The market town of Crieff in Perthshire was the main cattle market up till , but at the start there was opposition from the Provost in Perth, so there was an illegal trade in cattle before it became the official Drover's Tryst or cattle market. The cattle were known as The Black hence the origin of the regiment The Black Watch, a militia started to protect the drovers from rustlers so the illegal market was known as the 'black market' Legend has it that whoever kisses the blarney stone will enjoy the same ability as MacCarthy.
When a person is said to 'have kissed the Blarney stone', it is a reference to their having the gift of persuasion. Another interpretation thanks R Styx , and conceivably a belief once held by some, is that sneezing expelled evil spirits from a person's body. A contributory factor was the association of sneezing with the Black Death Bubonic Plague which ravaged England and particularly London in the 14th and 17th centuries.
In more recent times the expression has been related ack D Slater to the myth that sneezing causes the heart to stop beating, further reinforcing the Bless You custom as a protective superstition. Perhaps also influenced by African and African-American 'outjie', leading to okey without the dokey , meaning little man.
Various references have been cited in Arabic and Biblical writings to suggest that it was originally based on Middle- and Far-Eastern customs, in which blood rituals symbolised bonds that were stronger than family ones. However the expression has certainly been in use for hundreds of years with its modern interpretation - ie. In this sense, the metaphor is such an obvious one that it is likely to have evolved separately from the supposed 'blood brothers' meaning, with slightly different variations from different societies, over the many hundreds of years that the expression has been in use.
Bloody seems to have acquired the unacceptable 'swearing' sense later than when first used as a literal description bloody battle, bloody body, bloody death, bloody assizes, etc or as a general expression of extreme related to the older associations of the blood emotions or feelings in the four temperaments or humours , which were very significant centuries ago in understanding the human condition and mood, etc.
The modern expression bloody-minded still carries this sense, which connects with the qualities of the blood temperament within the four humours concept. The mild oath ruddy is a very closely linked alternative to bloody, again alluding to the red-faced characteristics within the four humours. Oxford Word Histories confirms bloody became virtually unprintable around the mids, prior to which it was not an offensive term even when used in a non-literal sense i.
In terms of a major source or influence on the expression's development, Oxford agrees largely with Brewer's dictionary of phrase and fable, which explains that the use of the word 'bloody' in the expletive sense " Rowdy aristocrats were called 'Bloods' after the term for a thoroughbred horse, a 'blood-horse' as in today's 'bloodstock' term, meaning thoroughbred horses. Clearly, the blood-horse metaphor captures both the aristocratic and unpredictable or wild elements of this meaning.
The use of blood in this 'aristocratic' sense would have been reinforced by other similar metaphors: 'blood' was and still is a term used also to refer to family descent, and appears in many other lineage-related expressions, such as 'blood is thicker than water' people are more loyal to their family members than to other people and 'blue blood' royalty or aristocratic people - an expression coming into England from France where 'sang blue' means of high aristocratic descent, the notion originating in Spain when it was believed that pre-Moorish old Spanish families had blue blood whereas the common people's blood was black.
The blue blood imagery would have been strengthened throughout Western society by the idea of aristocratic people having paler skin, which therefore made their veins and blood appear more blue than normal people's. It is commonly suggested thanks B Bunker, J Davis that 'bloody' is a corruption of a suggested oath, 'By our Lady', which could have contributed to the offensive perception of the expression, although I believe would not have been its origin as an expletive per se.
Whatever, extending this point thanks A Sobot , the expression 'By our Lord' might similarly have been retrospectively linked, or distorted to add to the 'bloody' mix. The flag is a blue rectangle with a solid white rectangle in the middle; 'peter' is from the French, 'partir' meaning 'to leave'. Additionally, ack G Jackson , the blue and white 'blue peter' flag is a standard nautical signal flag which stands for the letter 'P'.
The letter 'P' is associated with the word 'peter' in many phonetic alphabets, including those of the English and American military, and it is possible that this phonetic language association was influenced by the French 'partir' root. Phonetic alphabet details. This table meaning of board is how we got the word boardroom too, and the popular early s piece of furniture called a sideboard.
See also the expression 'sweep the board', which also refers to the table meaning of board. In this sense the expression also carried a hint of sarcastic envy or resentment, rather like it's who you know not what you know that gets results, or 'easy when you know how'. Since then the meaning has become acknowledging, announcing or explaining a result or outcome that is achieved more easily than might be imagined.
Nowadays the term 'bohemian' does not imply gypsy associations necessarily or at all, instead the term has become an extremely broad and flexible term for people, behaviour, lifestyle, places, atmosphere, attitudes, etc. Thus, a person could be described as bohemian; so could a coffee-shop, or a training course or festival.
Bohemian is a fascinating word - once a geographical region, and now a description of style which can be applied and interpreted in many different ways. The sense is in giving someone a small concession begrudgingly, as a token, or out of sympathy or pity. The giver an individual or a group is in a position of dominance or authority, and the recipient of the bone is seeking help, approval, agreement, or some other positive response. It is a simple metaphor based on the idea of throwing a hungry dog a bone to chew on a small concession instead of some meat which the dog would prefer.
The metaphor also alludes to the sense that a bone provides temporary satisfaction and distraction, and so is a tactical or stalling concession, and better than nothing. It is not widely used in the UK and it is not in any of my reference dictionaries, which suggests that in the English language it is quite recent - probably from the end of the 20th century.
