Tag Archives: medicine
‘wasp’

‘wasp’

  image from Le Corset à travers les âges (The Corset through the ages – 1893), written by Ernest Léoty and illustrated by Saint-Elme Gautier     MEANING   a social winged insect which has a narrow waist and a sting and is typically yellow with black stripes     ORIGIN   Of Germanic origin, the noun […]

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boutique

boutique

  image: Salle 103 – Latin (Collège de Vinci – Belfort – France)         MEANINGS OF BOUTIQUE   a small shop selling fashionable clothes or accessories a business serving a sophisticated or specialised clientele     ORIGIN   In the second half of the 18th century, English borrowed the French noun boutique […]

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glabella

glabella

  title page of A tracte containing the artes of curious paintinge, caruinge & buildinge (1598)       MEANING   anatomy: the smooth part of the forehead above and between the eyebrows     ORIGIN   This noun is a specific application of the Latin adjective glabella, feminine of glabellus, diminutive of glaber/glabr-, meaning […]

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‘vet’

‘vet’

  Rudyard Kipling by John Collier – 1891       To vet is to examine carefully and critically for deficiencies or errors, and specially to investigate the suitability of a person for a post that requires loyalty and trustworthiness. The British novelist, short-story writer and poet Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is credited with being the […]

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‘gin’

‘gin’

  Gin Lane (1751) by William Hogarth     The Latin noun juniperus is the origin of the English juniper and of the Old French genevre (modern French genièvre), which was adopted in Middle Dutch as genever (modern Dutch jenever). In the early 17th century, this Dutch noun came to be used in the sense […]

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whisky

whisky

  A Nip against the Cold – 1869 by the Scottish painter Erskine Nicol (1825-1904)     Whisky, or whiskey, is a spirit distilled originally in Ireland and Scotland, and still chiefly in the British Isles, from malted barley with or without unmalted barley or other cereals, in the USA chiefly from maize or rye. […]

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pansy

pansy

      The name pansy was originally applied to the heartsease (Viola tricolor, family Violaceae), now wild pansy, which has given rise to hybrids from which most garden pansies were developed (genus Viola, family Violaceae). This name is a borrowing from Middle French pensée, a transferred use of pensée, thought, the flower being considered […]

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toxic

toxic

  William Tell: a depiction of the apple-shot scene in Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia (1554 edition)     The adjective toxic only dates from the mid-17th century. It is from Medieval Latin toxicus, meaning poisoned, from the Latin noun toxicum, meaning poison but originally meaning a poison in which arrows were dipped. This Latin word is […]

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syphilis

syphilis

  Electron micrograph of Treponema pallidum     Syphilis is a chronic bacterial disease that is contracted chiefly by infection during sexual intercourse, but also congenitally by infection of a developing foetus. This is caused by the spirochaete Treponema pallidum.   The word is from post-classical Latin syphilis, which was originally the title (in full, […]

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scurvy

scurvy

  photograph: Australian Skin Institute     Scurvy is a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds, which particularly affected poorly nourished sailors until the end of the 18th century.   One of the earliest attestations of the word is in The Principall […]

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