Sunday, January 13, 2019

Pink




Bob from Traverse City asked about the pinking in pinking shears. Pinking shears are scissors with a serrated cutting edge. A zigzag edge on fabric is less likely to fray than a straight cut. The Oxford English Dictionary declares the origin unknown, but it hedges its bet by suggesting that the verb pink may represent the sound made by punching decorative holes or cutting slits in fabric to display a contrasting lining or undergarment.

Another word derived from pink is pinkie, the little finger. It seems to have drifted into Scots from a Dutch word meaning tiny.

Then there’s “in the pink,” meaning in great good health. The word shows up in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (“I am the pink of curtesie"), but at that time it meant the epitome of something, the very height.

Finally, there are pink collar crimes – embezzlement by women who are bookkeepers or accountants for small businesses. This is in contrast to white collar crimes, usually committed by men.



Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under TheRon Jolly Show.




Saturday, December 22, 2018

Relic




Tom from Maple City, Michigan, wrote with a question about a word in a recent edition
of the Traverse City Record-Eagle. A headline on page 1 read, “A River’s Relic.” Tom commented that he had heard of the relics of a saint, but not of a river. The caption for the photo referred to the Boardman River’s relic assignment.

Relic simply means remains. So a relic is anything left over from a previous time, and usually revered, though not always; sometimes it's used as an insult. It could be something connected to a person, historical remains, the trace of a custom or an idea, a geographical or topographical feature, etc. In the case of the Boardman River, it referred to the original natural riverbed.

The words relic, reliquary, relict, derelict, and dereliction all come from a Latin word, reliquia, meaning that which remains.



Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under TheRon Jolly Show.






Monday, December 10, 2018

Doodlebug



Ron from Buckley, Michigan, brought up the word doodlebug and its variant doodlebugging. While it started out as the name for an insect, it quickly branched out into figurative applications. Let’s illustrate by means of a timeline.

·      The tiger beetle or its larva  [1866]

·      A divining rod or other device supposed by prospectors to indicate the presence of oil, minerals, etc. Also, a seismograph. [1924]

·      A prospector for oil, minerals, etc. Also, a geophysicist or other scientist employed by an oil company. [1933]

·      A midget racing car or any small vehicle.  [1937]

·      A railroad locomotive;  [1941]

·      A military reconnaissance car or tank;  [1941]

·      A tractor or truck modified to increase its performance. [1940s]

·      A nickname applied to the German pilotless plane or flying bomb of World War II.  [1944]


Modifications called in during that show included one from John of Traverse City in which he remembered referring to the VW Beetle as a doodlebug. Gene from Central Lake recalled that puddle jumpers – small regional aircraft – were called doodlebugs. And Skip from Elk Rapids pointed out that the Ford Model A was most often used to construct custom-made fork lifts and tractors on farms.  


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.comand clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under TheRon Jolly Show.





Monday, December 03, 2018

Can a Bunting Bunt?



In answer to Tom’s question whether bunting, the bird, and a bunt in baseball are connected, I have to say that there is no connection. The name of the bird may come from a Scots word meaning plump. The baseball maneuver came from a word that meant to strike or push.

It’s interesting to see the various meanings attached to the basic spelling.

BUNT v.
·      to stop the ball with the bat without swinging it  [1889]
·      to haul up the middle part of a sail  [1611]
·      to sift meal   [1340]

BUNT  n.
·      the bag-shaped part of a sail or net   [1582]
·      a parasitic fungoid that attacks wheat   [1601]
·      a portion of the stem of corn   [1775]
·      an instrument for sifting meal   [1796]
·      the tail of a rabbit   [1805]
·      a medium quality of firewood   [1884]
·      an extra profit or gain   [1851]
·      the action of stopping a ball with a bat without swinging it   [1889]
·      an aerobatic maneuver involving half an outside loop followed by a half roll   [1932]

BUNTING n.
·      the name of a bird related to the lark   [1325]
·      the swelling of a sail or a net   [1681]
·      cloth made for constructing flags, banners, etc.  [1742]

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under TheRon Jolly Show.




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