Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

Custard sandwiches and pancakes

The Welsh word for sandwich is brechdan [ˈbrɛxdan], which comes from the Irish word brechtán (butter, fat), according to the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru. However according to MacBain’s Dictionary, is related to the Scottish Gaelic word for pancake, breacag, which is related to breachdan (custard), which comes from the Middle Irish breachtán (a roll), which is […]

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Retronym

I learnt an interesting word today – retronym – a new name for something that already existings that distinguishes the original from a more recent version. For example, ebooks are becoming increasingly popular, so there’s a need for a new word for non-ebooks. On the program I heard the word retronym, Word of Mouth, they […]

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A’a

One Hawaiian word that is used in English is a’a, which is defined as “a kind of rough-surface volcanic rock” [source]. However in Hawaiian it is written ʻaʻā, pronounced [ʔəˈʔaː] and means: 1. to burn, blaze, glow; fire; staring (eyes) 2. lava; stony, abounding with ʻaʻā lava 3. Sirius (the star) 4. young stage of […]

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Jenga

In the Bangor Community Choir last night we started learning a new song entitled Jenga by Juliet Russell. We were told that the song uses made-up words that don’t mean anything in particular, and it has no connection to the game of Jenga. One of my friends thought the word jenga might mean something like […]

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Sniglets

I learned an interesting new word from the radio yesterday – sniglet – which is defined as “any word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, but should”. It was apparently popularized by the comedian/actor Rich Hall while he was working on Not Necessarily the News, an HBO comedy series from the 1980s, who has also […]

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Awaken the Appetite

A ragout is a highly seasoned meat and vegetable stew, and comes from the French ragoût, which appears to be a general word for stew. Ragoût comes from the Middle French ragoûter (to awaken the appetite), which comes from the Old French re- (back), à (to) and goût (taste), from the Latin gustum (taste), from […]

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Sgimilearachd

Sgimilearachd [sgʲimɪlɛrəxg], noun = habit of visiting other people at mealtime; intrusion (from: Am Faclair Beag) Alternative definition: Obtrusiveness, impudence, intrusion; Mean habit of popping in upon people at meals, living and doing nothing about, gentlemen’s kitchens. (from: Am Faclair Dwelly) This is one of the interesting Scottish Gaelic words I learnt from this blog […]

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Adumbrations

I came across a new word yesterday – adumbrations – which I had to look up in a dictionary as I couldn’t work out its meaning from the context: Framed in the archway formed by the far end of the vaulted roof were the fantastical forms of five great gasometers, the supporting superstructures of which […]

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Pass the funny dingdong

If someone asked you to “pass the funny dingdong”, would you know what they wanted? With the context that you are watching TV, you might have a better idea what they wanted. According to Fry’s English Delight, a programme about language on BBC Radio Four, funny dingdong is one of the many ways of referring […]

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No holds barred

I came across the phrase no holds barred today and wondered where it came from. I probably have seen it written down before, but didn’t pay any particular attention to it and thought it was written no holes barred. According The Phrase Finder, this phrase comes from wrestling and refers to wrestling matches in which […]

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