Jazz, Blues & Babes: The Latest Words from 1915


 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Terms that first appeared in print in 1915 reveal something about life a hundred years ago. Although the war in Europe left its mark on the lexicon, there are also signs of the changing times in arts and culture.

See some surprising 100-year-old words here.

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The Biggest Mystery about English Crime Shows: British Legal Terms You Meant to Look Up

Love British courtroom dramas like “Rumpole of the Bailey,” “Kavanaugh, QC” and “Silk” but a bit muddled on the difference between a silk and a stipe? Get your ducks in a row here. (Thanks to former London solicitor Dana F. Barraclough for assistance on this post.)

BarristerPhoto: Wikimedia Commons SouthbankSteve


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Spanish Surnames That Reveal Family History

A Barbero is a barber, but a Cantero is not a cantor. Do you know what the ancestors of people named Ballestero and Verdugo did? Find out here.

 Spanish surnames 512px-Varlet_or_Squire_carrying_a_Halberd_with_a_thick_Blade_and_Archer_in_Fighting_Dress_drawing_the_String_of_his_Crossbow_with_a_double_handled_WinchSource

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Decoding British Pub Menus

pub 502px-The_Queens_Arms_pub_-_Charlotte_Street_-_Birmingham_-_2005-10-14

Photo  Source

Fancy a pudding wine? How about jugged hare and a side of rocket and baps? Bit of a muddle? No worries, luv. This glossary will set you right: http://mentalfloss.com/article/58701/28-keys-decoding-british-pub-menus

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Some Occupations You’ve Never Heard of Revealed in English Surnames

It’s easy to guess what an ancestor of someone named Cook, Carpenter, or Smith did for a living. With other occupational surnames, though, either the word or the trade has become obsolete, so the meaning is hidden. Can you guess what a forbisher or a kisser did? http://mentalfloss.com/article/58605/30-family-secrets-hiding-english-surnames

What surnames would you dream up based on present-day occupations?

Here’s the original Webster: Wikimedia Commons: Common garden spider, underside, spinning web. source:me {{GFDL}}

spider Araneus_diadematus_underside_1

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Is This Trio of Words the Longest English Homonym?

These word pairs (and one trio) are identical, but not twins or triplets. Like the mythical doppelgangers, they were born at different times and places. Continue readingPeriwinkle_3“Periwinkle 3″ by Mokkie http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Periwinkle_3.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Periwinkle_3.jpg

periwinkle 640px-Littorina_littorea_02“Littorina littorea 02″ by H. Zell – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Littorina_littorea_02.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Littorina_littorea_02.JPG

Periwinkle Rosalba_Carriera_-_A_Gentleman_in_a_Gold_Patterned_Coat_and_Violet-Brown_Cape_(ca._1727)_-_Google_Art_ProjectRosalba Carriera [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Periwig/Periwinkle

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An Example That Defines “Humblebrag”

UrbanDictionary.com defines “humblebrag” as:

Subtly letting others now about how fantastic your life is while undercutting it with a bit of self-effacing humor or “woe is me” gloss.

Here’s a prime example, which I overhead last week at the Aspen Music Festival and School:

Music Student 1: I had this strange gig last night.

Music Student 2: Yeah?

humblebrag City_of_Martin_Folk_Dance_Music_Group_Eyes_of_Violin_Player

http://commons.wikimedia.org/…Eyes_of_Violin_Player.JPG                                               By JacquesDuivenvoorden 

MS1: It was this tribute dinner for James Levine? And we had to play these, you know, Johann Strauss waltzes? And, like, they only gave us the scores 36 hours before? And they had me play First Violin. I was so nervous; I had way more notes than anyone else. Good thing James Levine wasn’t there.

Both: [Laughter]

MS1: But Bono was there!

MS2: And you think he judged you harshly?

MS1: Yeah…

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