October 15, 2004  •  martin

“all but” - I hate that expression!

Can’t help it but I really despise the expression “all but”. How did a phrase that suggests the opposite of what it says ever come into currency? “Such actions were all but unheard of then” “Later, they were all but wiped out in a British attack” “They were all but exterminated by the Jedi” PS: For some discoveries in word coignage read Neal Stephenson’s trilogy The Baroque Cycle. A mere 3000 pages.

October 1, 2004  •  goossun

Fuff

What does “fuff” mean Dave? Is a corruption of puff?

September 10, 2004  •  ghoti

Big fish, small pond

I have recently heard the English expression “Big fish in a small pond”. Does anybody know what this means? Can anybody think of an example of one?

September 5, 2004  •  anna

Irregardless?

I have heard highly educated people use this word. Where did it come from and why do people use it? It seems almost as if they are uncomfortable using just plain old regardless and feel that the word should sound more complex or something, and so they say irregardless. I have never been able to figure out how this word was created. Any ideas?

August 26, 2004  •  goossun

ab

Hi all. I’m back after a long time. I just finish a short movie and you don’t know what a pain I had, writing the dialogues in English. Anyway, is there any other word than “abnormal” which is negated with prefix AB? Of course there are obscure words like “abnegate”, but I mean the words that one really uses.

August 10, 2004  •  marta

Flying (with) Colours?

Why are the colours flying in the idiom “to do something with flying colours”?

August 3, 2004  •  marta

Five O’clock Shadow

I’ve always been baffled by the idiom ‘’five o’clock shadow’. It’s one of my favourites. Can you tell me what it comes from and who coined it?

July 21, 2004  •  marta

Swinging a Cat

Does anyone know the etymology of the phrase: ‘’not enough room to swing the cat'’?

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