Friday, August 14, 2009

Rachel Hedman: So I sat in class and thought of Shakespeare one day. . .

David Novak wondered about the background of the phrase "I won't stand for that!" during our class on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at about 8:10pm.

Today we tend to say this phrase to mean "I won't endure any nonsense!"

David guessed that it might relate to Shakespeare times when the "cheap seats" of theater were not seats at all but a place to stand. If the show was not even worth standing for, then why stand at all?

So I did some sleuthing and discovered. . .there is defiantly an English connection but not directly connected to the theater.

First, I looked up the "stand for" of the phrase to see when that specific phrase came about. The year would make a difference.

"Stand for" came about in 1567 to mean "represent, be in place of" and then turned into a verb to mean "endure, undergo" in 1606.

Though consider what happened in 1626. Suddenly, "stand for" connected to tolerance.

In addition, the word "won't", which is a contraction of "will not", was first recorded in the mid-1500s as "wynnot" and then to "wonnot" in 1584 and finally to the modern version of "won't" in 1667.

Hmmm. Interesting.

Though, the years 1625-1649 will illuminate understanding.

Charles I was crowned the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland on March 27, 1625. It was not long before he disbanded the English Parliament on June 15, 1626.


The Parliament kept insisting that the people should have certain rights. They wanted it to be clear that a monarch could not do anything that he wished.

Despite being disbanded, the Parliament then submitted a Petition of Rights in 1628. Part of this document declared that the King could not create any new taxes without the consent of the Parliament. People also could not be imprisoned without cause. And so on. And so on.

Did King Charles I like this Petition? What do you think?

The struggle intensified.

Some people saw this as a time to flee to the Americas.

They certainly were not finding tolerance in England.

Colonies formed. An ocean-long distance from England sounded nice.

On June 12, 1630, the Massachusetts Bay Colony landed in Salem mostly comprised of English Puritans. They appointed John Winthrop as governor.

Other religious groups followed.

Back in England of 1640, the English Parliament met for the first time in 11 years and developed the Triennal Act. King Charles I had asked for this gathering due to his need for financial support.

The Parliament refused to grant any money and instead listed all their complaints within the Triennal Act. Part of the Act demanded that the Parliament meet at least once every three years. The Act passed and the king was unable to dissolve the Parliament without its agreement.

Then the English Civil War began in 1642.

Yes, they had a Civil War, too. Strange to think that!

Eventually, King Charles I became a prisoner of the Parliamentarians, supporters of the Parliament.

They attempted to negotiate with King Charles I, but the king committed to his belief of leading England by Divine Right. The Parliamentarians knew that the king could raise an army against them. They reluctantly concluded that they must have the king killed.

In order to vote to have the king killed, the people had to stand to make it known. Fifty-nine commissioners rose to their feet on January 27, 1649 and signed the death warrant.

However, the House of Commons did not pass this death warrant.

After King Charles I was beheaded, the people who had stood during that fateful date on January 27, 1649 were pursued for punishment.

At least 19 of these people were hung, drawn, or quartered. Many were imprisoned for life.

And the people who "won't stand for that"? They lived.

Today you can see the original death warrant of King Charles I at the Parliamentary Archives in the Palace of Westminster, London.

This may be a long way to discover the meaning of "I won't stand for that!", though it can be amazing the story that a few words hold in history.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I looked out the window to see pants in the sky one day. . .

I can usually discover all kinds of creations in the clouds, though rarely to I find a pair of pants in the sky.

That was. . .until Marjorie exclaimed, "It's almost as much blue as a Dutchman's pants out there."

While at her home, we had hoped to eat on the balcony on Friday, July 17, 2009 at 1:20pm.

I stared out the same window that she looked out of and saw that clouds had gathered so thick and dark.

I saw a patch or two of blue sky.

Then the word "Dutchman" lingered in my mind. I tossed around what I knew about the Dutch since I am 1/8 Dutch. That is the most that I am of any ethnicity, and to honor it I wear a Dutch cap as my storyteller's trademark.

The saying relates to the folklore of "if you can see a patch of sky as blue as a Dutchman’s pants it won’t rain”. As with any folklore, it has as story.

The Dutch loved the seas for the trade and commerce and all the luxuries that came with it. For a long time, the Dutch controlled the seas and were the center of power in Europe.

Then, England became jealous.

By 1652, the English gathered enough ships and soldiers to attack Holland. The Dutch retaliated and thus started the first of four Anglo-Dutch Wars.

England's navy was strong and won the first of the four Anglo-Dutch wars. They became cocky and looked for any way to make fun of the Dutch. As most of the Dutch were connected to the nautical world, the sailors tended to wear blue poofy breeches. At times, the breeches needed to be mended and sometimes patches scattered about on the uniform.

This was just what the English wanted for their jokes.

The term "Dutchman's breeches" became slang for a sailor's pair of trousers. The English used it as a derogatory term.

After the second, third, and fourth Anglo-Dutch wars, the Dutch's economy plummeted. England secured control of the seas in 1684.

In case you feel bad for the Dutch, think on this. . .

In 1688 the Dutch William III of Orange became the King of England since the former English King James II was thrown off the throne due to the people's intense dislike of his practices. As William III of Orange was the closest relation to the English Royal Family, he was chosen.

England still controlled the seas, but the land was ruled by a Dutchman.

So that explains the contention between the Dutch and the English, but how did the pants get in the sky?

It still has a nautical connection.

Sailors used the sky as a way to determine the forecast. They were their own weathermen.

They usually looked to the West for their weather verdict.

The conditions were if--
  • It had already rained
  • There was enough blue in the West to make a Dutchman's breeches
  • The weather would soon clear off
Sailors needed something to define "a patch of blue sky" and when they remembered the patches on the Dutch sailors' blue pants, then the image was chosen.

Other cultures and ethnic groups took this idea and used other bits of garment to define their "patch".

Besides Dutchman's breeches, the following have also been used:
  • Dutchman's jacket
  • To cut out a pair of pants
  • Sailor breeches
  • To make a Scotchman a jacket
  • To make an old woman's apron
  • Make a sailor a pair of trousers if seen before ten o'clock
  • Shirt for a sailor
  • Large as a handkerchief
Now. . .what kind of garment do you see in the sky?

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rachel Hedman: So I heard the nice to the not-so-nice one day. . .

When parents want to avoid certain words, have you noticed that the "not-so" is added into the conversation?

I heard a comment from a young mom during Sunday School on July 19, 2009 around 2:20pm at the Johnson City, TN Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The mom shared what she usually told her child, "Why, when I'm being nice, you are being not-so-nice back?"

Ah, the parent/child relationship.

Adults tend to skip saying certain words like "stupid", "dumb", and "mean" as if they are swear words. That is. . .when kids are around.

