Friday, November 02, 2018

Gubernatorial



The Governator


Jim from Northport asked, “Why is gubernatorial the adjective for the noun governor? Why are the B and V interchanged?”

Interchanging the two letters began back in the ancient Greek period. Both are called labials because the lips are involved in pronouncing them. Because the two are closely allied in their formation, it was easy to confuse them. The blending of the two is known as betacism; beta was the Greek name for our B sound. If English formation had prevailed, we could very well have an adjective spelled governatorial.

Both words, and all variations containing the root govern, stem from a Latin word—guberna—that meant a steersman or the pilot of a vessel. The concepts of guidance and protection are baked into the root.

By the way, the same kind of linguistic musical chairs can take place with D, T, and TH.
Dese guys and dem gals already know dat.


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.




Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Bunt & Bunting




A listener asked if there is a connection between a bunt – the baseball maneuver – and a bunting – the bird.  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.

There are many meanings for the word bunt, most of them totally unconnected even though the spelling remains the same, and a few meanings for the word bunting.

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.





Saturday, September 15, 2018

Catwalk



Kirk from Boyne City, Michigan, asked about the word catwalk   It appears that it was named after the sure-footedness and agility of a cat, since many catwalks are narrow and somewhat precarious.

While all catwalks are designed as passageways for standing or walking, there are slight variations depending up their location. Thus, we have

·      a narrow walkway along a bridge;
·      a platform along which models walk in a fashion show : a runway;
·      on a truck, the plate directly behind the cab or sleeper covering the frame rails to provide a safe place to stand while tarping a load or retrieving chains, straps, bungees, etc.;
·      a narrow passage in a dirigible;
·      a narrow bridge communicating with the two fly-galleries above and below the proscenium arch;
·      on a ship, any long narrow gangway, especially when erected high over anything or above a deck that is awash in heavy weather.

Gangway means a going way.

A runway originally was a path made by an animal. In 1933, it became the walkway for models exhibiting clothes.

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.





Friday, August 24, 2018

Onset, Outset



Francine from Interlochen, Michigan, asked about the difference between the words outset and onset. They both signify a beginning or a start, but while outset is neutral in its connotation, onset signifies the start of something troublesome.

Outset:  The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first written instance as 1664, and defines it as, “The action or fact of setting out upon a journey, course of action, business, etc.; a start, a beginning. Now chiefly in at the outset, from the outset.”

·      She made it clear at the outset that transparency was vital in dealing with customers.

·      There were problems with the generator from the outset.

·      At the outset he knew very little about computers, but he quickly learned on the job. 

Onset:  The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first written instance as 1561, and defines it as, “The beginning of some (esp. unpleasant) situation, condition, or state, etc.; a commencement, a start.”

·      Many people believe that you should increase your intake of vitamin C at the onset of a cold.

·      The villagers fought hard at the onset of the rebel attack on their homes.

·      Sudden sensitivity to light often signals the onset of a migraine.


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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