According to various online discussions about this expression it is apparently featured in a film, as the line, "Throw me a bone down here Apparently ack Matthew Stone the film was first Austin Powers movie 'Austin Powers:International Man of Mystery' , from a scene in which Dr Evil is trying to think of schemes, but because he has been frozen for years, his ideas have either already happened or are no longer relevant and so attract little enthusiasm, which fits the expression's meaning very well.
I am further informed ack P Nix " It most certainly appeared prior to the Austin Powers movies since the usage of it in the movie was intended to be a humorous use of the already commonly used expression. It is also commonly used in the United States as 'Toss me a bone. In Argentina we use that expression very often. It is not pityful pitying at all It may have a funny meaning too I'm not sure of the origin of this phrase, but it was used in in French in 'The Law' by Frederic Bastiat.
Here it is translated - 'The excluded classes will furiously demand their right to vote - and will overthrow society rather than not to obtain it. Even beggars and vagabonds will then prove to you that they also have an incontestable title to vote. They will say to you: "We cannot buy wine, tobacco, or salt without paying the tax. And a part of the tax that we pay is given by law - in privileges and subsidies - to men who are richer than we are. Others use the law to raise the prices of bread, meat, iron, or cloth.
Thus, since everyone else uses the law for his own profit, we also would like to use the law for our own profit. We demand from the law the right to relief, which is the poor man's plunder. To obtain this right, we also should be voters and legislators in order that we may organize Beggary on a grand scale for our own class, as you have organized Protection on a grand scale for your class.
Now don't tell us beggars that you will act for us, and then toss us, as Mr. Mimerel proposes, , francs to keep us quiet, like throwing us a bone to gnaw. We have other claims. And anyway, we wish to bargain for ourselves as other classes have bargained for themselves! The extract does not prove that the expression was in wide use in France in the mids, but it does show a similar and perhaps guiding example for interpreting the modern usage. If you know anything more about the origins of "throw me a bone" - especially the expression occurring in a language other than English, please tell me.
The gannet-like seabird, the booby, is taken from Spanish word for the bird, bobo, which came into English around There seems no evidence for the booby bird originating the meaning of a foolish person, stupid though the booby bird is considered to be.
The sense of booby meaning fool extended later to terms like booby-trap and booby-hatch lunatic asylum , and also to the verb form of boob, meaning to make a mistake or blunder i. I am informed thanks Mr Morrison that the wilderness expert Ray Mears suggested booby-trap derives from the old maritime practice of catching booby seabirds when they flew onto ships' decks.
The US later early 20th C adapted the word boob to mean a fool. The ultimate origins can be seen in the early development of European and Asian languages, many of which had similar words meaning babble or stammer, based on the repetitive 'ba' sound naturally heard or used to represent the audible effect or impression of a stammerer or a fool.
It is probable that this basic 'baba' sound-word association also produced the words babe and baby, and similar variations in other languages. The mainly UK-English reference to female breasts boob, boobs, boob-tube, etc is much more recent s - boob-tube was s although these derive from the similar terms bubby and bubbies. Separately, thanks B Puckett, since the s, 'boob-tube' has been US slang for a television, referring to idiocy on-screen, and the TV cathode-ray 'tube' technology, now effectively replaced by LCD flatscreens.
Incidentally a UK 'boob-tube' garment is in the US called a 'tube-top'. Returning to boobs meaning breasts, Partridge amusingly notes that bubby is 'rare in the singular Bubby and bubbies meaning breasts appeared in the late s, probably derived from the word bub, both noun and verb for drink, in turn probably from Latin bibire, perhaps reinforced by allusion to the word bubble, and the aforementioned 'baba' sound associated with babies.
My thanks to John L for raising the question of the booby, initially seeking clarification of its meaning in the Gilbert and Sullivan line from Trial by Jury, when the judge sings "I'd a frock-tailed coat of a beautiful blue, and brief that I bought for a booby Men who 'took the King's shilling' were deemed to have contracted to serve in the armed forces, and this practice of offering the shilling inducement led to the use of the technique in rather less honest ways, notably by the navy press-gangs who would prey on drunks and unsuspecting drinkers close to port.
Unscrupulous press-gangers would drop a shilling into a drinker's pint of ale, which was then in a pewter or similar non-transparent vessel , and if the coin was undetected until the ale was consumed the press-gangers would claim that the payment had been accepted, whereupon the poor victim would be dragged away to spend years at sea. Pubs and drinkers became aware of this practice and the custom of drinking from glass-bottom tankards began.
The 'bottoms up' expression then naturally referred to checking for the King's shilling at the bottom of the tankard. Ack J Burbedge. This expression is a wonderful example of how certain expressions origins inevitably evolve, without needing necessarily any particular origin. There might be one of course, but it's very well buried if there is, and personally I think the roots of the saying are entirely logical, despite there being no officially known source anywhere.
Partridge for instance can offer only that brass monkey in this sense was first recorded in the s with possible Australian origins. Cassells says late s and possible US origins. The OED is no more helpful either in suggesting the ultimate source. Allen's English Phrases is more revealing in citing an source unfortunately not named : "He was told to be silent, in a tone of voice which set me shaking like a monkey in frosty weather In fact the expression most likely evolved from another early version 'Cold enough to freeze the tail off a brass monkey', which apparently is first recorded in print in Charles A Abbey's book Before the Mast in the Clippers, around , which featured the author's diaries from his time aboard American clippers fast merchant sailing ships from The switch from tail to balls at some stage probably around the turn of the s proved irresistible to people, for completely understandable reasons: it's much funnier, much more illustrative of bitter cold, and the alliteration repeating of the B sound is poetically much more pleasing.
