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A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
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That's not to say that stories behind words aren't interesting. Most of the words have fascinating histories, it's just that they are not as cut-and-dried. Words have biographies -- we call them etymologies -- that are engaging. Take "gossip" for example. It came originally from Old English godsibb (sibb: related) meaning godparent. From there, the word took a downward journey to the sense of one who is a familiar acquaintance, to one who engages in idle talk, to the talk itself.
This week we'll look at a few terms with etymologies that make entertaining reading.
sobriquetsobriquet (SOH-bri-kay) noun, also soubriquet
A fancy nickname or a humorous name.
[From French sobriquet, from soubriquet (chuck under the chin). Probably from the fact that calling by a nickname affords one to cozy up to someone and tap under the chin.]
"Tony Blair's role as Bush's unwavering ally has already
earned him a long list of unflattering sobriquets, including puppet,
poodle, the US 'foreign minister', and the MP for
"In a speech honoring the airmen waging the Battle of Britain -- `Never in
the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,' he
(Churchill) said, coining the soubriquet ('the Few') by which the RAF
pilots would forever be known."
There's no sauce in the world like hunger. -Miguel de Cervantes, novelist (1547-1616)