A new word or phrase coined for an old object or concept whose original name has become used for something else or is no longer unique. For example, acoustic guitar – guitar used to mean ‘acoustic guitar’ but can now also refer to an electric guitar.
It was almost 2,300 years after the ancient Greeks suggested both the idea of, and the word for, atoms that they were actually proven to exist.
The ancient Greeks and Romans thought butter fit only for barbarians. Their words for butter, buturon and butyrum, mean cow-cheese.
There have been 12 Greek popes.
Greece invented democracy, but Greek women only got the vote in 1952.
Asbestos is Greek for ‘inextinguishable’. The Greeks occasionally wove handkerchiefs out of asbestos.
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Source: Swan. M. 2005. Practical English Usage Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press (2011).
Practical English Usage lists over a hundred common mistakes in the English language. Even advanced students of English make mistakes. Swan (2005) has listed a number of them.
“I’ll ask you in case I need help.” = I’ll ask you if I need help.
(271.3) In case and if are normally used in quite different ways. ‘Do A in case B happens’ means ‘Do A (first) because B might happen later’. ‘Do A if B happens’ means ‘Do A if B has already happened’.
“I object to tell them my age.” = I object to telling them my age.
(298.2) To is actually two different words. It can be an infinitive marker, used to show that the next word is an infinitive (e.g. to swim, to laugh). It can also be a preposition, followed for example by a noun (e.g. She’s gone to the park, I look forward to Christmas). (298.1) When we put a verb after preposition, we normally use an -ing form (‘gerund’), not an infinitive.
“I like the 60s music.” = I like the music of the 60s. / … 60s music.
(69.3) Some expressions are ‘half-general’- in the middle between general and particular.
“ten thousand, a hundred and six.” = ten thousand, one hundred and six.
(389.11) We can say an eighth or one eighth, a hundred or one hundred, a thousand or one thousand, a million or one million, etc. One is more formal. A can only be used at the beginning of a number.
“‘Who’s that?’ – ‘He’s John.’” = ‘Who’s that?’ – ‘It’s John.’
(428.9) We use it for a person when we are identifying him or her.
“I don’t like to be shouted.” = I don’t like to be shouted at.
(416.1) The objects of prepositional verbs can become subjects in passive structures. We have looked at the plan carefully. – The plan has been carefully looked at. Note the word order. The preposition cannot be dropped.
“It’s ages since she’s arrived.” = It’s ages since she arrived.
(522.2) In British English, present and past tenses are common in the structure It is / was … since …
“The police is looking for him.” = The police are looking for him.
(524.7) Cattle is a plural word used to talk collectively about bulls, cows and calves; it has no singular, and cannot be used for counting individual animals. Police, staff and crew are generally used in the same way.
- having one’s head turned down, due to sadness.
morrer na praia [verb.]
- (idiomatic) to fail after trying hard and almost succeeding. Literally: “to die on the beach.”
nem que a vaca tussa [adverb.]
- (idiomatic) definitely not; by no means; not in a million years. Literally: “not even if the cow coughs.”
pedra no sapato (f.) [noun.]
- a minor but constant problem; an annoyance. Literally: “a stone in the shoe.”
The ghost of Archbishop Laud, beheaded in 1645, is said to haunt the library of St. John’s College, Oxford where apparently it plays football with its own head.
Golf balls were originally made of wood. Later, they were made from boiled feathers stuffed into stitched leather known as featheries. The modern (and cheaper) golf ball filled with gutta-percha was not developed till 1848.
A swarm of gnats is called a ghost.
The oldest golf club in the world is St Andrews, founded in 1552.
The word lemur means ghost. It was coined by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-78) from the Latin, Lemures: the shades of the departed.
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dūstscēawung (f.) [noun.]
- viewing or contemplation of dust.
- the act of treading on grapes.
desengaño (m.) [noun.]
- realization of the truth, especially after a period of deceit.
- he who caresses.
- breast; breasts; teat;
- (of the sea or weather) calm;
- (figuratively) serene, tranquil, peaceful (state of mind).
- to become soil.
- (neologism) a personal pronoun of unspecified gender; an alternative to “hon” (she) or “han” (he).
Tante-Emma-Laden (m.) [noun.]
- mom-and-pop grocery store, mom-and-pop convenience store.
шпионома́ния (špionománija) (f.) [noun.]
- spy mania, spy fever (paranoia about spies, fearmongering about the threat of foreign spies).
hundrað (n.) [noun.]
- a long hundred (120).
- to lose one’s beauty or handsomeness, especially regarding the shape and firmness of body.
- to fight mutually using scratches, in the manner of cats;
- (figuratively) to have a catfight.
pekoral (f.) [noun.]
- a text written in a grandiloquent or pompous style but lacking literary quality, thus making it seem overly pretentious or ridiculous.
