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Showing posts from November, 2011

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…