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

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The word pundit comes from the Hindi/Sanskrit word 'pandit'. It originally meant someone knowledgeable in (Hindu) religion. Now it generally refers to anyone using specialist expertise to provide commentary or analysis in the media. Examples include football pundits, political pundit etc. A version of this post is included in the new ebook:  100 English Language FAQ   - only £0.99/$1.50

Where does the word diaspora come from?

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di·as·po·ra    /dīˈaspərə/ Noun Jews living outside Israel. The dispersion of the Jews beyond Israel. The main diaspora began in the 8th–6th centuries bc, and even before the sack of Jerusalem... Though living in different countries across the world the diaspora expressed a shared culture and a belief that one day all Jews would be reunited (in the Biblical Promised Land). In modern times the term is sometimes used more generically to describe all communities of immigrants  with a shared sense of 'home'.  A recent article in The Economist, The Magic of Diasporas , suggests that these diaspora are playing an increasingly important role in the world economy There are now 215m first-generation migrants around the world: that’s 3% of the world’s population. If they were a nation, it would be a little larger than Brazil. There are more Chinese people living outside China than there are French people in France. Some 22m Indians are scattered all over t

What is the longest word in English?

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Surely it's the 'longest word you ever heard' - all together now:    The word was invented by the Sherman brothers for the musical. According to some  learned sources, the word has some very fancy linguistic roots: super- "above", cali- "beauty", fragilistic- "delicate", expiali- "to atone", and docious- "educable", with the sum of these parts signifying roughly "Atoning for educability through delicate beauty." Although the word contains recognizable English  morphemes , it does not follow the rules of English  morphology  as a whole .... More fun to know is that the working relationship of the Sherman brothers was not 'practically perfect'. When Disney Studio drafted them in to save the score of Mary Poppins 'creative differences' ended with them throwing typewriters at each other. A version of this post is included in  50 FAQ about English    ($1.75)

Where does the word mesmerise come from?

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The word mesmerize is named after   Franz   or   Friedrich   Anton Mesmer   1734-1815 .

Where does the word sandwich come from?

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The 4th Earl of Sandwich  (1718--92) loved gambling. When he was playing cards he hated to leave the gaming table for meals. So he asked for a steak between two slices of bread. Ironically, eating sandwiches at your desk now symbolises dedication to work. And most casinos do not allow you to eat snacks when seated at their gaming tables. Alt meanings : You can sandwich something between two halves of anything. A Victorian Sandwich, for example, is a sponge cake filled with cream and jam. Other languages:  The word 'sandwich' is used in many languages  in a more way precise way than it is in English. In Spanish, for example, un sandwich uses thin white sliced bread as in the s andwich mixto right.  

What is a spelling bee?

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Spelling bees or competitions are very popular in the USA. Young people take part in local and regional tournaments to qualify for the national championship. The word 'bee' here is an old American one to describe a gathering of people. Its origin is disputed . The winner of the Scripps national spelling bee: 13 year-old Arvind Mahankali Listening comprehension for English language students:  Interview with winner of 2010 Spelling Bee Most Common Spelling Errors How to Spell Like a Champ