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1 Word a day, ...ough pronunciation, Wordplay, figures of speech, The Writers Union of Canada ...
2  Noon and midnight, catachresis (changing words), 
3  Different meanings, haplology, World Wide Words extract, starve, deer, meat, dog, shamefaced, penthouse, asparagus, fine, sweetheart
4  The worst analogies ever! 
5   Colours and colourful expressions
6  Animal groups
7  Homographs
8  Weekdays and months
9  Contradicting proverbs, "Have you noticed ..."
10  Good reading.



COACH is derived from the village of Kocs, Hungary, where coaches were invented and first used.
DREAMT seems to be the only common word in English ending in -MT. Others are the obscure adreamt, undreamt, or daydreamt.

   The spelling "alright" is recorded from 1887.
It was defended by Fowler (in one of the Society for Pure English tracts, not in Modern English Usage), on the analogy of "almighty"  and "altogether", and on the grounds that "The answers are alright" (= "The answers are O.K.") is less ambiguous than "The answers are all right" (which could mean "All the answers are right").  But it is still widely condemned.

OXYOPIA (unusual acuteness of vision)  and OCEANIA cram five syllables into only seven letters.

-OUGH can be pronounced 9 different ways in the following sentence:
 A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through  the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and  hiccoughed.

ORANGE. There is no regular English word which rhymes with ORANGE.
 This seems to be well known; there is even a musical recording called  Rhymes With Orange by Mario Grigorov. DOOR HINGE comes close.
 It is also claimed that no words rhyme with MONTH, SILVER, and PURPLE.

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To give the cold shoulder.

It has been the unfortunate experience of many an unwelcome guest to be served with a cold shoulder of mutton in place of the more tempting course reserved for friends of the house.  Hence the phrase has gained its present meaning of "snubbing" a person, and cold shoulders are given to people we dislike.

Pig in a poke

One of the earliest con tricks was to tie a cat up in a "poke" (an old English word meaning a bag), and sell it to an unsuspecting buyer as a newborn or suckling pig.  The buyer later found himself with a totally useless bargain - a "pig in a poke".
N.B. If he opened the sack before he had paid, "the cat was let out of the bag"

                Take the bull by the horns
 This means to attack or encounter danger fearlessy, just as a matador will grasp the horns of a bull about to toss him.   While our own amateur bullfighter is certainly facing danger with courage, it appears that whatever the outcome of the encounter, he is certainly not going to have a picnic.

                                   Feather in his cap
Feathers have been a mark of honour with many nations for centuries, and members of some native tribes have even worn one for each enemy killed in battle. Although no longer commonly worn as insignia of honour, the phrase persists, and when anybody achieves something worthwhile, we say it is "another feather in his cap".

                                  Sent to Coventry
This figure of speech dates from the Civil War of the 17th century.   Coventry was under the rule of the Parliamentary forces and many Royalist prisoners were sent there from other towns.  The phrase now means that a person who has committed an offence is shunned by other people who refuse to have anything to do with him.

  Sleep like a top
When spinning tops are at the peak of their gyrations, they become so steady and quiet that they do not seem to move.   In this state they are said to "sleep" and "to sleep like a top" means to sleep very soundly.  While our tired friend is at present enjoying a good rest, it seems that his nap will soon be cut short.

                                 Bury the Hatchet
To show that hostilities were at an end, the Indians of North America would bury their tomahawks, scalping knives and war clubs.  While today we often settle disputes by shaking hands, the historical origins of this act are much the same as the Indians' - putting the right (or sword) hand out, proved that no weapons were being carried.

                                        A Cock and Bull Story
To give a "cock and bull" story means to tell a long, rambling or incredible tale.  The origin of this figure of speech lies in the fables in which cocks, bulls and other animals talked in human language.  Yet just as this is not to be believed, neither is a 'cock and bull story".

                     Get Out of Bed the Wrong Side
This figure of speech, meaning to be moody or grumpy, is based on the superstition that it is unlucky to get out of bed on the left side or set the left foot down on the ground first.  The reason for this is that tradionally the left side was associated with the West (where the sun sets) thus symbolising death.

Horse-sense is something a horse has that prevents him from betting on people.

The Writers Union of Canada is credited with this piece:

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that:

Electricians can be delighted,
                       Musicians denoted,
                                     Cowboys deranged,
                                                       Models deposed and
                                                                          Dry cleaners depressed?

Laundry workers could decrease, eventually becoming depressed and depleted.

Even more, bedmakers will be debunked,
   Baseball players will be debased,
        Landscapers will be deflowered,
                Bulldozer operators will be degraded,
                          Organ donors will be delivered,
                                  Software engineers will be detested,
                                           and even Musical Composers will eventually decompose...

         On a more positive note, though, perhaps we can hope politicians will be devoted.

My personal contribution ...

Talking about politicians .. when M. Juppé ceased being Prime Minister, was he disappointed ?

                     ...  le Shah d'Iran was dispersed ...

                              and when Caine killed his brother, was he subsequently disabled ?

et pour finir (comprendra qui pourra)  ... si vous êtes dégonflé, ... are you disgusted ?



The Washington Post's yearly contest where readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for various words -- and the   winners are...  

1. Coffee (n.), a person who is coughed upon.  

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.  

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.  

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.  

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.  

6. Negligent (adj.) describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.  

7. Lymph (v), to walk with a lisp.  

8. Gargoyle (n.), an olive-flavoured mouthwash.  

9. Flatulence (n.) the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.  

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.  

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.  

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified demeanour assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.  

13. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.  

14. Pokemon (n), A Jamaican proctologist.  

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), The belief that, when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there.  

16. Circumvent (n.), the opening in the front of boxer shorts.  


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