A Paralegal and Litigation Assistant by day, and Freelance Writer/Poet by night and weekend, Tina loves history, social studies and biographies, and enjoys writing about almost anything.She lives in London and travels in the UK and abroad whenever she can, and can usually be found wandering around crumbling ruins.
You may not have had the term ‘malapropism’, but I am sure you know what a malapropism is when you hear it! It is when you get one word mixed up for another and as a result change the meaning of a sentence completely.
For example you might mean to say to your friend, “I’m bored, let’s go watch telly”, but what you actually say is, “I’m bored, let’s go eat telly”. 🙂
What is a malapropism, and why does it have such a funny name?
This little flower gets a raw deal, often regarded as a weed to be dug up, but it is actually quite pretty, with its bright yellow colour and distinctive leaves. Even the etymology of its name is pretty. Millie explains the origin of dandelion, and how people in other countries refer to this cheery flower.
Today is election day in UK, when the citizens of the country choose their new government. You can read all about how the elections work here. You wouldn’t think that dress codes of ancient Rome would affect the elections of today, but they do! Millie Slavidou explains.
Today is a good day to think about the word ‘candidate’. I rather like the etymology of this one.
It comes from Latin candidus, which is the past participle* of candidare, which meant ‘to make white, to make bright’.
Not because of whitewashing whatever the candidates might have said or done! It was because in ancient Rome candidates who wanted to be elected either to the Senate or any other office wore white robes.
If we take it one step further back, to a root meaning ‘white, shining’, we find that ‘candle’ is a cognate.**
The past particle is the past form of the verb that can also be used as an adjective, like “a fallen tree”. In the case above, the adjective is like saying ‘whitened’ in English. Other examples of past particles are:
verb: bite past particle: bitten example: a bitten apple
verb: choose past particle: chosen example: aa chosen present
verb: crash past particle: crashed example: a crashed bicycle
A cognate is a distant relative, a word ultimately from the same root. Like a third cousin. Here are some examples of cognates.
Book is related to beech. Well, actually, book means beech! Both come from Germanic word meaning beech tree, Buche.
Germanic runes were originally inscribed on tablets made of beech wood. Modern German for book is Buch!
WOOL and FLANNEL are distant cognates. Today, fashion stores often describe plaid shirts as ‘flannel’, but it is actually a soft woven fabric, originally made of wool, but now often cotton or synthetic. You might have a flannel pyjamas, which are lovely and cosy in the winter!
The word wool is from a Proto Indo European root *wele meaning ‘wool’.
In Welsh, the word gwlanen, means ‘wool’ and is from the same root. The word flannel comes from the woollen vests that were made, presumably by Welsh traders from Welsh sheep – Gwlanen became fwlanen, and then flannel. So wool and flannel are distant cousins!
Today’s featured image is Marasmiellus candidus, a type of mushroom. You will often find the word ‘candidus’ used in botany or biology to describe something that is white, such as crocus candidus or the white woodpecker Melanerpes Candidus. There is even a white monkey called Propithecus candidus.
A book can transport the reader back in time. It is hard to imagine a time when we weren’t surrounded by modern technology, but if you read Anne of Green Gables, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908, suddenly you are bouncing alongside Matthew and Anne in their horse-drawn buggy. Anne and her ‘bosom friend’ Diana didn’t have Instagram to keep in touch, but you will recognise the friendship and fun they have, similar to the connection you have with your BFF!
Em is a reader. A bookworm. She always has been, and always will be. Some people love to read, but some people don’t. Which are you? Maybe you are nagged by your parents and teachers for not reading enough. Perhaps reading is a chore, part of your homework assignment that you rush through, without enjoying because it has to be done. Would you like to learn to love reading? Em has some tips for you.
I really love reading. I mean, I really love reading. I learned to read when I was 4 years old, and I’ve never really stopped since. I used to amaze adults with my reading – I read classic Greek literature (translated, obviously) when I was 9 years old.