Tuesday, June 21, 2016

French fried vs. French fry


Roger Funkhauser wrote to me at wordmall@aol.com and asked. “Is it more proper to use ‘ice tea’ instead of ‘iced tea’ or doesn’t it make a difference?"

It should definitely be iced tea. It has to be the past participle form. Ice tea would be made from ice. Iced tea is tea that has been iced. The past participle form emphasizes something that has been _______. That said, since d and t are dentals (formed by touching the tongue against the back of the teeth), elision quite naturally takes place, so it sounds like ice tea. The mistake has been compounded by the popular rapper Ice-T, formerly known as Tracy Lauren Marrow.

Here are some other misspelled past participle forms:

MISTAKE                       SHOULD BE

shell peas                          shelled peas
ice beer                             iced beer
an occupy seat                 an occupied seat
husk corn                          husked corn
mask man                         masked man
french fry potatoes            french fried potatoes
checker past                     checkered past
unleash dog                      unleashed dog
block punt                         blocked punt
broke faucet                      broken faucet

froze food                         frozen food


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 about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.




Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Scale


Bill from Merritt, Michigan, mused on the word scale, which can encompass diverse meanings from relative size to the covering on a fish to a musical progression. As with many words having multiple meanings, though the spelling is identical, the origins may have absolutely nothing in common. Here’s how the Oxford English Dictionary covers the word.

scale-1  [ON skál bowl]
·      a drinking bowl
·      an apparatus for weighing things

scale-2  [Ger. skaljā shell]
·      small thin membranous or horny outgrowths on the skin of many fish and reptiles
·      a husk that may be peeled off or detached in flakes
·      the tartar that collects on teeth
·      a symbol of physical or moral blindness  (Acts ix.18)
·      the hard deposit that forms in vessels used to boil water

scale-3  [L. scala ladder]
·      a ladder, especially one used to scale a wall in battle
·      a graduated series of sounds into which an octave is divided
·      a progression of steps measuring from lowest to highest
·      a graduated table (e.g., a salary scale)
·      relative or proportionate size

Obsolete meanings included
·      a hut
·      a squadron or battalion
·      the amount of timber standing or in cut logs
·      a seaport town


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 about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Goads


 Gifford Haddock asked about a word that appears in Acts 26:14. The word is goads, and it appears in this context: And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’” (The King James Version uses the old-fashioned word pricks.)

A goad was a prod to control oxen. It could be as simple as a stout pointed stick, eight to ten feet long, or it could be made a bit more sophisticated and punishing by adding a metal point.

An animal that kicked against the goad would be startled by getting punctured. In addition, the ploughman would only repeat the assault against a recalcitrant animal. (Recalcitrant, appropriately, comes from a Latin word that means to kick backward.)

Judges 3:31 also speaks of the goad as a formidable weapon: “After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. He, too, saved Israel.”

“To kick against the goads,it turns out, was a relatively common proverb in the ancient world, and it spoke to useless resistance to a superior force.

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 about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





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