The notion of a brass monkey would have appealed on many levels: monkeys have long been associated with powerful imagery three wise monkeys - see no evil, etc and the word is incorporated within various popular terminology monkey wrench, monkey puzzle, monkey suit, etc. And aside from the allusion to brass monkey ornaments, brass would have been the metal of choice because it was traditionally associated with strength and resilience more so than copper or tin for instance ; also brass is also very much more phonetically enjoyable than iron, steel or bronze.
It simply sounds good when spoken. Zinc and platinum are complete non-starters obviously. So it had to be brass. The choice of monkey - as opposed to any other creature - is also somehow inevitable given a bit of logical thought. Here goes Certain iconic animals with good tails can be discounted immediately for reasons of lacking euphonic quality meaning a pleasing sound when spoken ; for example, brass horse, brass mouse, brass rat, brass scorpion, brass crocodile and brass ass just don't roll off the tongue well enough.
No good either would have been any creatures not possessing a suitably impressive and symbolic tail, which interestingly would effectively have ruled out virtually all the major animal images like cow, elephant, pig, bear, dog, rabbit, lion, tiger, and most of the B-list like rhino, giraffe, deer, not to mention C-listers like hamster, badger, tortoise, all birds, all fish and all insects. We can also forget the well-endowed lemurs, platypii, and chameleons for reasons of obscurity: a metaphor must be reasonably universal to become popular.
Which pretty well leaves just a cat and a monkey, and who on earth has ever seen a brass cat? It's just not a notion that conveys anything at all. So it kind of just had to be a monkey because nothing else would have worked. That's my theory, and I'm sticking to it unless anyone has a better idea. This is the way that a lot of expressions become established and hugely popular - they just are right in terms of sound and imagery, and often it's that simple.
Incidentally a popular but entirely mythical theory for the 'freeze the balls off a brass monkey' version suggests a wonderfully convoluted derivation from the Napoleonic Wars and the British Navy's Continental Blockade of incoming French supplies. The story goes that where the British warships found themselves in northerly frozen waters the cannonballs contracted shrank in size due to cold more than their brass receptacle supposedly called the 'monkey' and fell onto the deck.
Or so legend has it. Unfortunately there was never a brass receptacle for cannonballs called a monkey. Ships did actually have a 'monkey rail' just above the quarter rail, wherever that was but this was not related to cannonballs at all, and while there was at one time a cannon called a monkey, according to Longridge's The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships, cannonballs were actually stored on the gun deck on wooden boards with holes cut in them, called short garlands, not monkeys.
What we see here is an example of a mythical origin actually supporting the popularity of the expression it claims to have spawned, because it becomes part of folklore and urban story-telling, so in a way it helps promote the expression, but it certainly isn't the root of it. To understand the root, very commonly we need simply to understand how language works, and then it all makes sense. I am grateful for A Zambonini's help in prompting and compiling this entry.
Neck was a northern English 19th slang century expression some sources suggest with origins in Australia meaning audacity or boldness - logically referring to a whole range of courage and risk metaphors involving the word neck, and particularly with allusions to hanging, decapitation, wringing of a chicken's neck - 'getting it in the neck', 'sticking your neck out', and generally the idea of exposing or extending one's neck in a figurative display of intentional or foolhardy personal risk.
As regards brass, Brewer lists 'brass' as meaning impudence. The modern OED meanings include effrontery shameless insolence. Brassy means pretentious or impudent. Brass is also an old 19thC word for a prostitute. Some of these meanings relate to brass being a cheap imitation of gold. Some of the meanings also relate to brass being a very hard and resilient material. Phonetically there is also a similarity with brash, which has similar meanings - rude, vulgarly self-assertive probably derived from rash, which again has similar meanings, although with less suggestion of intent, more recklessness.
At some stage during the 20th century brass and neck were combined to form brass neck and brass necked. Many sources identify the hyphenated brass-neck as a distinctly military expression same impudence and boldness meanings , again 20th century, and from the same root words and meanings, although brass as a slang word in the military has other old meanings and associations, eg, top brass and brass hat, both referring to officers because of their uniform adornments , which would have increased the appeal and usage of the brass-neck expression in military circles.
Most dramatically, the broken leg suffered by assassin John Wilkes Booth. Booth, an actor, assassinated President Lincoln's on 14 April , at Ford's Theatre in Washington DC and broke his leg while making his escape, reportedly while jumping from Lincoln's box onto the stage. Later research apparently suggests the broken leg was suffered later in his escape, but the story became firmly embedded in public and thesbian memory, and its clear connections with the expression are almost irresistible, especially given that Booth was considered to have been daringly lucky in initially escaping from the theatre.
His luck ran out though as he was shot and killed resisting capture twelve days later. Etymologist Michael Sheehan is among those who suggests the possible Booth source, although he cites and prefers Eric Partridge's suggestion that the saying derives from " The phrase in the German theatre was Hals und Beinbruch, neck and leg break Interestingly according to Cassells, break a leg also means 'to be arrested' in US slang first recorded from , and 'to hurry' from , which again seems to fit with the JW Booth story.
Bear in mind that actual usage can predate first recorded use by many years. Cassells reminds us that theatrical superstition discourages the use of the phrase 'good luck', which is why the coded alternative was so readily adopted in the theatre. Cassells inserts a hyphen and expands the meaning of the German phrase, 'Hals-und Beinbruch', to 'may you break your neck and leg', which amusingly to me and utterly irrelevantly, seems altogether more sinister.
