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QI Words and Etymology

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41848.  Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:46 pm Reply with quote

But he didn't ask me!

44589.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:34 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
But he didn't ask me!

OK. How was it for you Jenny?

Salut, David.

44699.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:54 pm Reply with quote

It's been so long I've forgotten...

44702.  Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:12 pm Reply with quote

Punctuate the above?

60220.  Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:26 am Reply with quote

Then there was Freud, who could not "climb the ladder" due to his excessive cigar smoking (20 cigars per day). Freud also had a morbid fear of ferns-- pteridophobia-- among his many personal phobias.

gerontius grumpus
60569.  Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:17 pm Reply with quote

Fornication, from the Latin fornix meaning an arch, so named because it was what young lovers did under the arches of the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome.

129528.  Thu Dec 28, 2006 11:50 am Reply with quote

Malefit Here's a word that doesn't exist - but it ought to!
If nothing else it will stop people using the terrible constuction "dis-benefit".
There are many mal/bene words in existence that have opposites. Examples are benevolent/malevolent, benefactor/malefactor, benign/malign. I'm sure others will be posted.
Help me in my mission to bring malefit into general useage - I've already used it in reports and letters - so far no-one has complained!


129579.  Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:23 pm Reply with quote

Ooh, here's a word. I was in t'bookshop today, and I was having a discussion with this chap. He said that I ought to dance for joy, because I was young and I said that I was more likely to cavort amusingly. So then he was wondering where the word "cavort" actually derives from, which is an interesting question. I looked it up on, which said that it derived from the word "curvel" or something similar (I'm too lazy to look it up right now) but he said this was drivel (he was a Latin professor or something). Anyone got any more on this?

129582.  Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:40 pm Reply with quote

My nearest friendly OED dates the word to the late 18th century, speculates that it may be an American innovation, and suggests, uncertainly, a derivation from the word curvet, meaning a "graceful or energetic leap", which is itself a late 16th century adaptation of the Italian corvetta, a diminutive form of corva, which at the time meant a curve, being in its turn derived from Latin.

129585.  Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:47 pm Reply with quote

I like 'malefit'.

And I have looked up 'cavort' in my Collins, which refers me to 'curvet' which is used as a dressage term, to prance or frisk about, possibly from Old Italian corvetta, Old French courbette from courber to bend, from the Latin curvare.
So cavorting may involve a load of bending, by the look of it.

137335.  Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:00 pm Reply with quote

Ah etymology. As a Linguistics student, where better to plant my first post?
A word that bepuzzles me as to its origins is 'chav'; a delinquent, embodied by Little Britain character Vicky Pollard.

Now, I know a little of the history behind the word. For a start, its correct pronunciation is ...damn: IPA doesn't display... Well, spelling should be sufficent in this case: charv or charva. (long medial [a])

I first heard it in 1997 on a bus in Newcastle when someone pulled their ticket out of the machine before it finished printing. The enraged driver yelled "You've ****** it now you stupid charva!" Odd thing to remember, but there we go.

Charvs and charvas slowly became commonly referred to in the North East until in a (national) newspaper article someone sought to define 'charvs', 'hippies' and 'goths'. This person thought that 'chav' was an approprite representation, not realising that the [a] would be read as short in any region unfamiliar with the correct pronunciation.

And so it was that the current pronunciation came into being, permeating TV eventually and influencing a nation-wide useage. I still say 'charv' and most people in Newcastle still do too.

Where did it come from originally though? I remember a discussion with a teacher who suggested that it was from an African tribal name... details are to vague but any further knowledge would, I hope, be interesting.

...Long post. I do apologise!

137528.  Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:29 am Reply with quote

A friend of mine (in York) uses the word 'chiver' (roughly equivalent to the Jackeen 'gurrier', though less derogatory). I wonder if this is the same word as the Newcastle 'charva'. Just a thought.

137536.  Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:46 am Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure we went into "chav" and "charva" once before, although I can't immediately find it.

I'd accept that "chav" should really be "chahv" (note to ikkan - you can enter IPA here by means of some playing around, but I avoid it unless absolutely essential since i) not everyone has a suitable font on their computer and ii) not everyone understands it anyways).

IIRC, we established before that calling someone a "young shaver" is actually the same thing - and nothing to do with razors.

As for the word itself, it's generally agreed to be Romany in origin - this link certainly thinks so and so do many other sources.

137566.  Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:28 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I'm pretty sure we went into "chav" and "charva" once before, although I can't immediately find it.

It may have been pruned from General Banter a while back.

137578.  Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:44 am Reply with quote

Re.: IPA. If you need to enter it into a post, this link is quite helpful


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