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Showing posts from February, 2015

Words most looked-up in dictionary? Holistic

holistic həʊˈlɪstɪk,hɒ-/


adjective
PHILOSOPHY characterized by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. MEDICINE characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease. Etymology: 1939, fromholism+-istic.Holistic medicine first citation 1960. Related:Holistically A classic example of a neologism that has crept from academic obscurity into the mainstream. Though proponents of holistic medicine claim the practice has roots in ancient Chinese philosophy, term first appeared in print during the year of President Kennedy's election. The flowering (!) of the New Age movement in late 1960s created increased an interest which has grown exponentially in recent years.

Holistic is often used to describe the aspiration to psychological well-being and is associated with positive feelings of 'inner harmony'. It has also become short-han…

What is a bailout? Where does the word come from?

Bailout has become closely associated with the idea of financial rescue - to bail out the Greece etc.

But the word has many subtle usages - and two spellings!
1.  bail/bale is to abandon abruptly as in making an emergency exit from an aeroplane in a parachute. 

2. to bail out is to remove water from a leaky boat.

3. It is now more common to use bail  in a figurative/metaphorical sense:
The minister has bailed on the government's housing policy (announced his opposition).
The actor bailed on the script (stopped reading his lines with any show of conviction) 

4. 'Bail out' is also used metaphorically but usually with a closer connection to the literal meaning: The pilot bailed out of his plane.

5. The noun is sometimes spelled as one word: bailout.


6.  Bail orbale - the spelling is disputed but bail is probably used more frequently. Both spellings are allowed by most dictionaries. 

A version of this post is included in the English FAQ Teaching PackDownload for only £1.99

Irish English: What is a yoke?

Yoke (slang/noun) - 
1. an unflattering reference to unspecified thing or person. 
2. anydevice,unusualobject,orgadget:where'stheyokeforopeningtins?.
What the hell is that yoke for?
One of my favourite Irish words. Monosyllabic, irreverent and triumphantly refusing to accept the official label given to somebody or something. All that is best (and perhaps worst) in the national character.


What is a troll?

Twitter CEO: 'We suck at dealing with abuse'An internet troll is someone who posts malign comments online. The intention is to insult or ridicule a group or individual. 

Where does the word come from?The etymology is complex -  there are trails to an old French hunting term troller and a norse one describing a mythological monster. 

Why did troll catch-on online?The Internet use of troll probably derives from a slang term used by US naval pilots in the 1970s - see here.

So trolls just insult people for fun?Trolling can simply consist of crude abuse but some self-confessed trolls pride themselves on their cunning attacks on their victims. One strategy is to join a group under false pretences and then goad genuine members of the group with ridiculous, provocative or abusive comments. 

Are they just an unpleasant nuisance?Sometimes trolling can have a sinister impact Jojo Moyes revealed in an article in the Daily Telegraph

Trolling - posting inflammatory comments on web sites is on th…

Irish English: to give out about someone or something?

3. Give out in Ireland commonly means to scold or complain: You can give out to someone, or just give out. It’s often intensified in different ways, e.g. He was giving out stink to them. (phrasal verb)

From Stan Carey's fun list


How is it used?


I heard this a lot - sometimes as a warning to drop a contentious subject 'Will you quit giving out about that now' - more often in amusement 'well he would never stop giving out about how much the loved the job - then one day he didn't turn up for work and that was the last we saw of him ....

Irish words in English?

Today is the anniversary of the passing of my mother and on my father's funeral is on Tuesday. So please indulge this personal reflection.

Which language is most spoken in Ireland?It is often forgotten for nearly two centuries English has been the majority language in Ireland. By the 1890s the gaeltacht (native-Irish speaking community) was restricted to a small number of remote areas in the west. There was a Gaelic revivalist movement but as Joyce brilliantly portrays in The Dead (1914) this largely consisted of earnest nationalist intellectuals like Miss Ivors. She berates Gabriel as as a 'West Briton':
"O, Mr. Conroy, will you come for an excursion to the Aran Isles this summer? We're going to stay there a whole month. It will be splendid out in the Atlantic. You ought to come. Mr. Clancy is coming, and Mr. Kilkelly and Kathleen Kearney. It would be splendid for Gretta too if she'd come. She's from Connacht, isn't she?"
"Her people are,"…