“The eagle has landed”

“The eagle has landed” is a common expression used to indicate any successful arrival or completion of a “mission” objective. The American astronaut Neil Armstrong said these words when he announced the successful landing of the Apollo 11 lunar module named “Eagle” in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon 50 years ago today – on July 20, 1969.

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Love, deuce and all that jazz

djokovic-murray

Glossophilia is posting this one again — as Wimbledon fortnight gets underway. Djokovic and Murray aren’t meeting tomorrow, but they’re both still in the game (just!). Familiar faces, but new balls …

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They’re meeting tomorrow in what promises to be a nail-biting Wimbledon final (nail-biting at least for the great British public). But how much love will there be on Centre Court between these two formidable sportsmen, Novac Djokovic and Andy Murray? On the scoreboard, there might be a fair amount during the course of the match; perhaps not so much on the court itself. Why is love the name given to the score for zero in tennis? And what the deuce is the story behind the score for 40-all? Continue reading

Historic 8-way tie at national spelling bee

Winners, l to r: Abhijay Kodali, Sohum Sukhatankar, Saketh Sundar, Rishik Gandhasri, Shruthika Padhy, Christopher Serrao, Erin Howard, and Rohan Raja

Last night the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee came to a close just after midnight with a historic eight-way tie.

“A superhuman group of adolescents broke the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, with eight contestants crowned co-champions after the competition said it was running out of challenging words. … It was a stunning result…for the 92nd annual event, which has had six two-way ties but had never before experienced such a logjam at the top. After the 17th round, Jacques Bailly, the event’s pronouncer, announced that any of the eight remaining contestants who made it through three more words would share in the prize.” The New York Times has the story.

The 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee had 565 contestants and was won by eight co-champions who had lasted through 20 rounds.

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“Wax and gold” in goldsmithery and Amharigna

“The Baqdadi Goldsmith” by Kamal-ol-molk / Wikimedia Commons

I’m reading a guidebook about Ethiopia (preparing for a trip there later in the year), and I’ve just stumbled on this really interesting piece by John Grinling called “Wax and gold in goldsmithery and Amharigna.” It’s a good read for anyone interested in words and language, and perhaps helps explain why I love Ethiopian culture. Continue reading

Acceptation: so modern and meta

Admit it: if you read the word acceptation in a newspaper or blog, you would probably pause. You might think: What publication am I reading? Is it legit, or have I gone too far down the rabbit-hole again? Is there any sign of an editor around here? Perhaps English isn’t the author’s first language? And you might even reach for a dictionary. It’s surely a mistake, you’re thinking. They must mean acceptanceContinue reading

Labor Day: the meaning of labor (or labour)

 

labor

Labor Day Parade, Union Square, New York, 1882

Update: It’s May 6, 2019, and there’s breaking news: the Duchess of Sussex is in labour. Want to find out more about the history of the word labour (or, as we Americans spell it, labor)? Read this post from a few years ago … Continue reading

It’s Talk Like Shakespeare Day!

It’s National Talk Like Shakespeare Day!* Please teachest me to speaketh like Shakespeare, I heareth thee cry. You probably do already: if you say things like “send him packing”, “as good luck would have it”, “more fool you”, “neither here nor there”,  “mum’s the word”, or “the be-all and end-all”, then you’re doing pretty well in the Shakespearean language department: he was responsible for either coining or popularizing all those phrases.  Anyway, has’t no fear: Glossophilia cometh to the rescue, and we’re about to guide you through your online toolkit of Shakespearean-speak gadgets. Among Glossophilia’s favorites is Shmoop’s own Shakespearean Translator, which is just like Google Translate: Type anything into the box and “see it translated into super-authentic Shakespearean English”. Then there’s the Shakespeare Insult Kit, whose author Jerry Maguire (sic) was or is an English teacher at Center Grove High School in Greenwood Indiana. You’ll sound like a true Shakespearean villain when you hurl those concoctions out there. Another Glosso favorite is Shakespeare’s Words Thesaurus: “This is the opposite of the Glossary. When consulting the Glossary, you know the word and you want to find out what it means. When consulting the Thesaurus, you know the meaning and you want to find out which Shakespearean words express it. How would he say ‘arrogant’ or ‘companion’?'” Did you know that there’s a William Shakespeare Glossary on CliffNotes? And one on SparkNotes too? There’s a plethora of Shakespeare glossaries and dictionaries out there — and I mean plethora in its truest sense – to help you on your talk-like-Shakespeare quest. Here are just some of them … Continue reading