I used this expression recently, and wondered where it comes from. Is it related to boots, the footwear? If not, is it related to any other words?
It’s not actually related to the boots that one wears at all, but still has an interesting story to tell. Continue reading
I was thinking about the word concert recently. A very common word, but it struck me that, like so many others, we use it in different ways without really noticing. Continue reading
Yesterday I shared with you my new favourite word: neck-verse. The first time I typed it, it sounded like an informal term for a group of films all tied together by featuring characters related to a superhero called The Neck.
And sadly, while such a series of films doesn’t (yet) exist, it made me think of the newly-obvious similarity between the words verse and universe. Could there be a link? Continue reading
At the cinema last night, the standard message about the film’s age rating came up, stating that the film was rated suitable for exhibition etc. Fine. At that point though, the couple behind me began to discuss the word exhibition, and its pronunciation. Continue reading
I read something interesting in Italian the other day:
Questo libro mi sta piacendo un casino. (I really like this book a lot).
I understood everything except un casino, though the meaning was still clear. Looking up un casino, I saw that the first meaning for it was a mess. Continue reading
Anyone who writes fairly regularly develops certain habits. Repeated words, expressions, stylistic tricks. I’ve noticed that as I write, there are certain things I keep doing. Like using of course a lot, for example. Continue reading
On Saturday afternoon, I decided I felt more like writing (this) while having a coffee in town (apparently the average noise level in a coffee shop is quite inducive to writing), rather than at home, so after wandering around a bit (I had to finish the album I was listening to, of course), I settled on a branch of Caffè Nero.
While queuing, I began thinking about the fact that I’m going to visit Rome next month. I’d always assumed the chain was named after the Roman emperor Nero, and considered that even though they seemed to use a lot of Ancient-Roman style design in their décor, the coffee shop probably doesn’t offer an authentic Ancient-Roman experience. And then I got to thinking about the famous myth that Nero sang and played the fiddle while the Great Fire of Rome raged around him (he probably didn’t: it’s more than likely propoganda spread by the Flavian dynasty that succeeded him).
And then I thought: why do we sometimes call a violin a fiddle? Continue reading