However, this mom made this comment when a roomful of adults. Of course, she was referring to a dialogue with her daughter and must have kept the "not-so-nice" part of it for authenticity.

If most of your time is spent with children, then keeping the "not-so" phrase becomes habit.

The "not-so" phrase also emphasizes the desired trait in the intended listener.

After Sunday School, I attended the Women Meeting called Relief Society.

This time, with a roomful of women, we could be our true selves.

Out came the giggles.

And what did we have. . .but a spotlight of one of the women? Interestingly, we call each other "sisters" whether or not there was a biological connection. The same is for the men, only they are "brothers".

Similar to sibling relationships, we heard the Relief Society President declare, "You're in the limelight!"

Ah, the sister/sister relationship.

And where did the term "limelight" come from?

There once was a surveyor named Thomas Drummond who invented the limelight in 1825. His invention grew in popularity despite some competition from an English chemist named Goldsworthy Gurney who invented a similar light.

The chemicals in the light were calcium oxide also known as the chemical compound lime. It was contained in a hot hydrogen-oxygen flame so that the white light was bright enough to use in lighthouses and to survey land. People said that the light could be seen 100 miles or more away.

Eventually, the theaters discovered that the limelight was safer to use than the gas light currently on stage. They switched. An actor in the limelight was someone "center stage and the center of attention". Naturally, people said the phrase "in the limelight". Limelight has now been replaced by a safer lighting technology.

Back to Relief Society with the women.

To this limelight line, a lady in a violet dress said, "You're blowing it out of proportion!"

This kind of blowing relates to the air that "blows" out of our mouths to describe things. The bigger the words or the more grandiose the achievements, then the more "blows" or breaths. Suddenly, the words do not fit the achievements.

Towards the end of the Relief Society meeting, a lady in a blue dress said, "I try to put myself in that person's shoes."

The original saying was "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his boots." According to lexicographer Harris Collis, this phrase is one of the 101 most frequently used American proverbs. Thus, judgment should not be passed until one has done those exact feats. Instead of the word "judge", it could be replaced with "criticize". Instead of the word "boots", it could be replaced with "boots".

So "not-so-bad" of blowing out some judgment on words?

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Must e-learning be 'Cool?'--Roger C. Schank

Here is a link to the short article "Must e-learning be 'Cool?'" by Roger C. Schank.

You may recognize the name. He is the same one who wrote "Tell Me A Story: Narrative and Intelligence".

I discovered this article from @makingstories on Twitter who re-tweeted it from @eLearnMag. How "cool" is that?

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I thought about poison one day. . .

A school teacher handed me a bunch of green-faced stickers, and each face had a disgusted look with a tongue stuck out.

I met Mr. Yuk. (Did you know that he has a theme song?)


I ran all over the house placing these "poison" stickers on various bottles and containers.

I had done my good deed for the day.

Except for getting "cool" stickers, there generally is not a good feeling connected to "poison".

Then, on Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 2:20pm I heard "the word".

I was sitting in Sunday School at the Johnson City Ward, TN of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The teacher said, "We feel poison for some issues." Then he followed that statement on how it was better to "sue for peace" than to react in violent ways.

What a way to put it.

So. . .what happens when one is poisoned?

First of all, there are many levels to poison.

A poison could be harmful or irritable or down-right toxic and fatal. The amount of exposure to the substance determines the degree of reactions. The body responds in violent ways.

The Sunday School teacher, when he said "we feel poison for some issues", could refer to the reactions we develop when we are mistreated. The natural way would be to "foam at the mouth" with insults or perhaps to "tremble and shake" in physical abuse.

Rather, the teacher encouraged us to "sue for peace". Resist the natural tendencies.

Though, the use of the word "sue" seems like an oxymoron of some kind. The first image is of the court and yelling lawyers and people crying. Does not seem peaceful to me.

So I had to look up the word "sue".

About 1200, the Anglo-French word "suer" meant "continue, persevere". Then came the Old French "sivre" and later "suivre" to mean "pursue, follow after".

If the "sue for peace" was changed to "pursue for peace", that would have a more positive reaction. Or even "pursue and persevere for peace".

I love alliteration.

Perhaps this change in the original phrase would make Mr. Yuk pull in his tongue.

By the way, Mr. Yuk comes from a long line of Public Service Announcements, and Mr. Yuk was only the first I would see while at East Tennessee State University.

On Saturday, July 25, 2009, I walked to and from the grocery store by the East Tennessee State University campus.

I noticed two signs (see them here):
  • "Click it or Ticket"
  • "Booze it and Lose it" (Lose your license, your freedom, your life.)
When I looked up "Public Service announcements", I noticed that most of these rhyme. The human mind tends to remember these sayings easier in this way. See a list of what I mean here.

Our eyes may search for these pleasures in words.

The "Click it or Ticket" campaign conducted a survey by the Public Opinion Strategies and discovered that 83% of 800 United States citizens have seen, read, or heard about it. As for results, the overall population using seat belts increased from 75% to 79%.

It is not enough for something to rhyme for people to remember. Often we desire--whether consciously or subconsciously--for phrases to come in threes. Notice the subheading of the "Booze it and Lose it" about the license, freedom, and life. Then, in addition to the three phrases, the first and last words start with the letter "l". There is a visual balance by using those letters. Of course, then you could mention the power of threes again, because "lose", "license", and "life" all start with "l".

Okay, so maybe this is strange to notice, but does it not make words aesthetically pleasing?

As for Mr. Yuk. . .he will always look disgusting! And he is loved nevertheless.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I listened to a man who reminded me of Spiderman's uncle one day. . .

There is a moment in the first Spiderman movie when Uncle Ben tells Clark Parker, "Remember, with great power comes great responsibility."

Somehow this resonated to how Elder Windham spoke while at the Johnson City, TN Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, July 19, 2009 towards 1:15pm.

He exclaimed, "All of you must have some story--too close to tell."

He added, "What stories are we living?"

Parker's Uncle Ben asked those same type of questions. Uncle Ben wondered about the strange experiments he conducted in his room as well as the fight started at school. He reminded Parker that he faced the years when he decided the man he would become.

When Elder Windham spoke of the image of a story, he seemed to indicate that the narrator could choose many avenues in which to take their story in life.

In Ancient Civilizations, many of the stories are epicentric. This type involves stories within a story and where one starts at one place of the story until it evolves into to allow other possibilities as paths. Some examples of these stories: King Midas, Hercules, Lord Krishna, Ra, Abraham, Shang-Ti, etc.

Common Qualities of Epicentric Stories:
  1. Highly Interactive Due to Multi-Layers (provides mystery and encourages creativity)
  2. Non-Linear Sequence of Events (builds memory)
  3. Contradictions and/or Repetitions (allows teller--and even listeners--to make choices of most logical path)

Our own lives are complicated.

