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Take Our Word For It Issue 191  Melanie Crowley
 Sep 24, 2003 22:51 PDT 

Take Our Word For It Issue 191

For Mac users who have trouble with our regular homepage:


A day late and a dollar (or so!) short. We got the GoDaddy web domain
registration fiasco sorted out, at least sorted out enough to get TOWFI
back "on the air". If you sent us any messages over the weekend, please
resend them as we received no mail while TOWFI was off line.

**This Week's Issue**

NOTE: The links in this newsletter are good for September 24-October 7.

In Spotlight, we present "Phrases/Clichés that Begin with C", where we
discuss the origin of several such phrases

In Words to the Wise, we bring you the following words/phrases:

your goose is cooked


kelly (part of an oil drill)

beat around the bush

In Curmudgeons' Corner Malcolm Tent shows you the state of grammar with
an e-mail advertisement from a prominent hotel chain

In Sez You... we hear about jimmies and crow-bars, the GMC Jimmy,
xeriscaping in England, Who Knew?, Pity Me, other great English village
names, jeans versus denim, and lupine.

In Laughing Stock we bring you The Phaomnneel Pweor of the Hmuan Mnid.

**Newsletter-Only Etymology**

Since we were on a roll with "c" phrases, let's have another. What
about "cut the mustard"? It is American in origin,and there are three
suggested but unsubstantiated guesses at its derivation: that "mustard"
is used figuratively to mean "something very good" since it improves the
flavor of foods; that it is a corruption or variation of "pass muster",
a military term; or tht it is a reference to the preparation of mustard
by grinding the seeds and adding vinegar to "cut" the bitter flavor of
the seeds. It dates from the late 19th to early 20th century. O. Henry
used it in "Cabbages and Kings" in 1904.

**Laughing Stock**

Keep sending the funny stuff!


We really are getting the names of you recent donors published on our
donors' page. With Mike's long work commute, he doesn't have as much
time at home as he used to, so we're still figuring out how to budget
our time so that we can get everything done AND let him get adequate

**Curmudgeons' Corner**

Don't stop being curmudgeonly! Send in your complaints!

**Coming Soon**

We expect to receive two new etymological books in the near future and
will review them here. One is Lawrence Paros' "Bawdy Language", and the
other is Mark Morton, Ph.D.'s "The Lover's Tongue: A Merry Romp Through
the Language of Love and Sex". Dr. Morton is the author of one of our
other favorites, "Cupboard Love".

Does anyone notice a theme there?

**Next Issue**

We'll bring you a NOE next week, and a new issue of TOWFI on October 7.

Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike

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