Feature Word: Posh

Definition:

classy: elegant and fashionable

Description:

It actually came from a phrase used by the East India Trading Company, which, of course, was based in London.

When it booked passengers round-trip to India, the more affluent passengers would request a cabin on the side of the ship least exposed to the Atlantic Ocean gales.

Hence, they were given cabins ‘port outbound, starboard homebound.’ It eventually was abbreviated to posh.

Source:

origin unknown

Brontophobia

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Definition:

an abnormal fear of thunder

Description:

Bronto = Greek word for ‘thunder’

+  phobia = fear

Does the word ‘Bronto’ ring a bell? Well, ‘brontosaurus’ means ‘thunder lizard’…

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Quixotic

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Definition:

extremely chivalrous, romantic, and idealistic. Perhaps even delusional.

Description:

Derived from the Spanish literary character Don Quixote, this word captures his character’s essence. His comical misinterpretations of reality being at times funny, chivalrous, and ironic. He chooses to see things in the best light.

If something is ‘quixotic,’ it shares this unique quality with the literary figure.

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Abracadabra

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Definition:

1) a magical charm or incantation, which
2) gibberish or unintelligible language

Description:

Magic spells usually come to mind when this word is heard. It does, in fact have ancients roots, stemming back to the 2nd Century AD – it was in a poem written by Quintus Sammonicus Serenus entitled De Medicina Praecepta. As physician to the Roman emperor Caracalla, he prescribed that a sufferer from disease wear it as an amulet, in the form of a triangle:

A-B-R-A-C-A-D-A-B-R-A

A-B-R-A-C-A-D-A-B-R

A-B-R-A-C-A-D-A-B

A-B-R-A-C-A-D-A

A-B-R-A-C-A-D

A-B-R-A-C-A

A-B-R-A-C

A-B-R-A

A-B-R

A-B

A

 

Supposedly, this would diminish the hold the disease has over the patient / sufferer. It may have a Semitic origin, but it is also similar to the Aramaic ‘Abrahadabra’ which roughly translates to “I will create as I speak.”

Other associations with this word: ‘Abracadabra’ was used as a magical formula by the Gnostics of the sect of Basilides to invoke the aid of beneficient spirits against disease (according to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica) .

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Blowing smoke up your ass

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Definition:

to flatter, embellish, lie

Description:

The Smoke Enema:

Smoke Enema

was used to push smoke into a drowning victim in order to warm the victim from the inside-out.

“…A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke into the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase “blow smoke up one’s ass.” Search on “tobacco smoke enema” for illustrations of the apparatus.”

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Gussied Up

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Definition:

or ‘gussy up’: to dress up or get decked out in a showy or gimmicky manner; or, to get dressed in one’s best clothes

Description:

This term is of an obscure / unknown origin, but is usually considered an American expression. However, the first recorded use of the word ‘gussy‘ in the Oxford English Dictionary comes from a British source, Morris Marple’s Public School Slang of 1940.

At the end of the 19th Century, both in Australia and in America, the term was used to denote a weak or effeminate person.

Or, the term could be associated with American tennis player “Gorgeous Gussie” Moran who is best remembered for appearing at Wimbledon in 1949 wearing frilly panties — which caused considerable interest and controversy.

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