Mind Your Language

living with

Why must we ‘live with’ coronavirus?

October 14, 2020 2:27 pm

Living with is a phrasal verb first applied, in the 17th century, to spouses

sex worker

The Sex Worker of Babylon

August 10, 2020 8:57 am

The first usage of the term dates back to the New York Times in 1971

gaslight

Can you gaslight a whole minority?

June 18, 2020 11:27 am

I fear gaslight is dangerously close to meaning ‘disagree with us’ or ‘suggest that we are mistaken’

odd

How ‘odd’ became normal

June 6, 2020 11:12 am

Odd is Scandinavian in origin, Viking if you like

furlough

How ‘furlough’ became mainstream

April 24, 2020 6:05 pm

Ben Jonson spelt it vorloff in recognition of its Dutch origin

elbow

What do elbows have to do with fighting coronavirus?

April 12, 2020 10:39 am

Digging up reliable etymologies takes a lot of elbow grease

reset

The link between politics and moisturizer

January 25, 2020 2:19 pm

With some surprise I found reset has been in use since the early 17th century

whilst

The origins of ‘whilst’

December 7, 2019 9:51 am

It started off by displaying what is called the adverbial genitive

dog

How to define a dog

October 12, 2019 4:35 pm

The variousness of dogs has ever been a leitmotif of dictionary discussions