We choose how we live our stories every day.

We are the ultimate epicentric stories.

We even have contradictions.

Haven't you told a story that a family member or friend said, "It didn't happen that way! I remember. . ."

Sometimes we pull close to our hearts certain memories that we do not wish to share. We may be afraid to know what a family member or friend would think.

When Elder Windham said "some story--too close to tell", he did not have to explain that he meant in our hearts. We, as human beings, often connect emotions to our hearts much like we link the brain to intellect or the stomach to physical desires.

Continuing with his talk, Elder Windham stated, "I unscientifically noted some things." He referenced faith-based decisions that do not require a visual to provide proof. Again, he had a heart/emotion theme without actually saying the word "heart". By the way he spoke, it was obvious that he placed greater importance on feelings of the heart than of the mind.

To be "scientific" about something usually implies to dissect or look at the small pieces rather than looking at the whole picture. This could be the reason that sometimes science has a negative connotation when shared with religion.

Ironically, there have been times when both scientists and religious people have accused each other as being "closed-minded".

Is it not interesting that we also have the phrase "open-hearted"? Hmmm. I think there is a connection. Follow that with "open-minded". I sure hope the science and the spiritual get along.

Whenever we speak--verbally or nonverbally--we reveal where we are on that spectrum.

There is a power to speaking. Of such, Elder Windham said towards the end of his talk, "Speaking is just one of those things that means accepting responsibility."

Can you hear the echo of Uncle Ben from Spiderman?

Whether good or ill from our mouths, we accept the consequences.

If in any doubt, then there is always the etymology of the word "responsibility" which comes from the 1599 French "responsible" to mean "answerable (to another, for something)". Then, the Latin "responsus" or "respondere" both mean "to respond". Since 1836, this has come to mean a "sense of obligation", which was inferred by the Latin roots.

Seems like a lot of science and spiritual to me. How about you?

I think Uncle Ben would be proud.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I sat from chair to chair to chair one day. . .

I moved all over the place due to the three-hour meetings of the Johnson City, TN Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday, July 19th.

I was used to this constant movement and change of furniture and sitting arrangements.

Yet, I was fascinated by the comparison of the sitting from place to place with how a couple ladies referred to moving to the Tennessee area.

One young lady towards 1:00pm said, "I decided to root myself down and buy a house."

An older middle-aged lady at 2:45pm later said, "I got stuck in the mountains".

These two women were not in conversation with each other. In fact, the young lady spoke during Sacrament Meeting while the older lady spoke during the Women gathering called Relief Society.

Though, despite the different blocks of time, they referred to the stability of choosing one place to be on the same day.

When referring to "root myself down", there is a feeling of doing so with purpose and conviction. If the feeling to move to an area has a temporary feel, then one does not dig their roots deep into that ground or area.

The deeper that roots go, then the harder to pull out.

Some trees have such deep roots that they weave with the roots of others. When storms pass by, then the trees help each other during this chaotic time.

As for the "got stuck in the mountains", there is the impression that the person may wish to be somewhere else. If given the proper tools or know-how, this person would wrench themselves free.

My first image was of tar.

And who do I think of connected to tar--in all meaning of the word--but of Brer Rabbit?

When Brer Rabbit punched at the tar baby because no salutation was given, then he was stuck there good until Brer Rabbit tricked Brer Bear and Brer Fox to thrown him in the thicket of thorns.

So this lady "stuck in the mountains" only needs someone to toss her somewhere else in the world. That could mean a new job for her husband or the need to retire closer to her kids.

She did have a slight tease to her voice when she said "stuck in the mountains" so she may have accepted the place as home. . .though her use of "stuck" was an interesting choice.

May you be rooted to where you want to be!

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Hedman: So I sat and listened and heard one day. . .

Whether a pew is completely hard-backed or if there are some cushions, it certainly has a way of keeping me upright and at attention.

Despite this construction, there will always be the "bobs" of heads as if in agreement to whatever the speaker shares from the pulpit.

Then, as if to remind the Johnson City, TN Ward congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I heard a young lady say, "I know you will hear me, but listening is something different."

That was on Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 12:55pm.

The bishopric often calls on people from the congregation to speak rather than themselves. You could say that the LDS faith encourages their members to be speakers and storytellers.

Brother Jones, the one conducting the meeting, then thanked the lady's comments and said, "I couldn't stop listening. I couldn't stop hearing." He remembered her opening words.

What a beautiful way to acknowledge someone.

In a linguistic way, he balanced the lady's two parts of her line with his two parts. Plus, we heard repetition in how those words of "listening" and "hearing" were used.

Now what of the etymology of "listening" versus "hearing"?

For "listen" is comes from the Old English "hlysnan" to mean "to listen". So that does not reveal much, but then delving deeper, it could also mean "to hear" as well as to "fame, glory". The Gothic side of "hilub" means "listening, attention". The Latin "cluere" means "to hear oneself called, be spoken of".

As for "hear", it comes from the Old English "heran" to mean "to notice, observe". Eventually, there came a spelling difference between "hear" and "here" in the 1200-1550. Part of it was that a "hearing" was a "listening to evidence in court of law" in 1576 and then words like "hearsay" in 1532. Yet, the Old English "hiersum" means "ready to hear, obedient". Consider the response of "Hear, hear!" that started in 1689. Suddenly, the word "hear" was connected to something imperative or to give notice to someone's words. The "Hear, hear!" actually started as "hear him!". From "hear" we also get "hearken", which has more action involved rather than listening only.

So. . .

Until we listen, hear, and tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rachel Hedman: So I anticipated Harry Potter one day. . .

My husband and I agreed that we could watch the new Harry Potter movie separately. That tends to happen when one of us is in Utah and the other is in Tennessee.

Could we wait three weeks to see it together? At least for the first time?

On Friday, July 17, 2009 would be the night I could see the film with some fellow storytelling classmates.

But that would be in the evening.

That meant I had to make the rest of the day productive so I could be "rewarded" with the movie.

Much did get done, but I was distracted at 10:10am when my roommate Catherine talked about one of her friends and said, "She picked up the mantle on that one."

I was not surprised by the religious reference since Catherine has a background in preaching and working with churches to sort out conflicts.

To "pick up the mantle" refers to the time in the Old Testament when Elisha accompanied Elijah the prophet to Jericho. To get there, they had to cross the Jordan River. When Elijah took his mantle/cloak and hit it on the river, the waters parted and Elijah and Elisha could cross on dry land. Then, before Elijah was taken into the heavens on a chariot of fire, he threw his mantle to Elisha. Elisha picked up the mantle and he became the next prophet.

When Catherine's friend "picked up the mantle", then it implied leadership as well as doing more than what expectations require.

