Friday, April 15, 2011

Where Did That Come From?

I love words, especially odd ones, and finding out where words and phrases originate. Then there are the word myths.

There is no word in English that rhymes with Orange. WRONG! Lozenge and Scavenge for starters. Rhyme does NOT mean that the word is spelt the same at the end, just sound the same. You could put a case for binge and whinge to rhyme with orange too.

Phrases can have interesting histories. 'Beyond the pale' dates from the 14th century. The Pale was an area of Ireland around Dublin, within which English law was to be obeyed and enforced. Outside of this area it could not be enforced and was beyond the pale. Pales, in this sense, also occurred around Calais, in Russia and in parts of Scotland.

So there you have two useless bits of information that you can bore people with this weekend. Have fun.

2 comments:

Milo James Fowler said...

Not useless at all. I'm always intrigued by etymology -- being an English teacher probably explains it!

Victoria Snelling said...

I love etymology too.

I'd say binge, whinge and lozenge, scavenge are half-rhymes for orange. They only work as full rhymes if you prononce orange oringe or orenge.