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Hello and welcome to this week's episode of Something Rhymes With Purple, and we thought we would devote this entire episode to your correspondence because, Charles, we get so many emails, don't we? And we are so grateful to everyone who sends them in.
We even managed to get a few Christmas cards and New Year's greetings, which is very nice indeed. Did you do lots of Christmas cards this year?
Do you know what I am? I really have to hang my head in shame because over the years I have become less and less harsh with that industrious about Christmas cards, which is really silly because I know they can mean a lot and they certainly mean a lot to me when I receive them.
But of course, if you don't send them, they don't receive that many. I used to just adorn the walls with strings of Christmas cards, but I'm afraid they're petering out and that's entirely my fault. How about you?
It's not your view. Are Christmas copies the way the world goes? I used to be a huge Christmas card person. When I was an MP. I sent out more than a thousand Christmas cards. What a mistake to make because when I ceased to be an MP, I thought, oh dear, do I have to keep on doing this to all the people and to gradually, as the years have gone by, I've sent out fewer and fewer. And now I find my wife says to me, send them to people who actually matter to you and also maybe people who are going to be on their own a Christmas and who would like to hear from somebody do that.
So I do those, but I don't do the general ones.
No, I have received a Christmas card in the past week, which was from somebody that I've done some work for, and it was dictated and signed up in his house and it took that one.
I think I used to get a Christmas card every year from Billy Graham. Do you know who I mean by Billy Graham? Like the great evangelist? Yes, but it wasn't addressed to me. It just came to our house because the people who lived in our house, not just the people before, but the people, before the people, before, they were obviously on the Billy Graham mailing list. But it was so exciting to get this Christmas card every year from Billy Graham.
I felt it was singing. No, no, it was just him. Gradually, as the years went by, there were fewer members of his family and he became older and quieter. But I felt it was almost like getting a card from Jesus himself on the great day. I felt that was quite exciting.
That sounds like that reminds me of the time when I was very new to Twitter and a bit of an engineer and very naive when I got a direct message from David Hasselhoff and I thought, that's it. I've made it.
And unfortunately it was in the David Hasselhoff Twitter account asking for me to promote something, and yet my eyes were opened after that.
I got a nice Christmas present. My friend, the Earl of Bradford. That's great. Next, Richard Bradford, restaurateur, writer, he sent me a copy of his book, State Secrets, and I opened it. And it begins with his favorite story of an American visitor visiting Longleat, which is the level only the house of the Marquis above the bath. And this American visitor is going to Longleat and inquires of a guard in the Great Hall. Is this where a loud bath holds his balls and dances?
And the other funny thing, I got a Christmas. I did get a Christmas card from Mike Plumb, who is a member of the Queen's English Society, and he knows of our love of language and he enclosed in it some amusing signs, notices that he picked up last year. And he is in a London department store. He says when he was able to go right at the beginning of last year, he saw this notice saying bargain basement now upstairs.
And he sent me a photograph of a repair shop front door, which had the sign handwritten inside the front door of this repair shop. We can repair anything. Brackets, please knock hard on the door. The bell doesn't work. But the letters, mostly correspondence we've been receiving has been stuff aimed at you because you are a scholar.
And did you just come from so many different places? I mean, just this week, this past week alone, we have heard from purple people in Melbourne, in Michigan, in New Westminster, in British Columbia, and as well as, you know, from people on our home soil in Devon, in the Scottish borders and Kalila in County Down say it's quite amazing, the reach. And I'm so proud of that.
In those very names that you mention, you give almost the history of the growth of the English language through the British Empire, because you mentioned Melbourne, which is in Australia and I imagine is named after Lord Melbourne, who was one of Queen Victoria's first prime ministers. And maybe when the city was being founded, it was named in honour of an English prime minister. There's now an Australian city and you mentioned New Westminster, that being in is that in Canada, British Columbia, British Columbia.
Now, Victoria, of course, named. That is not top of my bucket list, British Columbia. It is so beautiful, you never mean never been. I just have to do it. I just can't. Another way of saying so beautiful you never been.
How do you know? No, I think what I tell you, I've been watching a documentary series and some of it goes to British Columbia and it's just breathtaking. And more than that, it's just empty. Just really appealed to me, is living in quite an urban place.
It's the most beautiful part of the world in the world. Yeah. And when you get there, please go to school. OK, Victoria Island, go up to Squamish, have a picnic in Squamish and think of me.
OK, what a great name as well. Anyway, shall we get to some of our fantastic purple pink. I want you to cut the mustard. Very good. We have an email about that don't we. We do.
From a Mr Mustard. That's what I love is actually called Edward Mustard. You couldn't make it up. This is a character who has got character, flavour, edge, bite. He's hot. Is too hot. Mr Mustard. That really is his name. Ted Mustard. What is it from Salisbury who understandably says that the saying cuts the mustard always makes him wince for obvious reasons and he's wondering where it comes from. This really is explained by the fact that mustard, with all its kind of associations of piquancy and zest, has been used as a kind of byword for excellence for over a century.
And someone who is mustard was said to be what was sharp and accomplished on the ball.
They were hot stuff. You were joking about being hot, but that was pretty much the idea, as I say, of being really sort of zesty and keen as mustard draws on the same association. And to say something was the proper mustard in the early 20th century was to say it was the genuine article. And it's from there that cutting the mustard became in North America a way of describing something that was really up to scratch. And it's the cutting, I think, that confuses people and probably confuses Edward, understandably.