- used to mark spatial direct objects that something is oriented in the manner of, where English would use to, toward, into, or onto;
- used to mark spatial direct objects that something is oriented in the location of, where English would use in, at, on, or near;
- used to mark indirect objects, or direct objects of intransitive verbs, where English would use to;
- used to mark spatial direct objects that something is oriented in the manner opposite of, extracted from, or away from, where English would use from or out of.
- I become a tree.
Autumn Song or Chanson d’automne is a famous poem by Paul Verlaine; one of the best known in the French language. It was published in Verlaine’s first collection, Poèmes saturniens, published in 1866.
Les sanglots longs
Blessent mon cœur
It translates as: “The long sobs / Of the violins / Of Autumn / Wound my heart / With a monotonous / Languor.”
The poem earned its place in history during World War II. In preparation for Operation Overlord, the British had signalled to the French Resistance that the opening lines of Chanson d’Automne were to indicate the start of D-Day operations. The first three lines of the poem, “Les sanglots longs / des violons / de l’automne”, meant that Operation Overlord was to start within two weeks.
These lines were broadcast on 1 June 1944.
The next set of lines, “Blessent mon coeur / d’une langueur / monotone”, meant that the main operation would start within 48 hours and that the French resistance should begin sabotage operations especially on the French railroad system.
These lines were broadcast on 5 June at 23:15 – the rest is history.
‘Anal intercourse in general, usually between a man and an adolescent boy’ is the archaic meaning of the word paederasty.
The Greek word paiderastia is an abstract noun of feminine gender. It is formed from paiderastês. Although the word pais can refer to a child of either sex, paiderastia is defined as “the love of boys,” and the verb paiderasteuein as “to be a lover of boys.”
Pederasty in ancient Greece was a socially acknowledged relationship between an adult and a younger male usually in his teens. It was characteristic of the Archaic and Classical periods.
The words: erastês and erômenos are standard terms for the two pederastic roles.
The erastês is the older lover, seen as the active or dominant partner. Erastês should be distinguished from Greek paiderastês, which meant “lover of boys” usually with a negative connotation. The erastês himself might only be in his early twenties, and thus the age difference between the two lovers might be negligible.
The erômenos was regarded as a future citizen, not an “inferior object of sexual gratification,” and was portrayed with respect in art. The word can be understood as an endearment such as a parent might use, found also in the poetry of Sappho and a designation of only relative age.
Both art and other literary references show that the erômenos was at least a teen, with modern age estimates ranging from 13 to 20, or in some cases up to 30. Most evidence indicates that to be an eligible erômenos, a youth would be of an age when an aristocrat began his formal military training, that is, from fifteen to seventeen.
Vase paintings and an obsession with the beloved’s appealing thighs in poetry indicate that when the pederastic couple engaged in sex acts, the preferred form was intercrural. To preserve his dignity and honor, the erômenos limits the man who desires him to penetration between closed thighs.
Anal sex may be depicted, but far more rarely. The evidence is not explicit and is open to interpretation. Some vase paintings show the erastês seated with an erection and the erômenos either approaching or climbing into his lap. The composition of these scenes is the same as that for depictions of women mounting men who are seated and aroused for intercourse.
As a cultural norm considered apart from personal preference, anal penetration was most often seen as dishonorable to the one penetrated, or shameful. A fable attributed to Aesop tells how Aeschyne (Shame) consented to enter the human body from behind only as long as Eros did not follow the same path, and would fly away at once if he did. Oral sex is likewise not depicted, or is indicated only indirectly; anal or oral penetration seems to have been reserved for prostitutes or slaves.
The myth of Ganymede’s abduction by Zeus was invoked as a precedent for the pederastic relationship, as Theognis asserts to a friend:
There is some pleasure in loving a boy [paidophilein], since once in fact even the son of Cronus [that is, Zeus], king of immortals, fell in love with Ganymede, seized him, carried him off to Olympus, and made him divine, keeping the lovely bloom of boyhood [paideia]. So, don’t be astonished, Simonides, that I too have been revealed as captivated by love for a handsome boy.
Greek myths provide more than fifty examples of young men who were the lovers of gods. Pederastic love affairs are ascribed to Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Orpheus, Hercules, Dionysus, Hermes, and Pan. All the Olympian gods except Ares had these relationships, which are adduced by scholars to show that the specific customs of paiderastia originated in initiatory rituals.
Goldfish have perfectly good memories and are smart enough to be trained to swim through hoops.
Most goldfish are not gold.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is estimated to have had an IQ of 185.
The ancient Greek word tragomaskalos means ‘with armpits smelling like a he-goat’.
According to tradition, Jimmu was the first emperor of Japan reigning between 711 BC and 585 BC. His father was the god Ugayafukiaezu, short for Amatsuhitaka-hiko’nakisatake-ugayafukiaezu-no-Mikoto.
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