16, 2003

The ZIP in Zip-code stands for "Zoning Improvement Plan."

The white part of your fingernail is called the lunula.

The symbol on the "pound" key (#) is called an octothorpe.

Cockney Rhyming Slang
trouble and strife = wife
cruiser = boozer = pub
porkies = pork pies = lies

I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers!

what am I, chopped liver?

October 15, 2003

(click to hear the word) (nkrd)
adj. Chiefly British
Very tired; exhausted.
Horses are often tired when they have testes removed (their knackers) when they are castrated. (Sorry! I guess you didn't want to know that...) The word may have also come from the 'Knacker's' yard - a place where Bostik the geriatric horse would go on just before his last long journey to the Big Glue Pot In The Sky.

Middle English hakenei, probably after Hakenei, Hackney, a borough of London, England, where such horses were raised.
often Hackney A horse of a breed developed in England, having a gait characterized by pronounced flexion of the knee.
A trotting horse suited for routine riding or driving; a hack.
A coach or carriage for hire.
tr.v. hack·neyed, hack·ney·ing, hack·neys
To cause to become banal and trite through overuse. October 14, 2003

Middle English livide, from Old French, from Latin lvidus, from lvre, to be bluish; see slei- in Indo-European roots.
Discolored, as from a bruise; black-and-blue.
Ashen or pallid: a face livid with shock.
Extremely angry; furious.

Sue Mygdalisms
tough tit
he's welling up
don't you get shirty with me

Probably alteration of tar1 + pall1 + -ing2.
Material, such as waterproofed canvas, used to cover and protect things from moisture.
A sheet of this material.

Origin unknown.
To move in a leisurely, relaxed way; saunter: moseyed over to the club after lunch.
To get going; move along.


Latin accrti, accrtin-, from accrtus, past participle of accrscere, to grow ; see accrue.
Growth or increase in size by gradual external addition, fusion, or inclusion.

October 13, 2003

farther afield, not further afield

wrath [GB: wrOth; US: wrAth]

to breast the currents of public life

to secret something into something

(Middle English acreuen, from Old French acreu, past participle of acroistre, to increase, add, from Latin accrscere, to grow : ad-, ad- + crscere, to arise; see ker-2 in Indo-European roots.]
To come to one as a gain, addition, or increment: interest accruing in my savings account.
To increase, accumulate, or come about as a result of growth: common sense that accrues with experience. To come into existence as a claim that is legally enforceable.

ha·be·as corpus
Middle English, from Medieval Latin habes corpus, produce the body (from the opening words of the writ) : Latin habes, second person sing. present subjunctive of habre, to have + Latin corpus, body.
One of a variety of writs that may be issued to bring a party before a court or judge, having as its function the release of the party from unlawful restraint.
The right of a citizen to obtain such a writ.

compos men·tis
Latin : compos, having mastery of + mentis, genitive of mns, mind.
Of sound mind; sane.

Middle English repairen, to return, from Old French repairier, from Late Latin repatrire, to return to one's country ; see repatriate.
To betake oneself; go: repair to the dining room.
To go frequently or habitually: repairs to the restaurant every week.
An act of going or sojourning: our annual repair to the mountains.
A place to which one goes frequently or habitually; a haunt.

From Latin perspicx, perspicc-, from perspicere, to look through ; see perspective.
Acuteness of perception, discernment, or understanding

Middle English sundri, from Old English syndrig, separate.
Various; miscellaneous: a purse containing keys, wallet, and sundry items.

The room was filled with various and sundry.

October 9, 2003

we're toast.

October 8, 2003

i'd crawl over broken glass to meet x

It's said that beggars can't be choosers, although some people would like a few options when using a common expression featuring the word "beg." The origin of begs the question is "petitio principii" - Latin for "laying claim to a principle." It describes an argument that is false because it relies on a conclusion that is assumed but not proven. Over time, "begs" has also come to mean "poses" or "addresses" the question.

October 3, 2003

Cowardly and malicious; base.

Tending or threatening to impede progress: forbidding rapids.
Unpleasant; disagreeable: a forbidding scowl.
Having a menacing aspect: forbidding thunderclouds.

December 17, 2003

cachet, n.

ready and raring to go

December 4, 2003

precis v.

the devil makes work for idle hands
if a person is not busy he will do evil things

horses for courses
Urging someone to stick to the thing he knows best, horses for courses comes from the horse racing world, where it is widely assumed that some horses race better on certain courses than on others.

what fresh hell is this?


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