Then, Beth picked me up to go to Marjorie's home so I could teach her how to use the class blog. At first, I had problems with the Internet connection on my laptop. Suddenly, the Internet was smooth.

To celebrate the success, Marjorie exclaimed, "You can't beat that with a stick!" In case you were curious, that was at 10:35am.

This expression certainly does mean to celebrate in saying "This is really good!" Some people say that the original saying was "you can't beat that" and then "with a stick", "with a bat", or even "by a long chalk" were added. The last part was to emphasis the greatness of the feat. Pounding or beating something seems like emphasis indeed!

As in the saying "beat him by a long chalk", it means to win by good measure an opponent. This came about when schools created merit marks with chalk and the longer the mark, then the greater the achievements. Yes, this was before we had pencils.

As I revealed some basics in blogging and some tricks of the trade, then Marjorie shouted, "That's just a hoot!"

Today this phrase is an informal way to say something is hilarious or laughable. Originally, around the 1200s, it meant "to call or shout in disapproval or scorn", which was related to "houten" or "huten" that meant "to shout, call out". By 1450, the word "hoot" was used to describe the way a bird sounds, especially the owl. Finally, in 1942, the meaning changed to something more positive as "a laugh, something funny".

I am guessing that Marjorie thought the whole blogging experience was funny. Well, the word "blog" itself certainly sounds silly.

And with some nice laughs like that, I was ready to see that Harry Potter movie.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Monday, August 10, 2009

Jumped the Shark...

While sitting in my workshop today with Bill Harley, we were discussing the quest/hero stories. We were discussing how Hollywood really likes and is the Hero model. But then the phrase "jumped the shark" came up. "But that show jumped the shark." I find that my ears are constantly listening in new ways. ..thanks David! The phrase "jumped the shark" refers to a televsion program that veers off into left field and no longer makes any sense. They are doing this to draw in viewers. But what is interesting to know is the origin. The phrase comes from a Happy Days episode where Fonzie wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, jumps over a confined shark while water skiing. It was considered an odd episode, one where the show had lost its original appeal and was "fishing" for ratings.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beth Ohlsson - Language

This came to me via e-mail. I love to see words that work and play well with others. Enjoy.

T he Philosophy of Ambiguity


Please enjoy and understand the following :



































Saturday, August 1, 2009

Debbie & more language use!

A conversation with Jason on 7/21, who works in the deli dept at Earth Fare.
Me: Is the mac & cheese any good? The Gouda mac & cheese?
Jason:'s gouda!

I was having a phone conversation while driving back to Johnson City on 7/26, with my 84 year old Grandmother (Mina) and here are few examples of our interesting conversation!

Mina said, "You know Debbie I'm only about 5 minutes older than you."
When I look at the time line of human existence, my life represents a tiny blip. So for Mina to say she is only five minutes older than me even though she is 42 years older, really hammers that reality home for me. It is her way of saying, "I'm a little wiser than you."

Mina said, "He's in never never land."
She was talking about her nephew and his relationship with reality (and his Mom). Her nice way of saying, "He's living in denial of the truth."

7/26 on 88.1 (Prairie Home Companion)
I heard this great song by Kristin Andreassen. You can actually hear it
It is interesting how she includes patty cake clapping and a combination of speaking and singing. I only included part of the song but if you want all the lyrics you can google her and you will find them.

Crayola Doesn't Make a Color For Your Eyes
by Kristin Andreassen

I went to see the doctor
I had come down with the blues
She said that I can’t cure you
but here's something you can do,
take out a piece of paper and go sit down for a while
and a draw a pretty picture of something that makes you smile
I know what makes me happy i didn’t have to think for long
but when i tried to draw it, it always came out wrong
i had a box of 12, 48 and 64
but no where could i find that one shade i was looking for
I guess i had realized it should have come as no surprise,

crayola doesn’t make a color for your eyes
There is no way that i could possibly describe you
crayola doesn’t make a color to draw my love

At first i thought of green-blue but than i saw blue-green
and than again in bright light than it got aquamarine
i think at night their darker i looked again for you
saw grey and black and when I’m walking at the midnight blue
but hues are the deepest skies would be a compromise
crayola doesn’t make a color for your eyes

There is no way that i could possibly describe you
crayola doesn’t make a color to draw my love

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ilene Evans 7/31/09

In Celebration of our great adventure in words and sound and language here is my gift to all of us from eecummings. Happy Summer !

since feeling is first
e.e. cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a foolwhile
Spring is in the world
my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says
we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph
And death i think is no parenthesis

Class Pictures

News from The Cultural Moment

I enjoyed this article from the AP on a number of points related to our class: discussion of vocabulary ("... this is not a summit, guys,” Obama told reporters. “This is three folks having a drink at the end of the day, and hopefully giving people an opportunity to listen to each other.") the use of "teachable moment" AND the example of bringing together the "victim" and the "offender" in which, ironically, the officer-of-the-law is the offender and the man-of-color is the victim! Also of interest is the staging of the meeting: in the garden, drinking beer. Joe Biden is included and in the news photo we see them seated clockwise: Gates - Crowley - Obama - Biden; black - white - black - white. The 2 guests are in dark suits while the hosts (Obama & Biden) are in their characteristic white shirts-with-sleeves-rolled-up. Curiously, although there are 4 men at the table, Obama says "three folks" I guess the VP is lower status?

WASHINGTON — With mugs of beer and more-carefully chosen words, President Barack Obama tried to push himself and the nation beyond an uproar over race, chatting in his garden Thursday with the black professor and the white policeman whose dispute had ignited a fierce, consuming debate.

Under the canopy of a magnolia tree in the early evening, Obama joined the other players in a story that had knocked the White House off stride: Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley. Vice President Joe Biden was with them on a Rose Garden patio.

The men were seen chatting with each other, each with a mug of beer. The media were stationed far away, out of earshot, and ushered away quickly.

Although Obama had invited Crowley and Gates as part of what he called a “teachable moment,” it wasn't quite reachable for the masses. The coverage allowed the public to get the we've-come-together photos and video footage that the White House wanted, while keeping the discussion private among the men.

Crowley and Gates, in dark suits for the highly anticipated meeting, seemed more formal than Obama and Biden, who had ditched their coats in the early evening. The president nibbled on snacks and was seen laughing at one point.

The meeting lasted over 40 minutes.

A short time earlier from the Oval Office, Obama had done what his aides had been doing for days: lowering expectations.

“I noticed this has been called the ‘Beer Summit.' It's a clever term, but this is not a summit, guys,” Obama told reporters. “This is three folks having a drink at the end of the day, and hopefully giving people an opportunity to listen to each other. And that's really all it is. This is not a university seminar.”

