Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

Peelie-wersh & Fankle

Peelie-wersh & Fankle – they could be a crime fighting duo, the name of a shop of some kind, or even the name of a band, but are in fact a couple of Scots expressions I came across recently in one of Alexander McCall-Smith’s books. He sprinkles such words in his novels based in Scotland […]

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Also posted in English, Language, Scots 2 Comments

Mountains and molehills

I discovered yesterday that the French word for mole is taupe /top/, and I wondered if this might be related to the English word taupe, which, according to the OED, means ‘A brownish shade of grey resembling the colour of moleskin’ or in others words, mole-coloured. The English word taupe comes from the French, which […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Language 6 Comments

Breadcrumbs & Scotch Eggs

Yesterday I discovered an interesting French word: paner, which means to coat with breadcrumbs or to bread. So a Scotch Egg, which is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, breaded and deep fried, can be described as a œuf dur enrobé de chair à saucisse et pané in French – it sounds better […]

Also posted in English, French, Language 3 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

Also posted in Language 9 Comments

A Snell Wind

The Scots phrase, a snell wind, appears in one of the books I’m reading at the moment, and as I hadn’t come across it before it mystified me a bit. It’s some kind of wind, but what kind? According to the OED, snell is a Scots and Northern English word meaning: 1. (of a person) […]

Also posted in Danish, English, Etymology, German, Italian, Language, Scots, Swedish 4 Comments

When I haver

In the Proclaimers song I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), which we often sing in the Bangor ukulele club, the Scots word haver makes several appearances (see the lyrics here), and none of us know what it means. I thought it meant something like to shout, like holler, or to cry. According to The Online Scots […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, Language, Scots 2 Comments

Bidie in

This week I discovered the Scots expression bidie in, which refers to someone you live with and are not married to. It is also written bidey-in and bide in, and the plural is bidie ins or bidies in, or similar. The DSL defines bide in as “A person who lives with another without marriage”. The […]

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

Uitsmijter

The other day I came across the wonderful Dutch word uitsmijter, which means bouncer or doorman, and also a type of food consisting of toast, egg(s), ham, bacon or other meat, cheese and pickles is various combinations. Apparently this is the kind of thing that some Dutch people like to eat after the bars close […]

Also posted in Danish, Dutch, English, Etymology, German, Language, Proto-Indo-European 2 Comments

Ilka dae

While flicking through my Scots language course, Luath Scots Language Learner, this week I discovered that the Scots for every day is ilka dae, which is quite similar to the Dutch elke dag, which I also learnt recently – I like finding connections like this. Neither resembles the English version, or the German jeden Tag. […]

Also posted in Danish, Dutch, English, Etymology, German, Language, Norwegian, Swedish 4 Comments

An owlfully badgered cup of tea

Yesterday I discovered that the Italian word for cup, tazza, is rather similar and possibly confusable with the word for badger, tasso, which can also mean a rate (of exchange) or a yew (tree). It’s unlikely that if you mistakenly ask for un tasso di tè rather than una tazza di tè, you will be […]

Also posted in Arabic, English, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Language, Persian (FarsI) 10 Comments