Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Truffle, an underground edible fungus; from Italian tartufola; tar being = Lat. terræ, of the ground, and tufŏla=tuber, a root. Trifle is a doublet of truffle.

Twig, a thin branch of a tree. The tw here is the base of two, and is

found also in twin, twilight, twice, twine; and probably also in tweak, twist, twinkle, etc. (Twit is not in this class; it comes from atwitan, to throw blame on.)

Verdigris (not connected with grease), the rust of brass or copper. From Lat. viride aeris, the green of brass. (The g is intrusive, and has not yet been accounted for.)

Walrus, a kind of large seal; from Swedish vallross a whale-horse.

The older form of ross is found in Icelandic as hross, which is a doublet of the A. S. hors. The noise made by the animal somewhat resembles a neigh.

Wassail, a merry carouse; from A. S. wes haél = Be well! Wes is the imperative of wesan to be (still existing in was); and hael is connected with hail! hale (Scand.), whole (Eng.), and health.

Whole, a misspelling, now never to be corrected, of hole, the adjective connected with hale, heal, health, healthy, etc. The w is probably an intrusion from the S.-W. of England, where they say whoam for home, woat for oat, etc. If we write whole, we ought also to write wholy instead of holy.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

.

Impertinent, not pertaining to the Offal, that which is allowed to fall off. matter in hand.

Indifferent, impartial. "God is indifferent to all."

Insolent, unusual. An old writer praises Raleigh's poetry as "insolent and passionate."

Kind, born, inborn; natural; and then loving.

Knave, boy. "A knave child "a male child. Sir John Mandeville speaks of Mahomet as "a poure knave."

Lace, a snare. Lat. laqueus, a noose. Livery, that which is given or delivered, Fr. livrer; from Lat. liberare, to free: It was applied both to food and to clothing. "A horse at livery" still means a horse not merely kept, but also fed.

Magnificent, doing great things; largeminded. Bacon says, "Bounty and magnificence are virtues very regal." Maker, a poet.

Manure, to work with the hand; a doublet of manœuvre. (Lat. manus, the hand.)

Mere, utter. Lat. merus, pure. Shakespeare,
in "Othello," speaks of "the mere per-
dition of the Turkish fleet."
"Mere
wine" was unmixed wine.

Metal, a mine.

Minute, something very small. Lat. minutus, made small; from minus, less. Cognates, minor; minish; diminish; etc. Miscreant, an unbeliever. Lat. mis (from minus), and credo, I believe; through O. Fr. mescréant.

Officious, obliging. In modern diplomacy, an official communication is one made in the way of business; an officious communication is a friendly and irregular one. Burke, in the eighteenth century, speaks of the French nobility as " very officious and hospitable."

Ostler=hosteller. The keeper of a hostel or hotel. (A comic derivation is that it is a contraction of oatstealer).

Painful, painstaking. Fuller, in the seventeenth century, speaks of Joseph as "a painful carpenter."

Palliate, to throw a cloak over. Lat. pallium, a cloak.

Pencil, a small hair brush. Lat. penecillus, a little tail.

Peevish, obstinate.

Perspective, a glass for seeing either near or distant things.

Pester, to encumber or clog. From Low Lat. pastorium, a clog for horses in a pasture.

Plantation, a colony of men planted. Plausible, having obtained applause. "Every one received him plausibly," says a seventeenth-century writer.

Polite, polished. A seventeenth-century writer has "polite bodies as lookingglasses."

Pomp, a procession.

Preposterous, putting the last first. Lat. præ, before; and post, after.

Miser, a wretched person. Lat. miser, mis- Prevaricate, to reverse, to shuffle. Lat. erable. prævaricari, to spread the legs apart in walking.

Nephew, a grandchild. (Lat. nepos.)

Nice, too scrupulous or fastidious. Shakespeare, in "K. John," iii. 4. 138, says"He that stands upon a slippery place, Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up."

Niece, a grandchild. Lat. neptis.

Novelist, an innovator.

Prevent, to go before. Lat. præ, before, and venio, I come. The Prayer-Book has, "Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings."

Prodigious, ominous.

"A prodigious meteor," meant a meteor of bad omen.

Punctual, attending to small points of detail. Lat. punctum; Fr. point.

Quaint, skilful. Prospero, in the "Tem- | Tarpaulin, a sailor; from the tarred pest," calls Ariel "My quaint Ariel!" canvas suit he wore. Now shortened into tar.

Racy, having the strong and native qualities of the race. Cowley says of a poet that he is

"Fraught with brisk racy verses, in

which we

The soil from whence they come, taste, smell, and see.'

Reduce, to lead back.

Resent, to be fully sensible of. Resentment, grateful recognition of.

Restive, obstinate, inclined to rest or stand still. "To turn rusty" (=resty) is to turn obstinate.

Retaliate, to give back benefits as well as injuries.

Room, space, place at table. Luke xiv. 8. Rummage, to make room.

Sad, earnest.

Sash, a turban.

Secure, free from care. Ben Jonson says: "Men may securely sin; but safely,

39

never."

Sheen, bright, pure. Connected with shine.

Shrew, a wicked or hurtful person. Silly, blessed.

Sincerity, absence of foreign admixture. Soft, sweetly reasonable.

Spices, kinds-a doublet of species. (A grocer in French is called an épicier.) Starve, to die. Chaucer says, "Jesus starved upon the cross.'

Sycophant, "a fig-shower" or informer against a person who smuggled figs. Gr. sukon, a fig; and phaino, I show.

Table, a picture.

Thews, habits, manners.

Thought, deep sorrow, anxiety. Matthew vi. 25. In "Julius Cæsar," ii. 1. 187, we find, "Take thought, and die for Cæsar." Trivial, very common. Lat. trivia, a place where three roads meet.

Tuition, guardianship. Lat. tuitio, looking at.

Uncouth, unknown.

Union, oneness; or a pearl in which size, roundness, smoothness, purity, lustre, were united. See "Hamlet," v. 2. 283. A doublet is onion-so called from its shape.

Unkind, unnatural.

Urbane, living in a city. Lat. urbs, a city.

Usury, money paid for the use of a thing. Varlet, a serving-man. Low Lat. vassalettus, a minor vassal. Varlet and valet are diminutives of vassal.

Vermin was applied to noxious animals of whatever size. "The crocodile is a dangerous vermin." Lat. vermis, a

worm.

Villain, a farm-servant. Lat. villa, a farm. Vivacity, pertinacity in living; longevity.

Fuller speaks of a man as "most remarkable for his vivacity, for he lived 140 years."

Wit, knowledge, mental ability.
Worm, a serpent.

Worship, to consider worth, to honour. Wretched, wicked. A. S wrecca, an outcast.

« VorigeDoorgaan »