• Etymons

    Easter

    Easter n. 1. A Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus. 2. The day on which this feast is observed, the first Sunday following the full moon that occurs on or next after March 21. 3. Eastertide.   Rabbit on a pillar; entrance to St. Michael’s chapel from St. Mary’s, Beverley, Yorkshire c. 1330 That seems straightforward enough. It gets a little less straightforward when we start looking at the etymology behind the word Easter. This much we are reasonably sure of; Easter is derived from Middle English ester, itself derived from Old English ēastre. There’s a very clear Proto Indo-European root there; *aus-, “to shine.” Derivatives of *-aus included east, Easter, and Aurora,…

  • Etymons

    The Language of Baseball and English Idiom

    Dodger Stadium, August 13, 2011 Credit: Adam_sk Foolish me; I had been planning for some time to welcome the Springtime return of major league baseball with a bit about the ways the language of baseball in the form of baseball idioms has crept into ordinary American English. I’m far too late to the pitch. There’s a wikipedia article already. Even the OED got to first base before me. There are books about the language of baseball; Ryan Gray’s The Language of Baseball: A Complete Dictionary of Slang Terms, Cliches, and Expressions From The Grand Ole Game. And there’s a book (and a website) by Paul Dickson about the signs used…

  • Etymons

    Filibuster

    According to the official U.S. Senate Glossary a filibuster is an Informal term for any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions. According to the AHD, a filibuster: a. The obstructing or delaying of legislative action, especially by prolonged speechmaking.  b. An instance of this, especially a prolonged speech. An adventurer who engages in a private military action in a foreign country. Etymologically the English word filibuster derives from Dutch vrijbuiter, “pirate” via Spanish filibustero, or “freebooter”; the Spanish borrowed the word from French flibustier, who…

  • Calendar,  Medieval manuscripts

    April from the Très Riches Heures

    In this book of hours calendar image for April from the Très Riches Heures of Jean Duc du Berry (Musé Condee MS 65 F4v) one of the typical seasonal pastimes (or labors) is depicted; gathering flowers. But the primary emphasis of the scene is on the couple in the foreground exchanging rings in a betrothal ceremony, with what might be the young woman’s parents looking on (various attempts have been made to associate the portraits with real people). To the right two women are picking flowers. In the background on the right fruit trees in an orchard are blooming, and beyond that on the lake fisherman are using seining nets to…