Feature Word: By the Same Token

Definition:

For the same reason; making able to associate one thing with another.

Description:

Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida.

Pandarus says he will return with ‘a token from Troilus.’

Cressida replies, ‘By the same token, you are a bawd.’

Source:

Shakespeare

Posh

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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.

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Plaintiff

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Definition:

a person who brings a legal action

Description:

We won’t complain about the origins of ‘plaintiff,’ although ‘complain’ and ‘plaintiff’ are probably distantly related. ‘Complain’ is thought to derive ultimately from ‘plangere,’ a Latin word meaning ‘to strike, beat one’s breast, or lament.’ ‘Plangere’ is an ancestor of ‘plaintiff’ too.

‘Plaintiff’ comes most immediately from the Middle English ‘plaintif,’ itself a Middle French borrowing; in Middle French, ‘plaintif’ functioned both as a noun and as an adjective meaning ‘lamenting, complaining.’ That ‘plaintif’ in turn comes from the Middle French ‘plaint,’ meaning ‘a lamentation.’ (The English words ‘plaintive’ and ‘plaint’ are also descendents of these Middle French terms.) And ‘plaint’ comes from the Latin ‘planctus,’ past participle of “plangere.” Logically enough, ‘plaintiff’ applies to the one who does the complaining in a legal case.

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Marshall

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Definition:

an officer of the highest rank in some military forces

Description:

A logical assumption is that ‘marshal’ is related to ‘martial,’ but the resemblance is purely coincidental. Although most French words are derived from Latin, a few result from the 3rd-century Germanic occupation of France, and the early French ‘mareschal’ is one such word. ‘Mareschal’ came from Old High German ‘marahscalc,’ formed by combining ‘marah’ (horse) and ‘scalc’ (servant). ‘Mareschal’ originally meant ‘horse servant,’ but by the time it was borrowed into Middle English in the 13th century, it described a French high royal official. English applied the word to a similar position, but it eventually came to have other meanings. By contrast, ‘martial’ derives from ‘Mars,’ the Latin name for the god of war, and is completely unrelated.

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I Wouldn’t Trust him as Far as I could Throw Him

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Definition:

Untrustworthy

Description:

Harington (1618) Epigrams: ‘That he might scant trust him so farre as throw him.’

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Hat Trick

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Definition:

To score three times in one game.

Description:

The term actually originated from the British Cricket games. Any bowler who retired three batsmen with three consecutive balls in cricket was entitled to a new hat at the expense of the club to commemorate this feat. Later, the term was used to indicate three consecutive scores in other sports. The phrase finally broadened to include any string of three important successes or achievements, in any field.

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