Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

Šup!

Last week I learnt a useful Czech word – Šup! – which can mean Whoosh!, Go!, Move!, Hurry up! and similar, and Šup šup! means Chop-chop! A more polite way to say the same thing is pojďme, which literally means “Let’s (do something)”. Here are some examples of usage: – Pojďme na procházku = Let’s […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Language 2 Comments

Llongrats!

In the comments on an article about Welsh literature I read today, I came across the word llongrats!, which appears to be a Welsh-English hybrid combining the Welsh word llongyfarchiadau and it’s English equivalent, congratulations. While it’s common for bilingual people to switch languages, often in mid-sentence, this is the first example I’ve seen of […]

Also posted in English, Language, Welsh 2 Comments

Dardledumdue

Today I came across the wonderful word dardledumdue. It means “daydreamer” in East Anglian dialect (east of England), and its origin is uncertain. Perhaps it’s the type of nonsense words a daydreamer might sing or mumble while daydreaming [source]. It also sounds like the kinds of ‘words’ some Irish singers use when lilting – a […]

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Nix and Natch

The words nix and natch have come up quite a bit in things I’ve read and/or heard recently, so I thought I’d look into their meanings and origins. Nix as a verb means “to ​stop, ​prevent, or ​refuse to ​accept something” and as a noun it means “nothing or no”. These usages are apparently mainly […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, German, Language 7 Comments

Pinkies

What do you call your smallest finger? I call it my little finger, but I hear more and more people in the UK calling it their pinkie / pinky, which I thought was exclusively used in North America. Is this name used in some dialects of English in the UK, or is this an example […]

Also posted in English, Language 4 Comments

A not entirely uninteresting post

The title of this post is perhaps an example of litotes [laɪˈtəʊ.tiːz], a figure of speech that uses understatement, particularly double negatives, to make a positive statement [source]. Other examples include: – I didn’t do too badly in the test – It’s a bit chilly – He’s not a bad guitarist Litotes comes from the […]

Also posted in English, Language 2 Comments

Stalls, stinkards and parterres

In theatres in the UK the seats at ground level in front of the stage are usually known as stalls or orchestra stalls. If there are balconies above that level, the first balcony might be known as the dress circle, grand circle or balcony, the second as the upper circle, grand circle, first circle or […]

Also posted in English, French, Language, Russian 2 Comments

Dystopias and Utopias

Why is it that so many films and novels set in the future are dystopian? I thought about this after watching The Hunger Games last night, and tried to think of any stories of utopian futures. The only films I could think featuring non-dystopian futures of were Back to the Future II and Bicentennial Man. […]

Also posted in English, Greek, Language 6 Comments

Matignon and other metonyms

Last night I discovered that the French equivalent of “Number 10”, which in the UK refers to the British Prime Minister, is Matignon or L’Hôtel de Matignon, the official residence of the French Prime Minister. Number 10 is shorthand for Number 10 Downing Street, is the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister, […]

Also posted in English, French, Language 9 Comments

Flan cupboards

A Welsh plygain song I’ve been learning recently with some friends (Carol y Swper) features the word fflangell in the line “Ein Meichiau a’n Meddyg dan fflangell Iddweig”. We weren’t sure what it meant at first, and guessed that it was some kind of container for a flan or a flan cupboard. A fflan is […]

Also posted in English, Language, Songs, Welsh 1 Comment
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