Feature Word: Balbriggan

Definition:

a knitted, unbleached cotton fabric used for underwear and hosiery.

Description:

Named after the Irish seaport town where this fabric material of the same name is made, Balbriggan arose in the 18th Century from a small fishing village to a place of commercial and manufacturing importance, thanks to Baron Hamilton, who introduced cotton manufacture in 1780.

Source:

What's In a Word? by Webb Garrison, Wikipedia

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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Balbriggan

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Definition:

a knitted, unbleached cotton fabric used for underwear and hosiery.

Description:

Named after the Irish seaport town where this fabric material of the same name is made, Balbriggan arose in the 18th Century from a small fishing village to a place of commercial and manufacturing importance, thanks to Baron Hamilton, who introduced cotton manufacture in 1780.

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Moccasin

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Definition:

a soft leather shoe, usually made from deerskin, originally made and worn by Native American Indians; often decorated, especially with beads.

Description:

The word moccasin in association with Native American footwear has been adopted by the greater American public but it was never a universally understood word within the different Native American tribes.  Moccasin was the word for shoe in the Virginia Algonquian language and was passed into English as a generalization through the encounters early English settlers had with the native community.  Captain John Smith of the Jamestown settlement is attributed with noting the translation in his 1612 glossary, ‘mockasins: shoes.’  In actuality, each tribe used words in their own language or dialect to signify shoe/slipper and it is coincidence that has made ‘moccasin’ the lasting word in English.  It is more than coincidence and surely a tribute to the beauty of the design and image of the moccasin that it has been preserved as a style of shoe until today and continues to permeate the broader fashion market.

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If the shoe Fits, Wear It

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Definition:

You should acknowledge or accept a remark or a situation that applies to you

Description:

This is a misquote of another term:

John Ozell (1714) [translated] Moliere: “If the cap fits, put it on.”

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Getting Down to Brass Tacks

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Definition:

clearing out confusing details and finding out the real facts about something.

Description:

Originated from textile industry.
In early American times, women would buy fabrics in large quantities. Merchants would try to cheat them by reeling the fabric out fast.
The merchants would have brass tacks on the table to indicate a yard. If they reel the fabrics out fast enough, they would be able to cheat a little.
The women buying the fabric realized what they were doing, and would exclaim, ‘You need to get down to brass tacks!’

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