There's been a political cost for Obama for the episode, stealing attention from his agenda and drawing negative public reviews on how he handled the matter.

It began when Crowley investigated a potential burglary at Gates' house and ended up arresting the protesting professor for disorderly conduct. The matter mushroomed into a debate on racial profiling, fueled when Obama said in a prime-time news conference that the police “acted stupidly.” He later expressed regret.

Gates, 58, is black. Crowley, 42, is white. The charge against Gates has been dropped.

The White House meeting drew such media interest that press secretary Robert Gibbs said he looked forward to facing no more questions about what beers each man would drink. For the record, it was Bud Light for Obama, Sam Adams Light for Gates, Blue Moon for Crowley, and nonalcoholic Buckler for Biden.

Before the photo-op moment of diplomacy, Obama confessed that he was “fascinated by the fascination about this evening.”

“Hopefully, instead of ginning up anger and hyperbole everybody can just spend a little bit of time with some self-reflection and recognizing that other people have different points of view,” Obama said. “And that's it.”

Crowley told Boston TV station WHDH that he hoped for a meaningful discussion with the president and then a quick return to his job. “Right now I just want to get back to work, get back to doing what it is I do, get back to being a dad to my three children,” he said at an airport in Washington.

It was Obama himself who said last week the episode could be a “teachable moment” on improving relations between police and minority communities.

Yet his agenda became simply to allow for a good, productive conversation. The hope, in turn, is that people in communities across the nation will see the meeting as a model for how to solve differences — more listening, less shooting from the lip.

Yet a parallel goal for Obama is to cap this story and move attention back to his push for a national health care overhaul.

The White House says it is not paying for any transportation or other accommodation costs for Gates or Crowley. Gates and Crowley had family members with them. They got tours and pictures.

“I hope it's more than media hype. I really hope that it's a moment where everyone acknowledges the complexity of race relations in our country,” said Kelly McBride, a specialist in ethics at the Poynter Institute journalism center.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Steve Evans: Neologisms 22-25

SNIGLET: a term invented by comedian Rich Hall for a "word that should be in the dictionary, but isn't." A few examples: doork, a person who pushes on a door marked "pull", lotshock, the act of parking your car, walking away, and then watching it roll past you, pupkus, the moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

DAFFYNITION: a pun coined by reinterpreting an existing word. Making up daffynitions is a game on the BBC Radio 4 comedy quiz show I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. A few examples: antelope, to run off with your mother’s sister, testicle, an exploratory tickle, scandal, footwear you should be ashamed of, boomerang, what you say to frighten a meringue, pasteurize, too far to see

Consumers plan to stay home more often, taking STAYCATIONS instead of vacations.

"We don't want to get DIXIE-CHICKED. We've invested millions of dollars in the movie."(Dreamworks executive, 2003). dixie-chicked, to suffer economic loss by alienating a constituency.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rachel finds Relief: People who Make a Difference to the Storyteller

Besides the storyteller, there are many people who make the difference.

Some of these people are--
  • Coaches--In 1556 of the Middle French "coche", the German "kotsche", and the Hungarian "kocsi" the word means "large kind of carriage". There was a village named "Kocs" of where the carriage was first made. The word transferred to several different transportation devices. Then, in 1830, another meaning of "instructor/trainer" came about and "coach" was Oxford University slang for a tutor who "carries" a student through an exam. By 1861, the coach connected to athletics. Storytelling could be considered a sport. The idea of being carried seems to take away the will of the storyteller. Now compare to the mentor.
  • Mentors--In 1750 from the Greek "mentor", it means "wise advisor". Interestingly, Mentor was the name of a friend of Odysseus and adviser of Telemachus, who was often the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, in disguise. The word "mentos" means "intent, purpose, spirit, passion". The Latin "mon-i-tor" means "one who admonishes or "one who thinks". The word "mental" is from around 1422 Middle French "mental" to mean "of the mind" By 1927, it also means "crazy, deranged". This reminded me of how genius and madness are often the same thing. Think Yoda from Star Wars. The word "advice" comes from 1297 Old French "avis" to mean opinion" and the French saying of "it seems to me". There is reference to vision and ability to see, which then leads to knowledge. As for the word "wise", this comes from Old English "wis" to mean "to see". The slang meaning of 1896 means "aware, cunning". The Greek "eidos" of "wise" means "form, shape, kind" and "course of action". If someone had to choose to between a mentor or a coach, I would choose mentor every time.
  • Support--In 1382 from the Old French "supporter" and the Latin "supportare", it means "convey, carry, bring up" or "up from under". The "sup" means "up from under" while the "portare" means "to carry". The noun connects to "act of assistance, backing" as in "services which enable something to fulfill its function and remain in operation". When looking at "port", then the Old English "port" means "harbor, haven". The Latin "portus" means "entrance, passage". I certainly feel safe and able to enter risky ventures when I have the support of family and friends in storytelling.
May the world bless us with plenty of coaches, mentors, and support!

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Rachel Reaches into Repertoire: What Any Storyteller Wants More Of

There are certain aspects of storytelling that I would want a never-ending supply.

