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12 Old Words that Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms

12 Old Words that Survived by Getting Fossilized in Idioms
English has changed a lot in the last several hundred years, and there are many words once used that we would no longer recognize today. For whatever reason, we started pronouncing them differently, or stopped using them entirely, and they became obsolete. There are some old words, however, that are nearly obsolete, but we still recognize because they were lucky enough to get stuck in set phrases that have lasted across the centuries. Here are 12 lucky words that survived by getting fossilized in idioms. 1. wend You rarely see a "wend" without a "way." 2. deserts The "desert" from the phrase "just deserts" is not the dry and sandy kind, nor the sweet post-dinner kind. 3. eke If we see "eke" at all these days, it's when we "eke out" a living, but it comes from an old verb meaning to add, supplement, or grow. 4. sleight "Sleight of hand" is one tricky phrase. 5. dint "Dint" comes from the oldest of Old English where it originally referred to a blow struck with a sword or other weapon. 7. fro Related:  Lexical ChangeBeautiful Words

The unstoppable march of hybrid bakery products 9 October 2013Last updated at 14:41 GMT Magazine Monitor A collection of cultural artefacts The "duffin", a mash-up of a doughnut and a muffin, is the latest portmanteau baked good to make the news. It started with the Cronut, an unholy mongrel of croissant and doughnut. Then followed the townie (a tartlet crossed with a brownie) and the brookie (a blend of brownies and cookies endorsed by Martha Stewart, no less). Oh, and there's also the muffle (muffin plus waffle), the crookie (croissant, meet cookie) and the macanut (a macaroon-doughnut fusion). Now we have the Duffin, a doughnut-muffin compound that captured headlines after it was trademarked by a Starbucks supplier, despite having been produced by an independent London tearoom for the past couple of years. Portmanteau bakery, it seems, is everywhere. At one stage in culinary history these confections would have been shunned as an offence to both God and nature. But food and compound nouns have a long history.

Autumn is upon us | carpwatercraft Autumn is upon us. The air is refreshingly crisp as winter prepares to draw her first breath. Light chestnut brown and golden leaves gently clatter down the side of my shelter settling on the damp dewy grass. Blackberries hang limp and deflated from thorny fronds. Beech trees huddled in the wood behind me rustle in a hurried breeze. A lone icy call from a crow cuts through the gentle hissing, darkening an already dim evening. There is an undeniable subtle magic present in all things, but it is seldom observed as such. Angling, as much as it is about catching fish, is an opportunity to plumb the depths of our consciousness. Ever since the age of 5 when my father first introduced me to angling I have been, as many are, besotted with water and the presence of its scaly inhabitants. Through the act of casting line into water we have the ability to literally and metaphorically merge the internal and external worlds. Like this: Like Loading...

What we liked in 2013: words Oh hi, is that a selfie of you twerking in the middle of a sharknado? Such is the pleasurable speed of linguistic invention that this perfectly normal sentence would have been incomprehensible to most people only a year ago. The word "selfie" first appeared in an Australian online forum in 2002, but this was the year it earned the title of Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Speaking of arses, a strong challenger to "selfie" was "twerk", a verb that was thrust to prominence by Miley Cyrus's remarkable performance at the MTV video music awards in August. Some new or unusual words see topical spikes in popularity then die away again. Not mentioned by the Oxford editors (or yet in their dictionary) is "listicle". A different emphasis on linguistic fashion is provided by Merriam-Webster, which nominated "science" as its word of the year: people looked it up in their dictionary nearly three times more often than in 2012.

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Beyond selfies and twerking … the words that really mattered in 2013 Big data This was a year in which sheer hugeness was exciting, as vividly demonstrated by Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro's excellent film about giant robots punching giant monsters in what passed for their giant faces. Similar thrills attended the mainstreaming of the phrase "big data", which made everyone wonder in embarrassment how they had got along with their pathetic wad of tiny data for so long. Metadata Edward Snowden's revelations about government spying revealed nothing if not a triumph of big data for the organisation once jokingly referred to as the No Such Agency. Surveillance Naturally, the term "surveillance" cropped up a lot post-Snowden. Sousveillance Opposed to "surveillance" is the term "sousveillance", which was first coined by wearable computing pioneer Steve Mann a decade ago. Bitcoin The point of bitcoin is to conduct one's economic affairs away from prying eyes. Precariat Hard-working Obamacare Binge-watching And the words that still, really, really didn't Belfie Schmazing

When Charles Darwin Hated Everybody by Maria Popova A necessary reminder that even geniuses have their despondent days. “The day of days!,” wrote an elated 29-year-old Charles Darwin in his journal after his cousin, Emma Wedgwood, accepted his marriage proposal, proceeding to famously weigh the pros and cons of marriage and merrily conclude that the enterprise was worth it. But Darwin, apparently, wasn’t always so cheerful. In her recent Creative Mornings talk,* the inimitable Maira Kalman shared a letter Darwin wrote to his friend, the Scottish geologist Charles Lyell, in 1861, a little over a year after the publication of On the Origin of Species. My dear Lyell[…]What a wonderful case the Bedford case.– Does not the N. Kalman’s final presentation slide put it all so simply yet so eloquently: *UPDATE: Kalman’s talk is now up — do yourself a favor and watch it. Darwin image via The New York Times Donating = Loving Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month. Share on Tumblr

OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year Do you know which words entered the English language around the same time you entered the world? Use our OED birthday word generator to find out! We’ve scoured the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to find words with a first known usage for each year from 1900 to 2004. Simply select the relevant decade and click on your birth year to discover a word which entered the English language that year. Please note that the dates given for these words refer to the current first known usage of the word. The OED team is continuously researching the histories of words (something you may be able to help with), and it’s therefore possible that we will find an earlier sense of the words during our research. If you are a subscriber or have access to the OED, visit our guide to learn how to find your own personal OED birthday word. Click on your birth year in the left-hand column to discover your OED birthday word. Words originating in the 1900s include: Words originating in the 1910s include: Bollywood, n.

What Books Do for the Human Soul: The Four Psychological Functions of Great L... It looks like it’s wasting time, but literature is actually the ultimate time-saver — because it gives us access to a range of emotions and events that it would take you years, decades, millennia to try to experience directly. Literature is the greatest reality simulator — a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you can ever directly witness. Literature performs the basic magic of what things look like though someone else’s point of view; it allows us to consider the consequences of our actions on others in a way we otherwise wouldn’t; and it shows us examples of kindly, generous, sympathetic people. Literature deeply stands opposed to the dominant value system — the one that rewards money and power. We’re weirder than we like to admit. All of our lives, one of our greatest fears is of failure, of messing up, of becoming, as the tabloids put it, “a loser.”

The top 20 words of 2013: Survey lists error code '404', 'drone' and 'fail' among the most common terms used this year Global Language Monitor tracked blogs, social networks and news sites Error code 404 and the word 'fail' were the most popular words of 2013'Surveillance' and 'drones' also made the cut, alongside 'Solar Max''Toxic politics' and other terms relating to the U.S federal shutdown were most popular phrases Pope Francis was the most commonly used name online over the past year By Victoria Woollaston Published: 14:00 GMT, 11 November 2013 | Updated: 16:03 GMT, 13 November 2013 According The Global Language Monitor the most commonly used word in 2013 was '404', which refers to a technical error code The web has been a negative place over the past year. According to research from The Global Language Monitor (GLM), the most commonly used word across the whole of the web in 2013 was 404, which refers to an online technical error code. The word ‘fail’ came in second place and was followed by words including ‘surveillance’, ‘drone’ and deficit’. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 1.