Category Archives: word origins

Deamed (or) Deemed (or) Damned (or) Dammed? To Curse or Not to Curse…

Periodically in a story set in the Regency era, the occasion arises where a curse word would be appropriate for a character. However, how to use that word and who might utter it remains a decision most authors of the … Continue reading

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Doublespeak: Favorite Euphemisms or How I Learned Something of “Poppycock”

Euphemisms? We learn them in the most peculiar ways. I recall as a child that my mother was very upset with me when I used the word “poppycock.” You see, I thought myself quite sophisticated to learn a new word … Continue reading

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Author’s “Voice” ~ What is It?

Writers often hear another author warn them about losing their “voice.” But what exactly is “voice”? In reality, there are so many theories on this question that I could be here for years debating them all. I am of the … Continue reading

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Words that “Snarl” and Words that “Purr”

My undergraduate degree was a comprehensive major (no minor) that covered English, speech, journalism, and theatre. As such, many years ago, I came across these terms: snarl-words and purr-words in a book on rhetoric that was one of my textbooks. … Continue reading

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Do You Know These Words and Phrases?

Go Through Fire and Water ~ English for Students tells us, “Go through fire and water means to face any peril. This phrase originally referred to the medieval practice of trial by ordeal which could take the form of making an accused … Continue reading

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Do You Know These Words and Phrases?

 Jumping the Broom/Broomstick – This is a ceremony dating back to the 1600s and derived from Africa. Dating back to slave days, jumping the broom together has been part of weddings for couples who want to honor that tradition. It also … Continue reading

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Do You Know These Words and Phrases?

Inexpressibles ~ Etymology Compare to unmentionables ‎(“underwear”). Geri Walton at her Unique Histories from the 18th and 19th Centuries tells us “That part of the dress which it is now unlawful to name, seems of old to have had the … Continue reading

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