Friday, January 13, 2017

Tend


Tend is a word all by itself. It means to bestow attention, to have a purpose, or to advance. It is based on the Latin word tendere, to stretch. That verb also contained the senses to strain or to strive.

Worth noting is that –tend was frequently used as a word part in combination with various prefixes. Some of the words in the following list are now obsolete, but they demonstrate the usefulness of this word part through the centuries.

·      attend:  To watch over something. [L. ad-, towards, + tendere, to stretch]
·      bartend: To serve drinks in a bar.[OF. barre, rigid piece of wood, + L. tendere, to stretch]
·      circumtend: To stretch around something.[L. circum-, around, + tendere, to stretch]
·      contend: To strive earnestly. [L. con-, with, + tendere, to stretch]
·      detend: To reduce the tension or the intensity of something. [L. de-, undo, + tendere, to stretch]
·      distend: To swell out. [L. dis-, away and out, + tendere, to stretch]
·      extend:  To expand or prolong.  [L. ex-, out, + tendere, to stretch]
·      intend:  To have a purpose. [L. in-, onward continuance, + tendere, to stretch]
·      mistend: To fail to give proper attention to something.  [L. mis-, badly, + tendere, to stretch]
·      obtend:  To proffer or put forward.  [L. ob-, in front of, + tendere, to stretch]
·      ostend:  To indicate directly.  [L. ob-, in front of, + tendere, to stretch]
·      portend:  To forecast or give warning. [L. por-, forward, + tendere, to stretch]
·      pretend:  To feign.  [L. pre-, before, + tendere, to stretch]
·      retend: To return.  [L. re-, again, + tendere, to stretch]
·      subtend: To form an angle; to underlie.  [L. sub-, under, + tendere, to stretch]
·      tend: To bestow attention; to have a purpose; to advance.  [L. tendere, to stretch]

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






Monday, December 26, 2016

Flower Frog


Alexandra Arens asked why the ornamental flower holder placed at the bottom of a vase is called a frog. There is some uncertainty. It seems to be a slang term from the early 20th century, and many sources speculate that just like a frog, the device sits in water – hence, the name. The Oxford English Dictionary lists it as the 7th meaning under the amphibian Rana temporaria, so that makes some sense.

But I notice that the same source has another meaning for frog, defining it as “an attachment to the waist belt in which a person carries a sword or a hatchet.” By analogy, a flower would likewise be placed in a holder. So that’s also a possibility for the origin of the term.

That aside, frog is a very versatile word with many meanings, some of them unconnected to each other though identical in spelling. Aside from the flower holder, the OED includes these meanings under frog n.1:

·      Music (orig. U.S.). The block or device at the lower end of a bow for a violin, cello, etc., to which the bow hairs are fixed, now usually movable to allow the tension of the hairs to be adjusted.
·      Brickmaking. A rectangular recess on one or both faces of a brick which provides a key for the mortar.
·      A derogatory name for a person of Dutch or French descent.
·      An irritation in the throat causing hoarseness.

Frog n. 2 is defined as an elastic V-shaped pad of soft horn in the middle of the sole of a horse's hoof, which usually makes contact with the ground and helps to absorb impacts.

Frog n. 3  is an ornamental fastening originally used on military dress coats or cloaks, consisting of a spindle-shaped button and, on the opposite side of the garment, a loop through which this fits.

Frog n. 4  is a grooved metal plate for guiding the wheels of a railway vehicle at a junction where one railway track crosses another.

Flower frogs come in many shapes and sizes, some of them quite decorative, making them collectors’ items. Search the image box in google© with flower frog, and you’ll see many examples.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Thursday, December 15, 2016

Foot the Bill


Bill from Merrit asked about the phrase “to foot the bill.” It means to pay the bill, often covering the debts of others, as a good host will.

Foot refers to the bottom end of something -- in our day, the bottom line of a receipt or bill. Early on, it meant to add any column of figures. The Oxford English Dictionary gives an entry from 1491, translated as, “The time that his count was footed.” [Acts Lords of Council Civil Causes]

By 1770, it referred to an amount: “His account is longer, and will foot as to the sum total, larger than those of his juniors.” [N. Hooker] Later, it was expanded to mean an outcome or result: “The whole situation footed up to the conclusion that I should sell the house I had and with her buy another one we chose together.” [A. Theroux]

It took on a negative meaning – paying a bill run up by someone else or a bill unreasonable in its amount – by 1819: “My dogs..helped themselves to the first repast presented, leaving their master to foot the bills.” [Estwick Evans]

A kissing cousin to this phrase is “the bottom line.” In business, it refers to net income as opposed to gross income.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Thursday, December 08, 2016

On the schneid


I heard from Dan in Traverse City. I often hear the term on the schneid used in reference to a losing streak in hockey. Mickey Redmond, broadcast analyst for the Detroit Red Wings, uses it a lot. Where did schneid come from?”

The word “schneid” is found in many sports other than hockey, but in all cases, the meaning is the same. If a player is on the schneid, he is on a losing streak. If he is off the schneid, he has finally broken that streak by winning a game.

The term is probably a shortened version of schneider, the German word for a tailor. Schneider comes from a card game called Skat. According to an 1886 quote in the Oxford English Dictionary, a Skat player with 30 points or less is said to be cut from the game, or schneider. The comparison is to a tailor cutting cloth with a scissors. The shortened version used in sports (schneid) may have come more directly from gin rummy.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.




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