Reposting this, on this auspicious day …
It’s Friday 13th, and for some people that’s a day when their triskaidekaphobia kicks in big time. Triskaidekaphobia? It means “fear of the number 13”. Also sometimes spelled triskaidecaphobia, it’s a slightly strange word deriving from two different languages: it combines the Greek treiskaideka (“thirteen”) with the Latin word for “fear of”, phobia. The first known written citation is in a book by Isador Coriat, Religion and Medicine: the Moral Control of Nervous Disorders, published in 1908, so this superstition linked to the number 13 is probably quite a recent phenomenon. But is there also a word for the fear of the date itself? Continue reading
It’s the number of wonders in the world; for many, it’s the number of perfection, security, safety and rest. It’s the number of colors in a rainbow and of days in a week; of notes in a scale, and of dwarfs in Snow White’s entourage.
Here, on Glosso’s seventh birthday, are seven phrases or proverbs that include the word seven — plus one for luck.
- Seven-day wonder: A person or thing that generates interest for only a short amount of time.
- At sixes and sevens: Frazzled or disorganized. Probably originated from a dice game in which rolling a six or seven was unfavorable.
- Seven-year itch: A supposed tendency to infidelity after seven years of marriage.
- In seventh heaven: In a state of ecstasy.
- Seven-league boots: The ability to travel very fast on foot. This phrase comes from the fairy-tale Hop o’ My Thumb (or Little Thumbling), in which magic boots enable the wearer to travel seven leagues in each stride.
- “Keep a thing seven years and you’ll (always) find a use for it“
- “You should know a man seven years before you stir his fire“
And the last one for luck:
Twenty-four seven: All day every day …
Aluminum. Or aluminium. / Wikimedia Commons
There might be trade war brewing over steel and aluminum. But another trans-Atlantic war has already been raging for a couple of centuries over one of those heavy metals. Which came first: American aluminum or British aluminium? Continue reading
It’s UK Pun Day, and to celebrate, Glossophilia has chosen some of its favorite punny shops and restaurant names. Enjoy. Continue reading
“Dream when you’re feeling blue”, sang Ray Charles. Shakespeare’s Cleopatra talked famously of her salad days when she was “green in judgement”; the Everley Brothers sang of all their friends being “just about green with envy”. Depeche Mode wrote a whole song about a black day, and Cyndi Lauper saw someone’s “true colors shining through”. The poetic use of color in a metaphorical rather than a literal sense — to describe everything from moods to bank-balances, political affiliations to social classes — dates back centuries and permeates most modern languages. Colors themselves have metaphorical meanings that are universal across cultures and languages. Here’s a summary of their figurative meanings, which are often evoked as keenly and understood as universally as the hues they describe literally. Continue reading
Tickets issued for President Trump’s first State of the Union address contain a misspelling of the word “Union.”
Sic. (And if you don’t believe us, or Marco Rubio, check Snopes.)