Such are the delights of translation. Incidentally my version of Partridge's dictionary also suggests break a leg, extending to 'break a leg above the knee', has been an English expression since first recorded meaning " Broken-legged also referred to one who had been seduced. Such are the delights of early English vulgar slang.. As a footnote pun intended to the seemingly natural metaphor and relationship between luck and leg-breaking is the wonderful quote penned by George Santayana Spanish-Amercian literary philosopher, in his work Character and Opinion in the United States : "All his life [the American] jumps into the train after it has started and jumps out before it has stopped; and he never once gets left behind, or breaks a leg.
On a different track, I am informed, which I can neither confirm nor deny thanks Steve Fletcher, Nov : " In older theatres the device used to raise the curtain was a winch with long arms called 'legs'. If the performance was very successful the legmen might have to raise the curtain so many times they might - 'break a leg' Anyone who has spent time on stage in the theater [US spelling] knows how jealous other players can be of someone whom the audience is rapt with.
By way of the back-handed compliment intended to undermine the confidence of an upcoming star, an envious competitor might gush appreciation at just how great one is and with work how much greater one will be. The young star goes out flush with flattery and, preoccupied with his future fame, promptly falls on his proverbial face. So, one learns in time to be suspicious of disingenuous praise. On the other hand, someone genuinely wishing you well will say 'Break a leg'.
This mocks the false flattery and acknowledges that that stage can be perilous to someone with their head in the clouds. If not paying attention one could literally break a leg by falling into the pit. The reverse psychology helps one to 'stay grounded' so to speak. The Italian saying appears to be translatable to 'Into the wolf's mouth,' which, to me is a reference to the insatiable appetite of the audience for diversion and novelty. And if you don't satisfy them, they will 'eat you alive' In Italian it is often actually considered bad luck to wish someone good luck 'Buona Fortuna' , especially before an exam, performance or something of the kind.
Italians instead use the expression 'In bocca al lupo', which literally means 'Into the wolf's mouth' And this thanks J Yuenger, Jan , which again I can neither confirm nor deny: " I see you had a question on 'Break a leg,' and as a theatre person I had always heard of break a leg as in 'bend a knee,' apparently a military term. The idea being that if you tell an actor to break a leg, it is the same as telling him to deliver a performance worthy of a bow.
As a common theme I've seen running through stage superstitions, actors need to be constantly reminded that they need to do work in order to make their performances the best. Thus, if you wished an actor good luck, they would stop trying as hard at the show, because luck was on their side Break a leg derives from wishing an actor to be lucky enough to be surprised by the presence of royalty in the theatre US theater , as in a 'command performance'. These shows would start by acknowledging the presence of the royal guests with the entire cast on stage at bended knee.
The suggestion of 'a broken leg' wishes for the actor the good fortune of performing for royalty and the success that would follow due to their visit to your theatre I am German, and we indeed have the saying 'Hals-und Beinbruch' which roughly means 'break a neck and leg'.
The origin of that saying is not proven but widely believed to originate from the Jewish 'hazloche un broche' which means 'luck and blessing', and itself derives from the Hebrew 'hazlacha we bracha', with the same meaning. For Germans failing to understand 'hazloch un broche', this sounds similar to 'hals und bruch' meaning 'neck and break'.
Given that this has no real meaning, a natural interpretation would be 'hals und beinbruch', especially since 'bein' did not only mean 'leg', but also was used for 'bones' in general, giving the possible translation of 'break your neck and bones'. That it was considered back luck to wish for what you really want 'Don't jinx it! Such ironic wishes - 'anti-jinxes' - appear in most languages - trying to jinx the things we seek to avoid.
In Germany 'Hals-und Beinbruch' is commonly used when people go skiing. Fishermen use a variation: 'Mast-und Schotbruch', which means on a boat 'break the the main poles' which hold the sails. The German 'break' within 'Hals-und Beinbruch' it is not an active verb, like in the English 'break a leg', but instead a wish for the break to happen. The German 'Hals- und Beinbruch' most likely predates the English 'break a leg', and the English is probably a translation of the German Thanks to Neale for the initial question.
If anyone can offer any more about Break a Leg please let me know. This sense is supported by the break meaning respite or relaxation, as in tea-break. Both senses seem to have developed during the 19th century. Earliest usage of break meaning luck was predominantly USA, first recorded in according to Partridge.
The term Brummie extends also to anything from Birmingham, and also more widely to the surrounding West Midlands region of the UK, especially when used by UK folk living quite a long way from Birmingham. Many English southerners, for example, do not have a very keen appreciation for the geographical and cultural differences between Birmingham and Coventry, or Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Interestingly, although considered very informal slang words, Brum and Brummie actually derive from the older mids English name for Birmingham: Brummagem, and similar variants, which date back to the Middle Ages.
In past times Brummagem also referred informally to cheap jewellery and plated wares, fake coins, etc. The root word is bakh'sheesh in Arabic, notably from what was Persia now Iran , with variations in Urdu and Turkish, meaning a gift or a present. I am grateful for the following note from Huw Thomas in the Middle East: " It comes from the Arabic word bakh'sheesh, meaning 'free' or 'gift'. In Arabic today, it refers to the tip given to a restaurant waiter.
The precise reference to buck a male deer in this sense - buckshot, buckknife, or some other buckhorn, buckskin or other buck-related item - is not proven and remains open to debate, and could be a false trail. While 'pass the buck' seems generally accepted among the main dictionaries and references as card-playing terminology for passing the deal or pot, and is generally accepted as the metaphorical origin of the modern expression meaning to pass the problem or responsibility, uncertainty remains as to what exactly the buck was.
