English Is A Complex Language (ii)


English is a complex language. Meanings of words are constantly changing and new definitions arise all the time. See if you can spot some new meanings in the alphabetic list below.

Abacus [Noun.]
Scandinavian minstrel quartet at the court of the 1st century Roman Emperors.

Billabong [Verb.]
To fine a drummer.

Bother [Adj.]
Comparative form of ‘Both’.

Brace Yourself [Expr.]
Do-it-yourself dentistry.

Catholic [Noun.]
Addicted to felines.

Cockney [Adj.]
Male chauvinistic.

Co-mobility [Noun.]
Disentangled hair.

Cruelty [Noun.]
The act of forced drinking of Earl Grey by mother-in-law.

Dreadnought [Noun.]
Fear of sexual intimacy.

Engage [Noun.]
Love measuring device.

Erosion [Noun.]
Red-light district of Jerusalem.

Exiles [Noun.]
Former islands.

Frust [Verb.]
Vexation over impenetrability.

Ironic [Noun.]
Strong.

Judo [Noun.]
Jewish fĂȘte.

Namely [Adj.]
George Berty Arthur Cecil Melchett-Saxenbourg.

Petty Criminal [Expr.]
Domesticated offender.

Posh [Noun.]
Opposite of ‘pull’ on Oxford University doors.

Profound [Noun.]
To find something before it is lost.

Protestant [Noun.]
Feminist relative.

Reverse [Verb.]
To verse again.

Tribes [Noun.]
Three b’s.

Tudor [Noun.]
Medieval teacher.

See other: English Is A Complex Language

Lullaby [Noun.]


Asoothing song sung to send a child to sleep.

The first part of the word, lull, is an onomatopoeic word, meaning that it imitates the source of the sound that it describes. It refers to a certain sound uttered when soothing a child, just as lala refers to singing a song. In Swedish, the word lulla means ‘to hum a lullaby’, and in Sanskrit, the word lolati means ‘to rock’. In Middle Dutch, the word lollen meant ‘to mutter’.

The origin of the second part of the word is still uncertain. It could simply be a preposition – to lull by – but it could also be derived from bye-bye, a common phrase in lullabies.