Don’t try and hoodwink me

Put on your deerstalker hat because I have a poser for you. Where in the world did the word hornswoggle originate from? According to Dictionary.com, it’s a slang word that means “to swindle, cheat, hoodwink, or hoax.” Dating from 1815-1825, its origin is unknown. Source: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hornswoggle

 

 

Another source, A Way With Words, tells us “the word hornswoggle, meaning “to embarrass” or “to swindle,” is of unclear origin, but definitely seems of a piece with U.S. frontier slang from the 1830s and 1840s.” Source: https://www.waywordradio.org/?s=hornswoggle&submit=search

 

 

Determined to root out the origin, I found this inventive etymology for the word: Unknown, 1829 United States. Presumably horns + waggle with humorous faux ablaut or combination with wobble (compare later woggle, 1923), perhaps inspired by lassoed steers trying to escape by moving or waggling their head. Source: https://www.yourdictionary.com/hornswoggle

Bad Word! You Bad, Bad Word….

I found the word “cacology” on the cool website A.Word.A.Day, here she is! Cacology is a noun that means: 1. A poor choice of words or 2. The incorrect pronunciation of a word. Source: http://wordsmith.org/words/cacology.html

 

 

The etymology breaks down like this: from Greek kakologia: Gr. kako`s bad + -logy,: cf. F. cacologie, , from French cacologie, from cac- + -logie –logy. Its first known use was in 1615. Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cacology

 

 

 

Here’s a wordy quote to show the usage of cacology…

“The phenomena described in 1985 by Amos Joel, computer controlled digital switching system pioneer, are present realities: ‘The trade press, which should know better, is party to the curtain of mysticism, clichés, and cacology around which they shroud the true technology of new products.”-John Buckley; Telecommunications Regulation; Institution of Electrical Engineers; 2003.

You Pick Two

I chose today’s word, not because it is exotic or rare, but because it has two meanings that are wildly different from each other. I find that fascinating!

Solvent is both a noun and an adjective: As a noun, it means: 1. something that dissolves another thing, and 2. something that solves a problem.

 

 

As an adjective, it means: 1. able to pay one’s debts, and 2. able to dissolve another substance.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin solvere (to loosen, to dissolve, to pay). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pleu- (to flow), that is also the source of flow, float, flit, fly, flutter, pulmonary, pneumonic, pluvial, fluvial, effluvium, fletcher, and plutocracy. Earliest documented use: 1653.

Our word for today is from wordsmith.org, where you can sign up to receive a word a day via email!

My guiding star

Lodestar is a noun meaning: someone or something that serves as a guiding principle, model, inspiration, ambition, etc.

 

 

ETYMOLOGY: From Old English lad (way) + star. A lodestar is called so because it’s used in navigation, it shows the way. Earliest documented use: 1374

 

“He was her rock, the lodestar on which she could focus.” Laura Benedict; Bliss House; Pegasus Books; 2014.

Our word for today is from wordsmith.org, where you can sign up to receive a word a day via email!

A Sad Goodbye to Mary Tyler Moore

mary-tyler-moore1While watching the Mary Tyler Moore tribute, they used the word “eponymous” referring to her TV show, and I liked the sound of the word so I thought I’d share its meaning and origins with you.

Eponymous is an adjective meaning: 1. Of, relating to, or constituting an eponym, such as “The Mary Tyler Moore” Show.

 

 

he-man_12. Named after something else or deriving from an existing name or word: “Programs such as He-Man and Masters of the Universe … were all created with the explicit purpose of selling the eponymous toys to children”. Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/eponymous

 

 

onyma-greek-wordEtymology notes: Eponymous comes from the Greek adjective epōnymos, which is itself from onyma, meaning “name.” “Onyma” has lent its name to a number of English words, including “synonymous,” “pseudonym,” and “anonymous.” Traditionally, an eponymous person or thing (i.e., an “eponym”) might be a mythical ancestor or totem believed to be the source of a clan’s name.

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eponymous

Do your balistrarias need reinforcing?

balistraria1A balistraria is the name of the cross-shaped holes in the walls of fortresses and castles, through which weapons such as crossbows (also known as arbalests) could be fired.

It is also the name of the room in your castle where you would keep the arbalests or crosswbows.

 

 

crossbow-and-arrows

By The Way, if you’re able to fire an arbalest, you’d be called a balistrier!

This word was found in the wonderful and often hilarious book: Weird and Wonderful Words, edited by Erin McKean

Don’t eat that angletwitch

earthwormAn angletwitch is an earthworm, the word originated in 14th century Merry Olde England from: Middle English angeltwicche, angeltwacche, from Old English angeltwæcce, angeltwicce, from angel hook + -twæcce, -twicce (from twiccian to pluck, catch hold of). Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/angletwitch

 

weird-and-wonderful-words-book-coverThis word was found in the wonderful and often hilarious book: Weird and Wonderful Words, edited by Erin McKean

 

What weird and wonderful words do you have to share today? Please post them in the comments section with their meanings!!