No-one knows for sure. To complicate matters further, buck and bucking are words used in card-playing quite aside from the 'pass the buck' expression referring to dealing. For example - an extract from the wonderful Pictorial History of the Wild West by Horan and Sann, published in , includes the following reference to Wild Bill Hickock: " He didn't wear down the two-inch heels of his sixty-dollar boots patrolling the streets to make law 'n order stick.
He spent most of his time bucking the cards in the saloons This reference is simply to the word buck meaning rear up or behave in a challenging way, resisting, going up against, challenging, taking on, etc. So while we can be fairly sure that the card-playing terminology 'pass the buck' is the source of the modern saying, we cannot be certain of what exactly the buck was.
My thanks to S Karl for prompting the development of this explanation. I am grateful ack K Eshpeter for the following contributed explanation: "It wasn't until the s when Harry Truman became president that the expression took on an expanded meeting. Truman was a man of the people and saw the office of president of the US as a foreboding responsibility for which he had ultimate accountability. He kept a sign on his desk in the Oval Office to remind him of this and it is where the expression 'The Buck Stops Here' originated.
Most people will know that bugger is an old word - it's actually as old as the 12th century in English - and that it refers to anal intercourse. A bugger is a person who does it. Bugger is the verb to do it. Buggery is the old word describing the act or offence, as was, and remains, in certain circumstances and parts of the world. The commonly unmentionable aspect of the meaning see Freud's psychosexual theory as to why bottoms and pooh are so emotionally sensitive for many people caused the word to be developed, and for it to thrive as an oath.
It's all about fear, denial and guilt. What's more surprising about the word bugger is where it comes from: Bugger is from Old French end of the first millennium, around AD , when the word was bougre, which then referred to a sodomite and a heretic, from the Medieval Latin word Bulgarus, which meant Bulgarian, based on the reputation of a sect of Bulgarian heretics, which was alleged and believed no doubt by their critics and opponents to indulge in homosexual practices.
It is fascinating that a modern word like bugger, which has now become quite a mild and acceptable oath, contains so much richness of social and psychological history. In terms of fears and human hang-ups it's got the lot - religious, ethnic, sexual, social - all in one little word.
See also sod , whose usage and origins are related. This metaphor may certainly have helped to reinforce the expression, but is unlike to have been the origin. More probable is the derivation suggested by Brewer in that first, bears became synonymous with reducing prices, notably the practice of short selling, ie. This terminology, Brewer suggests referring to Dr Warton's view on the origin came from the prior expression, 'selling the skin before you have caught the bear'.
This proverb was applied to speculators in the South Sea Bubble scheme, c. So was the huntsman by the bear oppressed, whose hide he sold before he caught the beast The bull and bear expressions have been in use since at least as far back as ; according to financial writer Don Luskin, reference and explanation of bull and bear meanings appears in the book Every Man His Own Broker, or, A Guide to Exchange Alley, by Thomas Mortimer. Luskin says his 10th edition copy of the book was printed in Other references: David W.
The bum refers both to bum meaning tramp, and also to the means of ejection, i. Bum also alludes to a kick up the backside, being another method of propulsion and ejection in such circumstances. Less easy to understand is the use of the word rush, until we learn that the earlier meaning of the word rush was to drive back and repel, also to charge, as in Anglo-French russher, and Old French russer, the flavour of which could easily have been retained in the early American-English use of the word.
Hatchet is a very old word, meaning axe, and probaby derived from Old German happa for scythe or sickle. The hatchet as an image would have been a natural representation of a commoner's weapon in the middle ages, and it's fascinating that the US and British expressions seem to have arisen quite independently of each other in two entirely different cultures.
I am grateful Bryan Hopkins for informing me that in the Book of Mormon, a history of the ancient Native American Indians, an episode is described in which a large group ' This is not to say of course that the expression dates back to that age, although it is interesting to note that the custom on which the saying is based in the US is probably very ancient indeed. Unrelated but interestingly, French slang for the horse-drawn omnibus was 'four banal' which translated then to 'parish oven' - what a wonderful expression.
Bear in mind that a wind is described according to where it comes from not where it's going to. A South wind comes from the South. Sailing 'by' a South wind would mean sailing virtually in a South direction - 'to the wind' almost into the wind. Different sails on a ship favoured winds from different directions, therefore to be able to sail 'by and large' meant that the ship sailed well 'one way or another' - 'to the wind and off it'. Also, the expression used when steering a course of 'by and large' meant being able to using both methods of wind direction in relation to the ship and so was very non-specific.
Early Scottish use of the word cadet, later caddie, was for an errand boy. The golf usage of the caddie term began in the early s. Such warrants were used typically to enable a prisoner's freedom, or to imprison someone in the Bastille. The holder could fill in the beneficiary or victim's name. The practice was abolished on 15 January Heywood's collection is available today in revised edition as The Proverbs and Epigrams of John Heywood.
Other sources suggest or later publication dates, which refer to revised or re-printed editions of the original collection. Heywood was a favourite playwright of Henry VIII, and it is probably that his writings gained notoriety as a result. The English language was rather different in those days, so Heywood's version of the expression translates nowadays rather wordily as 'would ye both eat your cake and have your cake?
Whether Heywood actually devised the expression or was the first to record it we shall never know. Etymologist Michael Quinion is one who implies that the main credit be given to Heywood, citing Heywood's work as the primary source. Quinion also mentions other subsequent uses of the expression by John Keats in and Franklin D Roosevelt in , but by these times the expression could have been in popular use.
