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

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The Word Origin Calendar

formula - In Latin, forma means "a customary practice" or, in a religious context, " a ritual," something that has to be observed the same way each and every time. "Formula," literally a "little forma," first meant a ritual quickly performed, such as bowing at the door to the household gods. Eventually it came to mean a procedure of any kind, then a rule for arriving at an answer.

scot-free - In medieval England, a scot was a special tax imposed by the sheriff, usually to meet his salary and payroll. To go "scot-free" meant to avoid paying taxed, a privilege normally available only to the rich and powerful.

miracle - At heart, a "miracle," from the Latin miraculum, is something to gaze upon in wonder, relating to vision words such as "mirror" and "mirage." It translates the New Testament Greek word semion, meaning "sign," as in a portent of divine power.

nitty-gritty - A nit is the egg of a louse, and the grit is a corn kernel that has been boiled, dried, and turned into a meal. A nit in such surroundings would be a tiny thing among tiny things, the origin of this rural African American expression meaning something like "the most essential details" or "the most basic facts of the matter," as in the jazz musicians' phrase, "Let's get down to the nitty-gritty."
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