Book by Cochrane, Robertson
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You know what it's like when you get that itch and you've just got to find out the origin of "charley horse" and why the mistletoe has such a silly name but such romantic powers. You also know that when you start asking around, friends and family shrug shoulders and begin to edge away. Luckily, Cochrane is a kindred spirit who's not only wondered but researched as well. Now instead of asking friends for obsolete derivations, you can read the chapters aloud instead, and share the linguistic wealth.From the Back Cover:
Folk etymology, that charming process of word formation that substitutes a familiar sound or idea for an archaic one ('rod-iron' for wrought iron), has worked overtime in our fields, forests, and gardens. Samuel Johnson and a lot of others thought gooseberry derived naturally from the fact that its sauce commonly accompanied a roast goose; later etymologists discovered that it earlier had been called a groseberry, after the French groseille, and that there was nothing anserine in its background except wishful tinkering. Similarly, asparagus was, and often still is, called 'sparrow-grass', and for nearly two centuries the cucumber bore the bovine name of 'cowcumber'... The dandelion is a straightforward phonetic rendition of French dent de lion, or 'lion's tooth.' It's curious that, while we borrowed a French expression based on the weed's appearance, the French settled for a name related to quite another characteristic. The French word is pissenlit, which reflects the diuretic properties of the dandelion roots that used to be dried, ground up, and mixed with coffee. In fact, pisse-abed is given as an English alternative by John Gerarde in his 1597 Herball, or General Historie of Plants, and pissabed salad, containing dandelion greens, was once popular in the United States.
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Descrizione libro University of Toronto Press, 1996. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0802077528