The word cake was used readily in metaphors hundreds of years ago because it was a symbol of luxury and something to be valued; people had a simpler less extravagant existence back then. Brewer tells of the tradition in USA slavery states when slaves or free descendents would walk in a procession in pairs around a cake at a social gathering or party, the most graceful pair being awarded the cake as a prize.
This also gave us the expression 'cake walk' and 'a piece of cake' both meaning a job or contest that's very easy to achieve or win, and probably although some disagree the variations 'take the biscuit' or 'take the bun', meaning to win although nowadays in the case of 'takes the biscuit' is more just as likely to be an ironic expression of being the worst, or surpassing the lowest expectations. The variations of bun and biscuit probably reflect earlier meanings of these words when they described something closer to a cake.
On which point, I am advised ack P Nix that the typically American version expression 'takes the cake' arguably precedes the typically British version of 'takes the biscuit'. Maybe, maybe not, since 'takes the biscuit' seems to have a British claim dating back to see ' takes the biscuit '. This all raises further interesting questions about the different and changing meanings of words like biscuit and bun.
Biscuit in America is a different thing to biscuit in Britain, the latter being equivalent to the American 'cookie'. Bun to many people in England is a simple bread roll or cob, but has many older associations to sweeter baked rolls and cakes sticky bun, currant bun, iced bun, Chelsea bun, etc.
The expression 'to call a spade a spade' is much older, dating back to at least BC, when it appeared in Aristophanes' play The Clouds he also wrote the play The Birds, in BC, which provided the source of the 'Cloud Cuckoo Land' expression. At some stage between the 14th and 16th centuries the Greek word for trough 'skaphe:' was mis-translated within the expression into the Latin for spade - 'ligo' - almost certainly because Greek for a 'digging tool' was 'skapheion' - the words 'skaphe:' and 'skapheion' have common roots, which is understandable since both are hollowed-out concave shapes.
This crucial error was believed to have been committed by Desiderius Erasmus Dutch humanist, , when translating work by Plutarch. The translation into the English 'spade' is believed to have happened in by Nicolas Udall when he translated Erasmus's Latin version of the expression. While the origin of the expression is not racial or 'non-politically-correct', the current usage, by association with the perceived meaning of 'spade', most certainly is potentially racially sensitive and potentially non-PC, just as other similarly non-politically correct expressions have come to be so, eg 'nitty-gritty', irrespective of their actual origins.
Developed from Mark Israel's notes on this subject. Partridge suggests the origins of open a can of worms are Canadian, from c. The Canadian origins are said by Partridge to allude to a type of tin of worms typically purchased by week-end fishermen. The OED describes a can of worms as a 'complex and largely uninvestigated topic'. Can of worms is said by Partridge to have appeared in use after the fuller open a can of worms expression, and suggests Canadian use started c.
Interestingly Partridge refers to an expression 'open a tin' which apparently originated in the Royal Navy, meaning to start a quarrel, which clearly indicates that the metaphor in basic origins dates back earlier than the specific can of worms adaptation, which has since become perhaps the most widely used of all variations on this theme.
Cassells suggests s American origins for can of worms, and open a can of worms, and attributes a meanings respectively of 'an unpleasant, complex and unappetizing situation', and 'to unearth and display a situation that is bound to lead to trouble or to added and unwanted complexity'. Cassells also refers to a s US expression 'open a keg of nails' meaning to get drunk on corn whisky, which although having only a tenuous association to the can of worms meanings, does serve to illustrate our natural use of this particular type of metaphor.
Farther back in history the allusion to opening a container to unleash problems is best illustrated in by the 'Pandora's Box' expression from ancient Greek mythology, in which Pandora releases all the troubles of the world from a jar or box, depending on the interpretation you read which she was commanded by Zeus not to open. The North American origins of this particular expression might be due to the history and development of the tin canning industry: The origins of tin cans began in the early s during the Anglo-French Napoleonic Wars, instigated by Napoleon Bonaparte or more likely his advisors when the French recognised the significant possibilities of being able to maintain fresh provisions for the French armies.
The French solution was initially provided via glass jars. In response, the British then developed tin cans, which were tested and proven around in response to the French glass technology. Development and large scale production of tin cans then moved to America, along with many emigrating canning engineers and entrepreneurs, where the Gold Rush and the American Civil War fuelled demand for improved canning technology and production.
The vast North American tin canning industry was built on these foundations, which has dominated the world in this sector ever since. According to Brewer , who favours the above derivation, 'card' in a similar sense also appears in Shakespeare's Hamlet, in which, according to Brewer, Osric tells Hamlet that Laertes is 'the card and calendar of gentry' and that this is a reference to the 'card of a compass' containing all the compass points, which one assumes would have been a removable dial within a compass instrument?
Brewer explains that the full expression in common use at the time mid-late s was 'card of the house', meaning a distinguished person. If the Shakespearian root is valid this meaning perhaps blended with and was subsequently further popularised by the playing card metaphor. Interestingly Brewer lists several other now obsolete expressions likening people and situations to cards.
It's worth noting that playing cards were a very significant aspect of entertainment and amusement a few hundreds of years ago before TV and computers. Hence why so many expressions derive from their use. See below. The origins of western style playing cards can be traced back to the 10th century, and it is logical to think that metaphors based on card playing games and tactics would have quite naturally evolved and developed into popular use along with the popularity of the playing cards games themselves, which have permeated most societies for the last thousand years, and certainly in a form that closely resembles modern playing cards for the past six hundred years.