Here are ones that would be on my wish list--
  • Creativity/Create--In 1386 from the Latin "creatus", it means "to make, produce", which is also related to "crescere" as in "arise, grow". There is reference to the Creator or "Supreme Being". When we create, we certainly are working with a divine quality. There is a sense of imagination to the act. "Create" also relates to "crescent". In 1399 from the Anglo-French of "cressaunt", then we get "come forth, spring up, grow, thrive". Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, came from the Latin "creare" as in "to bring forth, create, produce". The word "create"references "shape" within the Old English "scapan" to mean "to create, form, destine". There is the sense of scraping, polishing and sometimes hacking.
  • Idea--In 1430 of the Latin "idea" it means "figure, image, symbol" as well as "archetype" in Platonic philosophy. The Greek word "idea" means "ideal, prototype" and has reference to being able to see or have vision. Funny enough, an idea was the "result of thinking". How else an idea may come. . .well. . .I guess some things are like lightnings of inspiration. But even thinking is involved here since one needs to recognize that the idea is an idea! When one delves into the meaning of "vision", the word came from 1290 Anglo-French of "visioun" to mean "something seen in the imagination or in the supernatural". Vision also has the connection "to know, to see".
  • Originality--In 1315 of the Latin "originalis" we have "beginning, source, birth". From the Latin word "oriri" we get "to rise". The word references to "orchestra" of which, in 1606, the Latin word "orchestra" means "area in an ancient theater". The "tra" part denotes place while the "orkheisthai" means "to dance" as well as "to go, come". As storytellers, to be original may then mean to go or come from another direction upon the stage as a starting point for the story to evolve.
  • Theme--Around 1300 of Old French "tesme" (of which the "s" was silent) and from the Latin "thema" we receive the meaning "a subject, thesis". The Greek thema means "a proposition, subject, deposit" or "something set down". This comes from the root of tithenai that means "put down, place". The word "theme" references the word "factitious", of which the Latin "factitius" of 1646 means "artificial". Could this mean that a theme is a man-made device to assign meaning to something presented. Does this make it "artificial" that we put down as if like a thesis for people to make judgments on after hearing the story or stories?
  • Motif--In 1848 of the French "motif" it means "dominant idea, theme". It references the word "motive", of which this word came about in 1362 from the Old French "motif" to mean "something brought forward". Then, from Modern Latin "motivus", we have "moving, impelling". When connecting to the word "move", then it could mean "that which inwardly moves a person to behave a certain way". A motif is much like the universal thoughts and observations that move us to certain results or actions.
  • Archetype--In 1545 from the Latin "archetypum" is the meaning "original pattern from which copies are made". The Greek "arkhetypon" means "pattern, model" or "first-moulded". The "arkhe" means "first" and the "typos" means "model, type, blow, mark of a blow". Then, from Jungian pyschology of 1919 we then have it mean "pervasive idea or image from the collective unconscious". Some of the word "archetypes" connects with "archon" of mean the Greek "arkhon" means "ruler" or "to begin, rule, command". Some common archetypes in storytelling are the wild woman, old hag, the step-mother. We see them in all cultures and seem to "rule" how we view these models or characters.
  • Repertoire--In 1847 from the French "re'pertoire", it means "a stock of plays, songs, etc." The Latin "repertorium" means "inventory. The word references "repertory", which is from the 1552 Latin "repertus" to mean "to find, get, invent". The "parire" part means to "produce, bring forth". There was also reference to the word "parent" from the Old French "parent" or the Latin "parere" as to "bring forth, give birth to, produce". Any stories we put in our repertoire is a form of birthing. The stories become our children. . .and sometimes we "show them off" to the world.
  • Interaction--This is a combination of the words "inter" and "action" put together in 1832. The "inter" comes from the Latin "inter" to mean "among, between". Sometimes "inter" is spelled "entre" in French and used in such words as "entertain" and "enterprise". The "action" comes from Old French "action" or the Latin "actionem" around 1360 to mean "to do". In 1599, relates to "fighting". Then by 1968 it means "excitement". In the storytelling sense, an interaction with the audience could be more "fighting" if anger-based, but usually ours would fall more into the "excitement" area in an attempt to engage among them.
  • Improvisation--In 1786 of the French "improvisation" and "improviser", they mean "act of improvising musically" as well as to "compose or say extemporaneously". The Italian "improvvisare" means "unforeseen, unprepared". When looking up extemporaneous, the word comes from 1656 from the Latin "extemporaneus" to mean "offhand, in accordance with (the needs of) the moment". There is a connection to "time", of which the Old English word "getimian" means "to happen, befall". Improvising is about seeing what will befall when asked to shared ideas at first thought. Whenever we tell stories, there is always the improvising with the audience although the plot of the story may stay fixed. Then there are the storytellers who are 100% improvisational.
  • Spontaneity--In 1656 of the Late Latin "spontaneus" we have "willing, of one's own free will". When looking at "will", this word comes from the Old English "willan" or "wyllan" to mean "to wish, desire, want" as well as to "be pleasing". Rather than the frozen sound that storytelling could have, the free flow of words tend to be more "pleasing" to the audience.
What do you wish you had a never-ending supply of as a storyteller?

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
(801) 870-5799

Katie Nuttall Language Usage #21-25

Language History Lessons: My last entries for the Language Journal. Number 22 was very surprising to me! I have really enjoyed this assignment. Enjoy!

21. On July 14th while I was sitting in Linguistics class David simply said, “We pay attention.” I must have been paying attention a little too much because that phrase stuck with me. I started thinking about the word “pay,” and all the different uses for it. We pay the clerk. He has to pay. Pay it forward. (Notice I had to use three examples!) There are also idioms associated with the word pay: pay as you go, pay back, paying its way, pay the piper, pay through the nose. But it made me think about the origin of the word pay.

Word History: Given the unpeaceful feelings one often has in paying bills or income taxes, it is difficult to believe that the word pay ultimately derives from the Latin word pāx, "peace." However, it is not the peace of the one who pays that is involved in this development of meaning. From pāx, meaning "peace" and also "a settlement of hostilities," was derived the word pācāre, "to impose a settlement on peoples or territories." In Late Latin pācāre was extended in sense to mean "to appease." The Old French word paiier that developed from Latin pācāre came to have the specific application "to pacify or satisfy a creditor," a sense that came into Middle English along with the word paien (first recorded around the beginning of the 13th century), the ancestor of our word pay. (From

Given the word history it is very interesting indeed how we use this word.

22. The Linguistics’ class went out to dinner on Thursday July 23rd. There were many conversations going on. But as I was talking with Kristy and her friend Rachel, the phrases “Sell me up the river” and “Selling down the river” came up in our conversation. It is an interesting phrase. First, it would be very difficult to go up the river and go against the current. But, what is the difference between the two? To me they were very similar, so I looked it up. This is for your “gee-whiz collection” so you’ll always know. It is also a very good lesson in history!

Sell someone down the river: to betray someone; to reveal damaging information about someone; to do something which harms or disappoints someone who trusted you, in order to get an advantage for yourself; to do something that hurts someone who trusted you

Send someone up the river: To send someone to prison. (Underworld. As done by a judge or indirectly by the police.)

Where they came from: The Origins

SELL DOWN THE RIVER: This expression arose in the U.S. in the mid-19th century and referred literally to the sale of troublesome/uncooperative or escaped slaves, as punishment, to the owner of a plantation on the lower Mississippi River - thus 'down the river'- where conditions were harsher than in the Northern slave states. The term first appeared in print in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1851 and came to be used figuratively by the late 19th century.

SELL/SEND UP THE RIVER: which means send to prison, originally referred to incarceration at Sing Sing (also referred to as the ‘Big House’)—the infamous prison (PC is now ‘correctional facility’) located up the Hudson River from New York City and which, by the late 1800s, was notorious as one of the most brutal penitentiaries in the country.

23. The waitress also came to take our orders. But, she first shared the special. It was some sort of beef with vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. I then commented to Debbie, “Garlic. Mashed. Potatoes. What could be better than that?” The second I said it I realized what I had said: a combination of three. No wonder it sounded so good. Here was the triple threat being used against me. I wanted those mashed potatoes. However, I don’t think they would have sounded so appetizing though if she said, “The steak comes with a side of potatoes that are mashed with some garlic.” Word order has an impact to the ear. I wonder if restaurants have ever looked into that as a sales tactic?

