put the lime in the coconut (fadedjae) wrote in steeltrap,
put the lime in the coconut

The Word Origin Calendar

Adirondack - According to the Mohawks, their neighbors and sometimes rivals, the Algonquin Indians who lived in the mountains of what is now northeastern New York, were such poor hunters that they had to eat tree bark in the winter. The Mohawk Hatirontak, meaning "tree-eater," gives us "Adirondack."

flimflam - Alas, life is full of con artists, whose very presence has led to the development of a whole vocabulary of words relating to cheating, swindling, lying, and betraying. A Viking would have been shamed not by being conned, though, but by being flimmed, made fun of in a way suggesting that perhaps he wasn't so tough after all. Flim entered into the language of the lowland Scots, who brought it to the American South, where "flimflam" was the slang equivalent of "bamboozle."

hangnail - A hangnail doesn't really hang. It does cause pain, however, which in Old English is ang, related to the German word angst. The word angnail originally applied only to a painful corn, then, amended to "hangnail," was used to describe the flap of skin that results from a misgrown fingernail.

manga - The Japanese word manga, mostly used to refer to a modern comic-book style of illustration, has roots in a phrase that means "a rambling or aimless picture" - in other words, a scribble. The noted nineteenth-century artist Hokusai used it to refer to his doodles, and the word took an approving turn. A manga turned into moving form is called an anime, a Japanese version of the word "animated."

absurd - Something "absurd" is so off the wall or outlandish that it's not to be taken seriously. Originally deriving from the Lain word surdus, "deaf," it meant "badly out of tune," and by extension, "senseless."
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