The Vitello busied at Arezzo, the Orsini irritating the French; the war of Naples imminent, the cards are in my hands.. Caesar, or Cesare, Borgia, , was an infamous Italian - from Spanish roots - soldier, statesman, cardinal and murderer, brother of Lucrezia Borgia, and son of Pope Alexander VI. Playing cards have fascinating and less than clear histories and meanings in themselves, for which Brewer's provides an interesting and in my view largely reliable explanation: In Spain's early medieval playing cards , spades were columbines a plant whose flower resembles five clustered bird-like symbols, usually associated with doves or pigeons - the pointed spade shape resembles a single petal , later changing by s to swords espados in Spanish - meaning sword - not spade in case you are wondering ; clubs were rabbits later changing to cudgels bastos in Spanish, meaning a stick-like club ; diamonds were pinks relating to the flowers, so called because of their notched petal edges, as if cut with pinking shears - associated with the sharpness of the diamond shape - the same root that gave us punch and pungent and puncture later changing to dineros square money pieces ; and hearts were roses later to be chalices cups.
Here's where it gets really interesting: Brewer says that the English spades contrary to most people's assumption that the word simply relates to a spade or shovel tool instead developed from the French form of a pike ie. Hearts , says Brewer is a corruption of choeur choir-men into couers , ie. Brewer's view is that playing cards were developed from an Indian game called 'The Four Rajahs', which is consistent with the belief that the roots of playing cards were Asian.
In The Four Rajahs game the playing pieces were the King; the General referred to as 'fierche' ; the Elephant 'phil' ; the Horsemen; the Camel 'ruch' ; and the Infantry all of which has clear parallels with modern chess. Brewer asserts that the French corrupted, or more likely misinterpreted the word 'fierche' for general, ie. Similarly Brewer says that the Elephant, 'phil' presumably the third most powerful piece , was converted into 'fol' or 'fou', meaning Knave, equivalent to the 'Jack'.
Incidentally Brewer also suggests that the Camel, 'ruch', became what is now the Rook in chess. It seems according to Brewer that playing cards were originally called 'the Books of the Four Kings', while chess was known as 'the Game of the Four Kings'. Brewer also cites a reference to a certain Jacquemin Gringonneur having "painted and guilded three packs of cards for the King Charles VI, father of Charles VII mentioned above in As for the 'court' cards, so called because of their heraldic devices, debate continues as to the real identity of the characters and the extent to which French characters are reflected in English cards.
Prepare to be confused Brewer also suggests that French Queen cards were 'Argine' probably a reference to mythology or an anagram of regina, meaning queen - no-one seems to know , anyway Brewer's suggested queens are: Hearts - Juno sister and wife of Zeus ; Clubs - Judith Jewish heroine of the Bible Old Testament, or some say Judith of Bavaria, whoever she was These four Queens according to Brewer represented royalty, fortitude, piety and wisdom.
Not surprisingly all of these characters lived at the same time, the early s, which logically indicates when playing cards were first popularly established in the form we would recognise today, although obviously the King characters, with the exception of possible confusion between Charlemagne and Charles VII of France, pre-date the period concerned.
I did say this particular slice of history is less than clear. Nevertheless, by way of summary, here is Brewer's take on things:. If you weren't confused enough already, more recent French cards actually show the names of the characters on the cards which I suspect has kept this whole debate rolling , and these names reveal some inconsistencies with Brewer's otherwise mostly cohesive analysis, not least in the Queens department, namely: Queen of Hearts is Judith Juno does not appear ; and Queen of Clubs is 'Argine' instead of Judith whoever Argine is; again, no-one seems to know, save suggestions that it's an anagram of regina, meaning queen, or could be something to do with Argos.
Predictably there is much debate also as to the identities of the Jacks or Knaves, which appear now on the cards but of which Brewer made no comment. Lancelot - easy - fully paid-up knight of the round table. Hector - of Troy, or maybe brother of Lancelot. Hogier - possibly Ogier the Dane. If you have more information on this matter it is a can of worms if ever I saw one then I would be delighted to receive it. The reason why the Ace of Spades in Anglo-American playing cards has a large and ornate design dates back to the s, when the English monarchy first began to tax the increasingly popular playing cards to raise extra revenues.
The practice of stamping the Ace of Spades, probably because it was the top card in the pack, with the official mark of the relevant tax office to show that duty had been paid became normal in the s. During the early s, when duty per pack was an incredible two shillings and sixpence half-a-crown - equivalent to one eigth of a pound - see the money expressions and history page , the the card makers were not permitted to make the Ace of Spades cards - instead they were printed by the tax office stamp-makers.
Chambers and OED are clear in showing the earlier Latin full form of 'carnem levare', from medieval Latin 'carnelevarium', and that the derivation of the 'val' element is 'putting away' or 'removing', and not 'saying farewell, as some suggest.
OED in fact states that the connection with Latin 'vale', as if saying 'farewell to flesh' is due to 'popular' misundertood etymology. In my view the most logical explanation is that it relates to the 'cat-o-nine-tails' whip used in olden days maritime punishments, in which it is easy to imagine that the victim would be rendered incapable of speech or insolence. A less likely, but no less dramatic suggested origin, is that it comes from the supposed ancient traditional middle-eastern practice of removing the tongues of liars and feeding them to cats.
