Category Archives: Language & Etymology

Brief Note from Scotland

Today and tomorrow, I’m at the Celtic Classics Conference, being held at Saint Andrews. It’s a lovely town by the sea ( pics below), with famous golf courses and some grand old university buildings, none of which the conference is … Continue reading

Posted in Cartoons, Classics, Language & Etymology, Poetry, Scotland, Sports & Games, Trees & Flowers | Leave a comment

Head-copping

An evening or two ago, I stopped into Mooney’s, the great little local market just on the border between Sewanee and Monteagle, to pick up some garlic powder. I had paid for it, when it occurred to me that I … Continue reading

Posted in Language & Etymology, Sewanee, Tennessee, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Regnet Pax Omnem Per Terram

This morning’s Sewanee Elementary School assembly was a real treat–this year’s petition for peace for the Peace Pole was in Latin: “Regnet Pax Omnem Per Terram.” To prepare, Kathryn Gotko Bruce had the 4th grade students do some study on … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Education, Emblems, Language & Etymology, Music, Sewanee, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What’s in a Place-name?

Metonomasia is an obscure term– it’s not even found in the OED!– but it’s a real thing, the alteration of a place-name. Very often this takes place for political reasons: think of the change of St. Petersburg to Leningrad and … Continue reading

Posted in Drama, England, Ireland, Language & Etymology, Military, Sewanee, Slavery, The South, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Scofflaw

I didn’t know until just today that the word “scofflaw” was coined as part of a 1924 contest hosted by the Boston Herald to describe people who flagrantly ignored the Prohibition ban on drinking alcohol.

Posted in Boston, Language & Etymology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Julius Caesar, the Hulk, and other Illeists

I’m getting ready to teach Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar this morning, and am reminded of the protagonist’s tendency to refer to himself in the third person, as in Act I scene 2: Who is it in the press that calls on me? … Continue reading

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Trump’s Small Hands: innuendo, insinuatio, what?

Late last month, Sen. Marco Rubio decided to get down into the gutter with demagogue Donald Trump. As the Washington Post reported it: He turned insults lobbed by Trump against the billionaire. He said the only reason Trump isn’t as sweaty … Continue reading

Posted in England, Language & Etymology, Rome, Uncategorized | Leave a comment