Saturday, August 19, 2017

Blind Pig


Pat from Elk Rapids asked about the establishment known as a blind pig. It was known as a blind tiger in the south, and it was also referred to as a hole in the wall elsewhere.

The whole thing was a ruse to sell alcohol illegally. There actually was no animal involved, maimed or not. The fiction was that the customer was paying to see an exotic animal and was given a complimentary drink while viewing it. The adjective blind was probably used because law enforcement officers often turned a blind eye to the enterprise – for a consideration.

A reference to blind pig may be found in 1857. It appeared on page 182 of the May 23 issue of Spirit of Times:

“I sees a kinder pigeon-hole cut in the side of a house, and over the hole, in big writin’, ‘Blind Tiger 10c a Sight.’ Says I to the feller inside, ‘here’s your ten cents. Walk out your wildcat.’ I’ll be dodbusted if he didn’t shove out a glass of whiskey. You see, that blind tiger was an arrangement to evade the law, which won’t let them sell liquor there except by the gallon.”

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 two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






Friday, August 11, 2017

-lude and –clude





Karl asked if the words ludicrous and interlude are based on the same root. The short answer: in spite of the spelling-challenged rapper, yes. Both came from the Latin verb ludere, to play. The concept of play lies beneath the surface of a number of common words, at least in their original meaning. For instance, we have

·      allude  (to make a playful reference to something)
·      collude  (to play against someone)
·      delude  (to play on someone’s hope)
·      elude  (to playfully evade)
·      interlude  (a presentation between the acts of a play)
·      prelude  (the warmup to a play or to a musical piece)

A warning, however. If you see –lude immediately preceded by a –c– (-clude) you are dealing with another source entirely. That source is the Latin verb claudere, to close. Common examples are

·      conclude  (to close an action)
·      exclude  (to shut out)
·      occlude  (to obstruct)
·      preclude  (to block a course of action)
·      seclude  (to shut up in isolation)

I came across an intriguing word while researching this topic. The word is hastilude – spear play in a tournament – but I don’t see the point.

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 two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.
http://wtcmradio.com/words-to-the-wise/





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