Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lent


Mike from Cadillac asked about the word Lent. In certain Christian circles, Lent is now the period including 40 weekdays extending from Ash Wednesday to Easter-eve, observed as a time of fasting and penitence.

The early Church did not at first agree upon the date of Easter, much less the amount of fasting that should go on, or even what one should fast from. By the 6th century, ecclesiastical law decreed that Easter should be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. By then, a forty-day Lent had been deemed symbolically significant, no doubt influenced by accounts about Moses (Exodus 34:28), Elias (1 Kings 19:8), and Jesus (Matthew 4:2).

Lent came from an Old English word, lencten, that simply meant spring. The ecclesiastical sense of Lent eventually took over in English, but allied Germanic words retained the seasonal meaning.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

Check out Mike's other books here:
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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 about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stateroom


Pat from Elk Rapids asked about the word stateroom.  

Originally (17th century), the stateroom was the captain’s cabin on board a ship. It was the largest and most desirable one available. Soon thereafter, it was used to designate a large, lavishly decorated hotel room used on formal or ceremonial occasions.

Within a century, a stateroom was a cabin on a passenger ship that provided sleeping accommodations. It no longer was reserved for the superior officer. In 19th century America, it was a private compartment on a railway train.

The words state, estate, and status are connected. One’s social standing was involved, especially where wealth and possessions were concerned. At the core is the Latin verb stare, to stand. The participle form shifted to the spelling form stat-.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

Check out Mike's other books here:
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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.






Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hearty or Hardy?


An article in the Record-Eagle quoted a local Conservation District coordinator as saying, “They are pretty hearty plants.” He may actually have said that, but the reporter should have quietly corrected the word choice to what it should be: “They are pretty hardy plants.”

Hearty has many shades of meaning, but they are all connected—at least metaphorically—to the heart.

·     *  Unrestrained expression: “He gave a hearty laugh after I finished the joke.”
·     *  Zealous and fervent: “She is a hearty supporter of the Weight Watchers’ program.”
·      * Performed with energy: “In a chug-a-lug contest, you give your opponent a hearty slap on the back when he slams the stein down.”
·      * Exhibiting warmth and affection: “He gave me a hearty smile as soon as he spotted me across the room.”
·      * Merry and convivial: “They promised me that a hearty time would be had by all.”
·     *  Sincere and deeply felt: “She has a hearty dislike for most politicians.”
·      * Nourishing and strengthening: “There is nothing like a hearty bowl of chicken soup on a cold winter’s day.”
·      * Robust and voracious: “He has a hearty appetite; prepare plenty of food.”

In contrast, hardy is connected to the idea of hardness, strength, durability.

·      * Courageous and daring: “Are you hardy enough to take on another responsibility?”
·      * Capable of enduring fatigue: “The hardy cyclists worked their way to the top of the mountain.”
·      * Able to grow in harsh conditions: “They are pretty hardy plants.”

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

Check out Mike's other books here:
 Amazon.com

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






Saturday, March 15, 2014

Corned


Timothy was telling me of his plans for St. Patrick’s Day, and they included a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner.  He wondered about the origin of corned, since no corn is apparent in the dish.

Corned beef is preserved or cured with salt. The basis is a common Germanic and Scandinavian word that meant a worn-down particle. The shape and size were the important elements, not the substance itself.  You could have grains or corns of sand, salt, pepper, gunpowder, coffee, wheat, rye, barley, and so on. The word kernel is connected.

The word cabbage has at its core the concept of a head, and it is Anglo-Norman in origin. The genus into which it falls is Brassica, a Latin word for cabbage and allied plants. The adjective form is brassicacious.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

Check out Mike's other books here:
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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.






Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fell a Tree or Fall a Tree?


Norman wrote, “Can you provide some clarity on the use of 'fall' and 'fell' with regards to cutting down a tree?  Many folks say, I'm going to fell a tree.  On the other hand, some say, I'm going to fall a tree.  Thanks for any insight that you can provide me.”

The proper form is "fell a tree." Fall is not supposed to take an object. Its principal parts are fall. fell, fallen.

  • A tree fell in the forest.
  • The tree has fallen.
  • The regime fell to the revolutionaries.
The principal parts of fell (a separate verb) are fell, felled, and felling. That verb does take an object, and it has two meanings:

  • (1) To cause to fall by striking; to cut or knock down: to fell a tree / to fell an opponent in boxing. 
  • (2) To kill: President Kennedy was felled by an assassin's bullet.

It wasn’t part of Nortman’s question, but fell as an adjective means fierce, deadly, and ruthless. When a bird of prey suddenly drops down on its prey and snatches it up, it kills in one fell swoop.


Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

Check out Mike's other books here:
 Amazon.com
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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