See also 'pig in a poke'. Additionally this expression might have been reinforced ack G Taylor by the maritime use of the 'cat 'o' nine tails' a type of whip which was kept in a velvet bag on board ship and only brought out to punish someone. In other words; a person's status or arrogance cannot actually control the opinions held about them by other people of supposedly lower standing - the version 'a cat may look at a king' is used in this sense when said by Alice, in Lewis Carroll's book 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland'.
The different variations of this very old proverb are based on the first version, which is first referenced by John Heywood in his book, Proverbs. The origin is unknown, but it remains a superb example of how effective proverbs can be in conveying quite complex meanings using very few words. The more modern expression 'a cat may laugh at a queen' seems to be a more aggressive adaptation of the original medieval proverb 'a cat may look on a king', extending the original meaning, ie. The red-handed image is straightforward enough to have evolved from common speech, that is to say, there's unlikely to have been one single quote that originated the expression.
Chambers Dictionary of Etymology varies slightly with the OED in suggesting that charisma replaced the earlier English spelling charism first recorded before around The preference of the Shorter OED for the words charism and charismata plural suggests that popular use of charisma came much later than Chambers says the Greek root words are charisma and charizesthai to show favour , from charis favour, grace and related to chairein, meaning rejoice.
According to Chambers again, the adjective charismatic appeared in English around , from the Greek charismata, meaning favours given by God. Charisma, which probably grew from charismatic, which grew from charismata, had largely shaken its religious associations by the mid s, and evolved its non-religious meaning of personal magnetism by the s.
More detail about the origins and interpretations of charisma is on the charisma webpage. Add spread betting to one of your lists below, or create a new one. Blood is thicker than water. Definitions Clear explanations of natural written and spoken English.
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FINANCE a form of gambling in which you try to win money by saying what the result of events such as sports games will be:. With spread betting , the more right you are, the more you can win. But if you are wrong , you can lose more than your stake. Examples of spread betting. If its status is changed, the bookmakers may challenge this monopoly, particularly in the light of the spread of betting as an industry, and spread betting.
From the Hansard archive. Example from the Hansard archive. Contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3. Alternatively, will the board go into what is now generally accepted to be the thinking man's type of betting—that is, spread betting on sporting events and others of that kind?
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|Financial spread betting examples of idioms||According to technical analysis theory The amount that a lender charges to a borrower for the loan of an asset, usually expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. Stock Market Update 25 May We oscar system betting seeing further turmoil in the CFD markets this morning as the political situation across Europe continues to dominate. European Stocks Drop as Kiev Launches Operations Against Pro-Russian Separatists European equities are set to head lower on the open as recent gains look to have put in a short-term top. Cost of carry is the amount of additional money you might have to spend in order to maintain a position. This is the|
To work this out take the number of points the market went up and multiple this by the pounds per point bet. Conversely, if the price had fallen while you held the position you would be booking a loss calculated using the same method. If you believe the price of a security that you want to spread bet is going to fall, then you would want to place a spread bet selling short in order to profit from a decline in price. If you had done so, then as soon as the spread advanced to 1.
If you hold a currency daily rolling spread bet overnight you pay the charge to roll it, you will also be charged something called the tom-next rate — this is paying the interest charge of the long currency netted of against receiving the interest rate of the currency you are short multiplied by your notional position. In order for your spread bet to be profitable, the price must move enough to overcome the spread. You buy at the higher spread price, the ask price, but sell at the lower spread price, the bid price.
The amount of your profit or loss on your spread bet will be your stake amount times how many points the price has moved in your favour or against your position. Learn the skills needed to trade the markets on our Trading for Beginners course. Short on time? Get a PDF version. Next: Step 2 of 4. Chapter Spread Bet Examples. Margin and stake There are two considerations you have to take into account with each spread bet you make. Learn more, take our premium course: Trading for Beginners. The margin requirement.
The formula for calculating your margin requirement is as follows: Notional value of the asset x the required margin percentage Keep in mind that you must have enough trading capital in your account to cover the required margin, and also to be able to withstand the market even temporarily moving against your position. Learn more, take our free course: Margin Trading Products. You are quoted 1.
The bet per is 0. The margin required is 3. Summary There are three primary facts to keep in mind when spread betting: 1. The margin requirement for your spread bet depends on — The price of the underlying security The amount of your stake The margin percentage required for that specific security. Start learning. Introduction 2. Why Spread Bet? Who Should Spread Bet? How does Spread Betting Work?
History of Spread Betting 6. Markets You Can Spread Bet 7. Types of Spread Bet 8. Risk Management Tools 9. Sports Spread Betting Spread Betting Regulation How Spread Bets Are Priced Spread Betting Examples Spread Betting Strategies Make a Living Spread Bettor Mistakes Risks of Spread Betting Beginners Recommendations Next Steps Menu. Example from the Hansard archive. Contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.
Alternatively, will the board go into what is now generally accepted to be the thinking man's type of betting—that is, spread betting on sporting events and others of that kind? These examples are from corpora and from sources on the web. Any opinions in the examples do not represent the opinion of the Cambridge Dictionary editors or of Cambridge University Press or its licensors. Online it offers sports betting, online poker, online bingo, online casino games, and spread betting.
From Wikipedia. Spread betting can carry a high level of risk, with potential losses or gains far in excess of the original money wagered. He decided to set up his own company with the intention of making spread betting more accessible. Translations of spread betting in Chinese Traditional. Need a translator? Translator tool. What is the pronunciation of spread betting? Browse sprayer. Test your vocabulary with our fun image quizzes. Image credits. Word of the Day astronomer. Read More. New Words anthropause.
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