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Ye Olde Shoppe

When I was nine, we moved to Keene, New Hampshire. Right smack dab in the middle of Main Street in Keene in the 1970s was Ye Goodie Shoppe, purveyors of fine hand-made candies. They are, to this day, the only place I've ever known to make Dark Chocolate Cashew Turtles. (They also make really good Milk Chocolate Turtles). Ye Goodie Shop opened in 1931, and is still going strong (though no longer on Main St.). The use of "ye" and "shoppe" in the name Ye Goodie Shoppe are deliberate attempts to present a brand that is old fashioned, and even quaint. Finding a store that used ye, olde and shoppe is a trifecta of sorts. However charming it is, the usage is not at all historically accurate. And if you really think about it, ye in particular doesn't actually make sense. Ye as written in the customary shop title is actually the older form of "you," not "the." So, technically, "Ye Goodie Shoppe" reads as "You Goody Shop," thou…

Sanguine

The business with Ajay Naylor had been concluded to mutual satisfaction; she was not adverse to providing him rugs on commission, though she was less sanguine, even, than Audrey regarding the possibility of shipping off-planet.
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I Dare. when, as sometimes happened, filial respect wore a little thin, at least these regrettable lapses did not last for long, and were not difficult for a man of his sanguine temperament to forget.
Georgette Heyer. The Grand Sophy. Sanguine is a fairly common word, but it's a bit disconcerting to look at the way sanguine is usually used compared to the dictionary definition of sanguine and its etymology. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, sanguine means:Of the color of blood; red. Of a healthy reddish color; ruddy: a sanguine complexion.Archaic Having blood as the dominant humor in terms of medieval physiology.Having the temperament and ruddy complexion formerly thought to be characteristic of a person dominated…

Humor

humor noun
The quality that makes something laughable or amusing; funniness: could not see the humor of the situation.That which is intended to induce laughter or amusement: a writer skilled at crafting humor.The ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is amusing, comical, incongruous, or absurd. See Synonyms at wit1.One of the four fluids of the body, blood, phlegm, choler, and black bile, whose relative proportions were thought in ancient and medieval physiology to determine a person's disposition and general health.That's not the complete definition from the American Heritage Dictionary, but it's enough for now. Modern English humor derives from Middle English, where humor largely referred to a bodily fluid; Middle English borrowed Old French umor, which is largely a borrowing from from Latin ūmor, hūmor, meaning "fluid." In earlier eras, our bodies were thought to be affected by the balance of four humors or fluids; blood, bile, phlegm and choler. These f…

Carpe Diem

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day To-morrow will be dying.
. . .
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry:
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.
Robert Herrick (). "To the Virgins, To Make Much Of Time" Previously I wrote about harvest, and traced the modern English word back to the Proto Indo-European root *kerp-. I noted that the same root gives us Modern English excerpt and scarce, both from Latin carpere, "to pluck." The verb carpere is mostly used in Latin to refer to plucking or picking objects like fruit or flowers. The Latin commonplace carpe diem uses the verb carpere in the imperative as part of an admonition to, as the AHD puts it, "seize the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future." In the most literal translation, carpe diem means "seize the day." The phrase was popularized by the Latin poet Horace

Harvest

COME, sons of summer, by whose toil
We are the lords of wine and oil :
By whose tough labours, and rough hands,
We rip up first, then reap our lands.
Crowned with the ears of corn, now come,
And to the pipe sing harvest home.
Robert Herrick (1591&endash;1674). "The Hock-Cart Or Harvest Home." According to the OED, until about 1600, harvest was preferred over autumn to describe the season between Summer and Winter. Harvest as a noun is
1. The act or process of gathering a crop.
2a. The crop that ripens or is gathered in a season. b. The amount or measure of the crop gathered in a season.c. The time or season of such gathering. 3. The result or consequence of an activity (AHD). In earlier eras, when life was more closely tied to an agricultural and pastoral calendar and rural living, it made sense for autumn to be seen as the season of harvest, when we cut down crops and livestock and prepare food for winter storage. In that context, the etymology of harvest is very telli…

Soul Cake and Souling

Soul, soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him what made us all!
Soul cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, anything good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, one for Paul, and three for Him who made us all.All Souls' Day is one of the feast days of the Roman Catholic Church. All Souls is observed on November 2. Special prayers are offered for the deceased souls in Purgatory, believed to be waiting. All Souls follows All Saints Day on November 1, the day on which the saints in heaven are commemorated under the assumption that the souls languishing in purgatory should also be remembered and prayed for. All Souls' was established initially by Abbot Odilo of Cluny (d. 1049). All Souls' was widely celebrated by the 13th century. All Souls' is also known as Soulmas Day or Saumas.Prior to the Protestant Reformation, it was common in England and the British I…

