Monthly Archives: January 2013

Whimsy, Whim Wham, Fancy and Flutters

whimsy (n.) c.1600, probably related to whimwham. whimwham (n.) “whimsical device, trifle,” 1520s, of unknown origin; perhaps from Scandinavian (cf. Old Norse hvima “to let the eyes wander,” Norwegian kvima “to flutter”), or else an arbitrary native formation (cf. flim-flam). flim-flam (n.) also flimflam, 1530s, a contemptuous echoic construction, perhaps … Continue reading

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Trolls, Trollops and Tarts

First, in terms of etymological origins: trollop 1610s, “slovenly woman,” probably from troll (v.) in sense of “roll about, wallow.” trull  “a low prostitute or concubine; a drab, strumpet, trollop” [OED], 1510s, from German trulle, perhaps cognate with troll (n.), or perhaps from troll (v.), cf. Middle High … Continue reading

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A Trollope’s Progress

And that doesn’t mean what you think it means – just trying to be provocative! I’ve been reading Anthony Trollope’s the Eustace Diamonds.  I must say it’s rather slow going, but I do so love his insights into human behaviour. … Continue reading

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Tribute To Whistler: Nocturne Niagara Falls 2010

Such and so many were the Trojans’ fires, twinkling in front of Ilium midway between the ships and the streams of Xanthus. Homer – The Iliad

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The Rigors of Rigmarole

rigmarole (n.) 1736, “a long, rambling discourse,” from an altered, Kentish colloquial survival of ragman roll “long list or catalogue” (1520s), in Middle English a long roll of verses descriptive of personal characters, used in a medieval game of chance called Rageman, perhaps from … Continue reading

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Crusty Tarletans

Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Textiles) Tarletan: an open-weave cotton fabric, used for stiffening garments [from French tarlatane, variant of tarnatane type of muslin, perhaps of Indian origin]

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A Swift Discourse on Houyhnhnms and Word Invention

Houyhnhnms are, of course, the noble horse-like creatures who reign over the humanoid occupants of their island, visited by Gulliver in Swift’s Gulliver’s travels.   They are philosopher kings and have no word “to say the thing that is not … Continue reading

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