Zircon (including hyacinth or yellow zircon) is a mineral belonging to the group of nesosilicates. Its chemical name is zirconium silicate and its corresponding chemical formula is ZrSiO4. Zircon is a mineral, occurring in tetragonal crystals, yielding brilliant clear gemstones called "cubic zircons" or "cubic zirconia". A cheap alternative to diamond.
The ocarina is an egg-shaped terra cotta wind instrument with a mouthpiece and finger holes; A woodwind musical instrument that is closed at both sides to produce an enclosed space, and punctured with finger holes.
Encephalalgia simply menas a headache but it would sound better when you phone in sick! Which reminds me of the Doctor who used to write Plumbum vibrans on sick notes - meaning 'Swinging the lead!
To swing the lead means to malinger. It is said to come from the days when the job of testing the depth of water under a ship was done by raising and lowering a lead on a line. A lazy leadsman would take his time about the process - swinging the lead.
Locavore is one of those new words coined to describe a modern trend. It means someone who, for environmental reasons, endeavours to restrict their shopping and consuming habits to items produced locally. It remains to be seen if the word survives for very long.
Hodge was a familair and condescending name for a farm labourer, peasant or rustic. it dates back at least to the 16th Century and was still in use in the early 20th century. It is possibly an abbreviated form of the name Roger.
Hobble Skirts were one of the more ridiculous of fashions, being dresses or skirts that were tight around the lower legs and ankles thereby impeding walking. They were at their height in 1912 and gone by 1914.
Gibbous means bulging: something that bulges out or is protuberant or projects from its surroundings. The word is usually used in connection with the moon and refers to a phase of the moon between first quarter and full or between full and last quarter.
The phrase 'getting the hang of it', meaning to find the knack of doing something, seems to date from around the 1820s. It is said to originate with public executions where a poor executioner would leave a [person hanging for ages while they strangled to death. A good executioner (who had got the hang of it) would drop the victim in such a way that their neck broke, making a quick and clean job of it. (Well, perhaps not clean but we won't go into that...)
A carrack (also knowmn as a nau) was a large galleon sailed in the Mediterranean as a merchantman; a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in the Atlantic Ocean in the 15th century by the Portuguese
Harem means forbidden to outsiders. A harem is living quarters reserved for wives and concubines and female relatives in a Muslim household; the private part of an Arab household. In traditional Arab culture, this part of the household was forbidden to male strangers;
"In every family home lay a region that was harem, forbidden to outsiders."
Borek is a confection made of layers of honeyed pastry; a type of baked or fried filled pastry, from Turkey , made of a thin flaky dough known as yufka (or phyllo), and can be filled with cheese, often feta, sirene or kaşar, minced meat, or vegetables.
The children’s rhyme ‘Here we go gathering nuts in May...’ often evinces the comment that nuts are found in the Autumn, not in May. However, the origins appear quite simple – the phrase was initially ‘Here we go gathering knots of May.’ A knot – as in a small garland or posy of flowers; and May as in the alternative name for the Hawthorn Blossom which was gathered as part of the May Day celebrations.
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
I'm a blogger - nowadays that seems to be my main occupation and Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. I enjoy all manner of communication apart from the telephone and am constantly e-mailing, texting, writing postcards and letters and commenting on other people's blogs.
Scriptor Senex is Latin for Old Writer and my real name is John but I've almost forgotten that nowadays...
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)