Irish English: What is a yoke?

Y oke (slang/noun) -  1. an unflattering reference to unspecified thing or person.  2. any   device,   unusual   object,   or   gadget:   where's   the   yoke   for   opening   tins? . Mystified by this title. I always understood yoke to be a word you used dismissively 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 inf

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 ....

Most Looked Up Word in dictionary?

The word Pragmatic has been researched more than any other in the near 200 year history of Merriam-Webster. dictionary. It is currently the 11th most searched for word.  Definitions:  prag•mat•ic   (prægˈmæt ɪk) adj. 1. concerned with practical considerations or consequences; having a practical point of view. 2. of or pertaining to philosophical pragmatism. 3. of or pertaining to pragmatics. 4. treating historical phenomena with special reference to their causes, antecedent conditions, and results. 5. of or pertaining to the affairs of a state or community. 6. Archaic. a. busy; active. b. officious; meddlesome. c. dogmatic; opinionated. n.7. pragmatic sanction + prag•mat′i•cal for for defs.1, 2, 5) Commonly understood to mean  - Doing what works best in the circumstances, acting according to practical considerations rather than abstract principle, to deal with the real world. Origin -  Classical Latin  pragmaticus , skilled in business or law ; from Cla

When was the golden era of Christmas songs?

A very long time ago you might think as you hurry away from  I wish it would be Christmas Every Day and So Here It Is Merry Christmas, currently blasting out of every shopping mall in the western world. In fact less than thirty years before Roy Wood and Noddy Holder were doing their worst, Christmas was the catalyst for some magnificent songwriting. Sleigh Ride , White Christmas , Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The Christmas Song ( Chestnuts Roasting) and many other standards were written during the mid 1940s and early 1950s. Many have identified the trauma of the Second World War as the inspiration - an idea made explicit in Hugh Martin's wistful  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Make the Yule-tide gay. From now on our troubles Will be miles away. Here we are as in olden days, Happy golden days of yore. Faithful friends who are dear to us Will be near to us once more. Someday soon we all will be together

Most famous Merry Christmas?

"A merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us!" Which all the [Cratchit] family re-echoed. "God bless us, every one!" said Tiny Tim, the last of all. What is Frankinsense? And Myrrh A Paul McCartney story about the young John Lennon's late night encounter with a Nativity scene inspired  this fun  Fred & Rita playscript . Christmas Carol Teaching Pack More Christmas-related posts

Where does the word Oz come from?

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." According to legend, L Frank Baum was stuck for a name for his magical land. Looking up from his desk for inspiration, he saw a filing cabinet with tow drawers. One was labelled A-L and the other O-Z.  Baum wrote down OZ,  meaning  to replace this later. What is Frankinsense? And Myrrh A Paul McCartney story about the young John Lennon's late night encounter with a Nativity scene inspired  this fun  Fred & Rita playscript . Christmas Carol Teaching Pack More Christmas-related posts

Most popular Christmas poem in the English language?

 "A Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, although the claim has also been made that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr. The poem, which has been called "arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American",[1] is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today.  And no doubt, either, as to the most popular reading. Take it away, Sachmo. 

Why are there irregular verbs?

There are thousands of regular verbs ( paint, walk)  - and less than two hundred irregular verbs.  Yet it is those awkward irregulars which dominate in spoken in English ( see here ). English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack     -  only £1.99 using discount code  CQDWKF0 Grammar Girl has a slightly different take here - and talks about verbs becoming irregular in her most recent podcast. Use offer code CQDWKF0 to download English FAQ Teaching Pack  for only £1.99

What is quantitative easing?

Quantitative easing is when a government pumps 'new' money directly into the economy. It  does this is by buying assets - usually financial assets such as government and corporate bonds.  The financial institutions selling those assets (e.g banks) can then boost the economy by lending this new money to businesses. Why is QE unusual? The normal way a government stimulates economic growth is by a) reducing the cost of borrowing  b) lowering taxes, particularly on business investment. The problem in the current financial crisis has been that interest rates are already at historic lows. As a result some governments (notably the US and to a lesser extent the UK) have attempted to inject money directly into the economy.  The European  Central Bank has resisted QE until recently. Some would argue that this has been a factor in the weakness of the European economic recovery English Language 100 FAQ Teaching Pack   -  only £1.99 using discount code  CQDWKF0

Dude! Where does the word dude come from?

with thanks to Taking English One Thumb at a Time ( dūd, dyūd )  n. Informal . An Easterner or city person who vacations on a ranch in the West. Informal . A man who is very fancy or sharp in dress and demeanor. Slang . A man; a fellow. dudes  Persons of either sex. tr.v. ,  dud·ed ,  dud·ing ,  dudes . Slang . To dress elaborately or flamboyantly:  got all duded up for the show. interj.   Slang Used to express approval, satisfaction, or congratulations. Source The  origins of the word dude are disputed but certainly predate  Dude, Where’s my Car? (2000). According to the American Heritage Dictionary:  Originally it was applied to fancy-dressed city folk who went out west on vacation. In this usage it first appears in the 1870s. A New York newspaper declared one Evan Berry (left) the ‘King of the Dudes’ in 1888. 'Dude' makes an appearance  in Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889). The word also pops-up in the letters of an

What does stalwart mean? Where does the word come from?

Atticus Finch:the stalwart hero of To Kill a Mockingbird  A stalwart person is reliable, dependable, resolute (or inflexible depending on your perspective.) The word is probably a  14th Century Scottish variant on a old English term: stælwierðe "good, serviceable," In the US the term acquired a political dimension with a section of the Republican Party  that refused to abandon its Civil War hostility to the south. They became known as the 'Stalwart Party', a label that stuck. A version of this post is included in the  English FAQ Teaching Pack   Download for only £1.99 with offer code CQDWKF0

Where does the word robot come from?

A rare example of a Czech word ('robota') entering English: robot was introduced to the public by the Czech interwar writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), published in 1920. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots, though they are closer to the modern ideas of androids, creatures who can be mistaken for humans. They can plainly think for themselves, though they seem happy to serve. At issue is whether the robots are being exploited and the consequences of their treatment. source Kathleen Richardson points out in this BBC broadcast that our notions about robots are fanciful - they are generally clumsy, ineffective machines. Audio: Where does the word robot come from?’  So robots are not going to rule the world any time soon. But are they going to challenging for the Marathon Gold Medal at the next Olympics? On this evidence, perhaps not: A version of this post is included in the  English FAQ Te