24. On Thursday night, July 23rd, we were coming back from Café Lola. Steve, Debbie, Ilene, and I were sitting at a red light on Roan Street when someone said, “Let’s do a Chinese Frill Drill.” This brought back memories of myself as a teenager running around the car and changing seats. Steve mentioned how when he did a “Chinese Fire Drill” he would run and left the windshield wipers on the car in front of them. Although I think this phrase would be considered politically incorrect to use, it made me stop and think.
So…where did this phrase start? I did a little digging. I went farther then trusting Wikipedia. The best explanation comes from Random House. Hope it is enlightening for all of you who have participated in this before:

There are two main senses of Chinese fire drill. One is the broad one, 'a state or example of utter confusion'. The other, rather specific, is a high-school or college prank where a group of students jump out of a car that's stopped at a red light, run around the car, and pile back in before the light turns green. Both of these stem from the idea of a fire drill being confused and panicked.

The first sense was first used in the military in World War II. Chinese here is not necessarily a racial sentiment. Several expressions in common use in aviation since World War I, such as Chinese landing 'a clumsy landing' and Chinese ace 'an inept pilot', derive from the English phrase one wing low, thought to resemble the Chinese language or a Chinese name. The use of Chinese to mean 'clumsy; inferior' may stem from these phrases, although there were earlier isolated examples which were based on ideas of the inferiority of the Chinese.

The car-prank sense is first attested in print in the early 1970s, but a number of people have reported its use in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s, so it is likely that the phrase was current at the time, but simply was not written down that early.

25. On Monday July 27th, I was having a discussion with Debbie, when I used the phrase, “I was in la-la land.” La-la land? Hmmm…made me think. I also use this often when referring to students that are not paying attention. Then I thought about all the other references to this sentiment: never-never land, out to lunch, in outer space, spacey, going to your happy place, head in the clouds, and the list goes on. Many of them have to do with location. It is interesting that not being focused is associated with being in another place—since technically we kind of are. I like the references to lands; it makes it sound a little gentler to be escaping reality by going to another world.

Catherine Horn: language 23-24

This phrase was used in a newsletter from mt granddaughter's school
Lake Wobegon Effect-
"...where all the children are above average"
School systems where test scores of all students fall within the above average range. (a statical impossibility)
Earliest citation: Christopher Connell, "Education Officials Say Achievement Tests Paint Unrealistic Picture" 1998 Associated press

A Joe Bidenism (or foot-in-mouth-disease)
July 15, A phrase from my husband after hearing an implicitly racist remark in a news interview,
"I don't know if that was intentionally indirect or it was a Joe Bidenism."
Something for the fun ot it!

Reece Museum Program by Ilene Evans

I did a family storytelling program at Barnes and Nobles over the weekend.
Mbira - the thumb piano that I played is an African American adaptation of the African mbira from Zimbabwe. To read some more about their significance in the culture in Zimbabwe here are to sites to visit: and

Baba Jamal Koram has had an American artist make an African American version of the traditional instrument that is very nice to play.

Katie Nuttall Language Usage #17-20

The Bachelorette and the power of language:

I was watching the Bachorlette this week. It was the “men tell all” edition. This episode is usually a wasted week. BUT it is a LINGUISTIC DREAM! It is always a mixed bag of nuts! But, it provided ample examples of language. Everyone is different from each other and a definite product of their environment.

One of my favorite moments of the show was watching a neologism in the making. To understand its meaning you would of have to have watched last season. Last season, the Bachelor was named Jason Mesnick. The last episode featured him making his final decision of who to marry. He was distraught over his decision. After he dumped the final girl and walked her out, he proceeded to go over to a balcony railing and hang his head and cry. Knowing that, makes you appreciate this part of the show:

Contestant A: I think the last moment you really pulled a “mesnick.” Let me just clarify what a mesnick is: it is when a grown man leans over a hotel railing and cries. Because I heard that in ya. That’s really what that was. Pulling a mesnic. PULLING A MESNICK EVERYBODY!

Host: On a scale, though... of like zero to mesnick...How did he do?

Contestant A: He was like a mesnick. He straight. Up. Mesnick. Being a 10! He was right there.

Contestant B: That’s the problem. When you tell people all the time that you are perfect…You came across like it’s so canned like you came off of a like soap opera. It is the whole nine yards.

This was beautiful! From the “mesnic” to the “being canned like a soap opera.” I thoroughly enjoyed this moment!

Next, the big part of the episode was discussing “man code.” One of the more aggressive guys made this comment: “It’s man code that you don’t break, and when you do it is just disrespectful.” The host even commented on how a lot has been made of this “man code” and sought a definition, which I was interested in knowing as well. “Man code is an unspoken rule…set of rules, that men…don’t have to talk about.” It was even more fun to listen to this guy give an example of how you don’t hook up with your best friends girl and to how essentially they were breaking “man code” already by being on the show, because they were “fishing in the same pool.” This got others to define what their definition of “man code.” Another said it was more about respecting women, being an adult. It seemed the men themselves couldn’t quite agree on what “man code” was and spent a lot of the discussion going around in circles. I never got a clear understanding, but may be someone else can enlighten me?

Also, one of the other guys made this comment, “I prepared to go on the show, I prepared to meet Jill, I prepared to meet some guys, but what I didn’t prepare for was…having to defend myself.” I have noticed that the rule of three is everywhere we talk: from words, to phrases, to even sentences. We tend to need that beginning, middle, and end in our speech.

The conversation got more and more intense as the episode moves forward. It heated up. The swear words started to fly. It was pure drama that I would usually associate in a “cat fight.” I think one of the contestants summed up this entire shows theme, when he said, “Why waste all this energy on all this whole Alpha male banter stuff. Where’s Jillian?” That was what this part of the show thrives on: the craziness of personalities mixing.

The best thing is you can ALL watch this on over and over and over again. Then you can see the Alpha Male banter for yourself.

Catherine H: Language 18-23

Language limiters
Drive-thru, pay-at-pump, self-serve, debit card, ATM machine

Sunday morning on my way back to ETSU, I stopped at the bank, got gas, and picked up a cup of coffee at McDonald's. In my errands I encountered the above words/phrases. None of these phrases are particularly new or interesting, however taken together as a whole they exemplify a small pocket of our lives in which we now function in relative isolation that only a few years ago would have been filled with person-to-person encounters and conversation.
  • I have to admit I think the ATM machine is the best technological innovation is the last 30 years. I don't remember how I functioned without it. When I got cash Sunday morning I went to a bank that was not open, where I do not have an account, and I got cash. SOOO Convenient! I did not have to go in my local bank, engage in small talk, explain to the staff where I was going, and I didn't have to look at any graduation or new grandchildren pictures.
  • Drive-thru service eliminates physically walking into the restaurant and the possibility of incidental conversation with folks waiting in line or at surrounding tables. Drive-thru conversation with the order taker/ cashier and server is formulaic and stilted.
  • Self service at gas stations eliminates talking to the station attendant and with the pay-at-pump convenience you don't even have to go into the building. I have bought my gas at the same gas station for three years. I don't even know what the people who work there look like. Ten years ago I knew who owned the local station; I knew stories about their children; I knew where they went to church; I knew their medical history. I knew these things because I talked to them every time I bought gas.
The gain in these conveniences might be time but the loss is community. The small conversational encounters are important in their own right but cumulatively they build a network that I don't think we can really afford to lose.