Halloween

And pleasant is the fairy land,
But, an eerie tale to tell,
Ay at the end of seven years
We pay a tiend to hell;
I am sae fair and fu o flesh,
I'm feard it be mysel.
But the night is Halloween, lady,
The morn is Hallowday;
Then win me, win me, an ye will,
For weel I wat ye may.
Tam Lin Child #39 In 609 Pope Boniface IV pronounced November 1 All Saints' Day. It was a day to commemorate all the saints of the church. In 837 Pope Gregory IV formally ordered the observance of All Saints' Day. All Saints n.
November 1, the day on which a Christian feast honoring all the saints is observed. Also called Allhallows (AHD). In Medieval England the day was known as Allhallows, or All Hallows' Day; the evening before was known as All Hallows' Eve, or Halloween. Hallow is a verb meaning:
1. to make holy; sanctify; consecrate.
2. to honor as holy; consider sacred; venerate: to hallow a battlefield. Hallow is fairly early and cognate with holy; it's derived from Old English

Red Letter Day

"It's a great piece of luck, ma'am," said Mrs Belfield, "that you should happen to come here, of a holiday! If my son had not been at home, I should have been ready to cry for a week: and you might come any day the year through but a Sunday, and not meet with him any more than if he had never a home to come to."
"If Mr Belfield's home-visits are so periodical," said Cecilia, "it must be rather less, than more, difficult to meet with him."
"Why you know, ma'am," answered Mrs Belfield, "to-day is a red-letter day, so that's the reason of it."
"A red-letter day?"
"Good lack, madam, why have not you heard that my son is turned book- keeper?"
Fanny Burney. Cecilia: Or, Memoirs of an Heiress. "Red-letter day" is one of those expressions we use quite frequently without really thinking about its ancestry. Everyone knows that a "red letter day" is one that stands out as imp…

Samhain

October 31, commonly known as Halloween but still known as Samhain to any number of modern Neo Pagans, was once known as Samain in Old Irish. Samain, or Samhain as modern Irish has it, is pronounced, roughly, like the modern English noun sow (as in the word for a female pig) followed by -in; sow-in, with the emphasis on the first syllable.
Old Irish Samain becomes Modern Irish Samhain, cognate with Scottish Gaelic Samhuinn, Manx Sauin. Samain is usually derived from Old Irish sam “summer” + fuin “end.” The Old Irish sam ('summer') derives from Proto-Indo-European semo. This is somewhat unlikely as an etymology, philologically and morphologically speaking, though it is a persuasive folk etymology, and one used in the medieval Irish glosses. We know from the Coligny calendar that an earlier form of Celtic on the continent used samoni-, and did not use the compound -fuin for “end.” In 1907 Whitley Stokes argued for an etymology for Samain derived from Proto-Celtic *samani ('…

Garlic

Now Glutton begins to go to shrift
And takes his way toward the church to tell his sins.
But Betty the brewer bade him good morning
And she asked him where he was going.
"To Holy Church," he said, "to hear mass,
And then I shall be shriven and sin no more."
"I've good ale, good friend," said she. "Glutton, will you try it?"
"Have you," he asked, "any hot spices?"
"I have pepper and peony and a pound of garlic,
A farthing-worth of fennel seed for fasting days."
Piers the Plowman Passus V Piers the Plowman is a fifteenth century Middle English religious narrative. This particular passage is part of a longer section about the seven deadly sins; though this bit focusses on gluttony. Gluttony is on his way to confession, when he meets Betty the brewer. The speakers, Glutton and Betty the brewer, are discussing the use of garlic and other spices as additives to beer or ale; unfortunately, they're discussing them i…

Autumn

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.Keats To Autumn ll. 1-11Autumn noun
1. The season of the year between summer and winter, lasting from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice and from September to December in the Northern Hemisphere; fall.
2. A period of maturity verging on decline (AHD).Modern English autumn via Middle English autumpne, from Old French autompne, from Latin autumnus. Today is the first day of fall, or autumn, if you will. It seems an auspicious date to start a new blog about words and language. The etymology offered for autumn by the AHD seems clear …