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The language of life; Enduring words & phrases that were born in books.

Byline: ROD McPHEE

GEORGE Orwell's classic 1984 is just one of the fantastic Penguin titles on offer to celebrate the Irish Mirror book club.

These days his words conjure up images from a reality TV show, but Big Brother was actually a character from the novel. It also gave us phrases like "thought crimes" and "Room 101".

Here are some other modern-day words and sayings born from books:

NERD

Used today to describe a geek or a loner, nerd was first printed in 1950 in If I Ran the Zoo by Dr Seuss. The nerd in question was a strange little zoo creature.

YAHOO

Known as an online search engine, or an expression of triumph, yahoo was first used in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels in 1726. The Yahoo were a Neanderthal-like race of hairy creatures.

BUSY AS A BEE

A phrase coined in The Squire's Tale, from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, circa 1400, it described how efficient women were at deceiving men.

A LEOPARD NEVER CHANGES ITS SPOTS

This is from The Book of Jeremiah in the Bible, which reads: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to doing evil."

SWAGGER

More likely now to be used to describe the gait of one of the Gallagher brothers, the origins of this word hark back to the 1590 when William Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream.

GARGANTUAN

The word actually refers to a character from Gargantua and Pantagruel, a 16th-century tale by Francois Rabelais about a giant and his son.

I'LL BE THERE WITH BELLS ON

First printed by F Scott Fitzgerald in his 1922 book The Beautiful And Damned, it refers to the gala tradition of wearing bells to attend a great event.

CHORTLE

Like bromance, this word is union of two others. Chortle was first used by Lewis Carroll in his 1865 children's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. A mixture of chuckle and snort, it is a giddy kind of laugh.

rod.mcphee@trinitymirror.com
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 11, 2013
Words:339
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