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Etymology for Lexophiles

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Otherwise known as Fun with Words this eight week course is led by Highland Green residents Elizabeth Cole and Elliott Miller and takes place at the Highland Green Community Center. It is being attended by around 40 fellow Highland Green residents.

The second session featured amongst other topics the Etymology of Expressions, such as:

Give a Cold Shoulder

In medieval England, it was customary to give a guest a cold piece of meat from the shoulder of mutton, pork, or beef chop when the host felt it was time for the guest to leave.

The Whole Nine Yards

American fighter planes in WWII had machine guns fed by a belt of cartridges.  The average cartridge belt was 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo, he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.

Butter Someone Up

This was a customary religious act in ancient India. The devout would throw butter balls at the statues of their gods (butter them up) to seek favor and forgiveness.

Close, But No Cigar

Carnival games of skill, particularly shooting games, once gave out cigars as a prize. A contestant that did not quite hit the target was close, but did not get a cigar.

Other topics include in the course include: Parsing; Prefixes; Synonyms; Semantic Gradations; Suffixes; Antonyms; Word Formation; History of English; American Dialects; Greek, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Arabic and other Roots; Loan Words; Idioms; Register; Connotation/Denotation; Stress; American Sign Language; Body Language


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