Catherine H: name etymology

Gender: Feminine
Usage: English

Pronounced: KATH-ə-rin, KATH-rin [key]
From the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine). The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine), which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros) "each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia) "torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos) "pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina to Katharina to reflect this.

The name was borne a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel. The saint was initially venerated in Syria, and the name was introduced to Western Europe by returning crusaders. It has been common in England since the 12th century in many different spellings, with Katherine and Catherine becoming standard in the later Middle Ages.

Famous bearers of the name include Catherine of Siena, a 14th-century mystic, and Catherine de' Medici, a 16th-century French queen. It was also borne by three of Henry VIII's wives, including Katherine of Aragon, and by two empresses of Russia, including Catherine the Great.

Catherine H. etymologies 22-25


1656, "a drawing of the outline of anything," from It. profilo "a drawing in outline," from profilare "to draw in outline," from pro- "forth" + filare "draw out, spin," from L.L. filare "to spin, draw out a line," from filum "thread." Meaning "biographical sketch, character study" is from 1734. The verb is 1715, "to represent in profile," from the noun. Meaning "to summarize a person in writing" is from 1948. Profiling in the racial/ethnic stereotyping sense is recorded from c.1991.


O.E. hors, from P.Gmc. *khursa- (cf. O.N. hross, O.Fris. hors, M.Du. ors, Du. ros, O.H.G. hros, Ger. Roß "horse"), of unknown origin, connected by some with PIE base *kurs-, source of L. currere "to run" (see current). Replaced O.E. eoh, from PIE *ekwo- "horse" (cf. Gk. hippos, L. equus, O.Ir. ech, Goth. aihwa-, Skt. açva-, all meaning "horse"). In many other languages, as in O.E., this root has been lost in favor of synonyms, probably via superstitious taboo on uttering the name of an animal so important in I.E. religion. Used since at least 1391 of various devices or appliances which suggest a horse (e.g. sawhorse). To ride a horse that was foaled of an acorn (1678) was through early 19c. a way to say "be hanged from the gallows." Slang for heroin is first attested 1950. Horseplay is from 1589. The belief that finding a horseshoe by chance is lucky is attested from late 14c. Horse latitudes first attested 1777, the name of unknown origin, despite much speculation. Dead horse as a figure for "something that has ceased to be useful" is attested from 1638. High horse originally (c.1380) was "war horse, charger;" fig. sense in mount (one's) high horse "affect airs of superiority" is from 1782. The horse's mouth as a source of reliable information is from 1928, perhaps from the fact that a horse's age can be determined accurately by looking at its teeth. To swap horses while crossing the river (a bad idea) is first attested 1864 in writings of Abraham Lincoln. Horse sense is 1870, Amer.Eng. colloquial, probably from the same association of "strong, large, coarse" found in horseradish. Horse and buggy meaning "old-fashioned" is recorded from 1926 slang, originally in ref. to a "young lady out of date, with long hair." The proverbial gift horse was earlier given horse:

"No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth." [Heywood, 1546]

The modern form perhaps traces to Butler's "Hudibras" (1663), where the tight iambic tetrameter required a shorter phrase:

He ne'er consider'd it, as loth
To look a Gift-horse in the mouth.


1593, "a 'vocal gesture' expressing the action of puffing anything away" [OED], first attested in Hamlet Act I, Scene III, where Polonius addresses Ophelia with, "Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl, / Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. / Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?" But the "vocal gesture" is perhaps ancient. Among the many 19th century theories of the origin of language was the Pooh-pooh theory (1860), which held that language grew from natural expressions of surprise, joy, pain, or grief. The slang reduplicated verb pooh-pooh "to dismiss lightly and contemptuously" is attested from 1827. Pooh as baby-talk for "excrement" is from 1950s (cf. poop (n.2)).


c.1225, from O.Fr. coart, from coe "tail," from L. coda, dialectal variant of cauda "tail," of uncertain origin + -ard, an agent noun suffix (denoting "one who does"). The word probably reflects an animal metaphoric sense still found in expressions like turning tail and tail between legs. Coart was the name of the hare in O.Fr. versions of "Reynard the Fox." As a surname (attested from 1255) it represents O.E. cuhyrde "cow-herd."

"Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination." [Ernest Hemingway, "Men at War," 1942]

An O.E. word for "cowardly" was earg, which also meant "slothful."

Beth Ohlsson - etimology 23-25

23. create: c.1386, from L. creatus, pp. of creare "to make, produce," related to crescere "arise, grow" (see crescent). Creator for "Supreme Being" (c.1300) drove out native scieppend, from verb scieppan (see shape). Creative is from 1678, originally literal; of the arts, meaning "imaginative," from 1816, first attested in Wordsworth. Creative writing is from 1907. The native word for creation in the Biblical sense was O.E. frum-sceaft. Creationism as a name for the religious reaction to Darwin is from 1880.

24. Shape shifter: N. a common theme in mythology and folklore, as well as in science fiction and fantasy. In its broadest sense, it is a metamorphosis (change in the physical form or shape) of a person or animal. Shapeshifting involves physical changes such as alterations of age, gender, race, or general appearance or changes between human form and that of an animal (therianthropy), plant, or inanimate object.
shift: v. O.E. sciftan "arrange, divide," related to sceadan "divide, separate" (see shed (v.)), from P.Gmc. *skiftanan (cf. O.N. skipta "to divide, change, separate," O.Fris. skifta "to decide, determine, test," Du. schiften "to divide, turn," Ger. schichten "to classify," Schicht "shift"). Sense of "change" appeared c.1250; that of "move, transfer" is c.1375; that of "manage to get along" is first attested 1513, in phrase shift for oneself, and yielded shiftless in the modern sense (1584).

25. Metamorphosis. n. 1533, "change of form or shape, especially by witchcraft," from L., from Gk. metamorphosis "a transforming," from metamorphoun "to transform," from meta- "change" (see meta-) + morphe "form" (see morphine). Metamorphic, in geological sense, is first attested 1833, in Lyell; rocks whose form has been changed by heat or pressure.