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General Ignorance

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eggshaped
21701.  Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:48 am Reply with quote

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/gruesome/buried.htm

Yes, fair enough. It is a fairly interesting subject all in all though, in fact I remember reading a number of Poe's stories and being buried alive seemed to be a recurring theme.

I think that while these stories are real enough, they are so exaggerated that we are lead to believe that bells to prevent being buried alive etc were common occurances, while in actual fact they were very much the exception.

Ho hum.

 
MatC
21702.  Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:01 am Reply with quote

Yes, I imagine it must have been pretty rare - apart from anything, how many superintendents of cemeteries would have allowed such carry-ons? The FT has done quite a bit on this subject over the years, I seem to remember, but can’t immediately bring it to hand or mind.

 
Flash
21705.  Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:22 am Reply with quote

There used to be a widespread myth about Mary Baker Eddy (the Christian Scientist) having a phone in her tomb, I think.

My guess is that most people would assume "saved by the bell" to be a boxing expression, so I don't know that it would work as a trick question. On the other hand, the whole subject of precautions taken by people with this phobia might be worth exploring as a proper topic (D is for Death, perhaps).

On Napoleon's height, I think that might be one of those ones where they frustrate us by never having heard of the myth in the first place.

 
MatC
21723.  Fri Jun 17, 2005 5:10 am Reply with quote

Is it generally known that “nickname” comes from Middle English “eke name,” where eke means supplemental? I’m not sure whether this would make a question, but it might do as an aside. The chairman could ask the panellists if they’ve ever had an eke, and when they deny it he could suggests suitable ekes for each of them*.


*(“Psyche,” obviously, for Alan.)

 
Gray
21751.  Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:26 am Reply with quote

We also caught that suspect 'saved by the bell' comment in the production gallery, and both John, and therefore Stephen, were quickly notified. We agreed the grave thing was nonsense.

We weren't quick enough for Stephen to make a more 'armed' or entertaining rebuttal to Alan, though, so the comment will probably just be edited out, if only to prevent the snopian hoardes from writing in.

 
Gaazy
21753.  Sun Jun 19, 2005 7:31 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Is it generally known that “nickname” comes from Middle English “eke name,” where eke means supplemental? I’m not sure whether this would make a question, but it might do as an aside. The chairman could ask the panellists if they’ve ever had an eke, and when they deny it he could suggests suitable ekes for each of them.
According to Brewer's Phrase and Fable, "eke" is an adverb meaning "also", and is used as such by Chaucer ("and there was eke a Pardoner" etc.). It wasn't used as a noun, in Middle English at least.

 
MatC
21759.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:47 am Reply with quote

I've never yet known Brewers be right about anything - literally!

Of course, I've no idea which sources are right on this and which wrong, but the Oxford English Reference Dic, for instance, gives this derivation for nickname: "Middle English from eke-name, with n from an; eke=addition."

There's masses on the internet, including this http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-21691,00.html - although that does come from the Guardian, another unreliable witness; but it does quote Anthony Buckeridge, than whom there is no higher authority ...

 
Flash
21766.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 5:41 am Reply with quote

My very concise and pretty old Oxford Dictionary has "eke" as a verb (as in "eke out a living") whose origin lies in what it calls "partly also f. obs. n. eke" which I suppose means "from an obsolete noun". Anyway, the origin is given as "dial. form of obs. eche (OE ecan) f. OTeut. aukan cogn w. L augere increase".

It says that "a nickname" was originally "an ekename", and that the n travelled across, which is apparently what also happened to the humble ewt, which went from being "an ewt" to "a newt".

 
MatC
21771.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:08 am Reply with quote

Didn't the same happen, in reverse, to a norange?

 
Flash
21773.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:14 am Reply with quote

Ha, yes, I suppose so: from naranj. I wonder whether there is such a thing as a norange ewt? An ewt, that is, that is coloured norange?

 
eggshaped
21777.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:20 am Reply with quote

 
MatC
21778.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:30 am Reply with quote

Lovely! And his ekename, no doubt, is "Norangey".

 
eggshaped
21797.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:05 am Reply with quote

I wonder if there might be a question in the "what is this a picture of?" vein.

I think it would be very funny to correct "orange newt" to "norange ewt", but then I suppose it would involve feeding someone the wrong answer. You couldn't guarentee someone would come up with it otherwise.

As an aside, the Californian Newt is known locally as the "orange belly newt".

 
Flash
21802.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:49 am Reply with quote

Q: Describe Ken Livingstone's norange ewt.

Others, according to Wikipedia:
Quote:
The Oxford English Dictionary gives such examples as smot hym on the hede with a nege tool from 1448 for smote him on the head with an edge tool and a nox for an ox and a napple for an apple.

 
MatC
21812.  Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:35 am Reply with quote

Could this make a multiple choice, perhaps, with false answers like "an Igerian" for a person who comes from Igeria? An ephew, for the son of one's brother ...

 

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