But if you think about phrases like cutting a fine figure to mean displaying a fine figure as if you've been cut from a beautiful piece of cloth and cut perfectly, it was just a more colourful way when you cut the mustard of saying that something shows a high standard. So, yeah, and it stands for cutting the mustard, I think sounds quintessentially British, you know. Do you remember an American episode? We talked about stiff upper lip as well for me, those to almost go together, but both of them, in fact, were North American in origin.
He mentions Edward Mustard in his email to us that the Latin for mustard is Sanabis. And he says that from that you get the German Senden. Yeah, you would know the Germans began up in Scandinavia. So he wants to know where mustard comes from. The word mustard. Mustard is the French, isn't it? Where does it come from?
And that is how it entered English. It was mustard in old French before they lost the S. And today, mutatis you say and it all goes back to the Latin Mostaghim, meaning must and Mustard was originally prepared with grape must, which is the juice of grapes during fermentation. So it was all down to that must that gave us mustard.
Very good. Can I ask you something about custard, mustard and custard. They rhyme and they did. And one is sweet and one is sharp. Are they connected in some way? You know, they're not connected.
It actually goes back to if you ever had crust starter in Italian cuisine or indeed custard in French, which is the crust of a tart. So actually it was originally the crust. But because a pie was served very often with some kind of delicious sauce, whether it was cream or some gorgeous concoction, the crust actually the crust part was then transferred over to the sauce.
And this happens a lot where something shifts. Do you remember my talking about treacle treacle originally being the antidote to a poisonous bite? But actually, right at the beginning, it was the very venom from a poisonous snake, but the antidote was syrupy and sugary and the treacle that taken was then transferred over to what you had to protect yourself against the poison, if you like. So things shift in English all the time. They get transferred from one thing to another.
And that's what happened with custard. But it was all about the crust originally.
Are you a mustard girl? Do you like a little bit of mustard? If I had this conversation with Nick, you were on Countdown the other day.
We were talking about German mustard, which unfortunately much style of German food is really quite mild. I'm not a great fan of German mustard. I think English mustard is the hottest because dijo is not very hot French mustard, is it? And American mustard is very, very yellow and again, quite mild. I think if I remember rightly from the days where I used to eat meat, I'm such a mustard holic.
I even went on a mustard holiday. We did we went around kind of collecting mustard and we ended up in DeJohn where literally every other shop is a mustard shop. But you're right, by the end of it, we thought this is really a bit too mild. It's it was mild and mellow and delicious. But one needs that. You want something bite. You do want a bit of bad shit in my stomach.
Then, by the way, it was responding to the idea of lots of mustard. Personally, I wish I could control my stomach, but I can't. I'm afraid that my Boricuas is going to be accompanying us throughout this particular.
If we're talking about mustard, it's music to my ears. Let's move on to the next letter, which comes from somebody called Couston Grove right now, whenever nowadays I see a double barrel sunim. In the old days, it used to indicate somebody who was a bit posh. Now I think it's people whose parents, my children have done this. For example, some of my grandchildren are called Brandreth Stroud, my daughter's name and her husband's name. They put them together.
And a lot of people do this.
So that's what double barrel is usually, isn't it? Or is it? I don't know. I always thought so. I don't know. What was your mother's maiden name? Marchant.
So you would be. Oh, that's very grand Marshal Dent. Yes, that's not really very grand. Tummy is rumbling beltrame, but it's that a marching band marches back to the front for shopkeepers. So I don't recall. As in Marcha. Yeah, but yes. How about how about yours?
My mother's maiden name was Adderson. Awilda. I know it's nice. And actually Addisons a much easier name than Brandreth.
What because they are letting you get branded already now anyway. You know Kurstin is asking is that something I mentioned treacle and poison and this is not too unrelated.
She has a question about the word potion and the Irish pitchin, I think. Are these two words linked or do they just sound similar. Thank you Kurstin for that. They aren't at all related. Have you ever had pitchin is kind of illicitly made alcohol isn't it. And I think it often made from potatoes.
Sorry said it is the stereotype of Ireland.
When I was going on my mustard holiday I was going on it. But you know, they didn't tell me I was. And I mainly centered around the county cork because my wife has a lot of family from County Cork. I was going to say they were all nuns. They weren't all nuns. All the aunties were nuns. The uncle, some of them were killed. There was one who was neither a nun or a priest from whom my wife is descended.
And we toured county court. We went to these this is what, fifty years ago we went to these extraordinary bars, pubs, but weren't like an English pub with sort of lots of wooden chairs and crackling fires. They were much more, well, almost like a butcher shop. They were clinical and clean. And there was a slab, cold slab of marble on which the protein was served. It was a serious business. You went in there to drink your protein, which is spelt in a funny way, isn't it?
How's the Irish word spelt, Kirsten?
It's about a hippo, ITN. And it's I think it's listed in the dictionary because it comes up on Countdown sometimes end, but I'm assuming there are lots of different spellings of it to start with potion that actually meant poison. Originally it goes back to pottery, meaning to drink. So it was the action of drinking, but it was particularly associated with healing or magical or poisonous drinks, and particularly for a while to unorthodox or quack kind of medicines. So it didn't start off particularly well.
But then, of course, the idea from poetry and Shakespeare of love potions such as Midsummer Night's Dream, etc., those kind of came on board and a patient became something much more magical rather than anything that was just illicit or downright fraudulent.
And pitchin or putting it simply means small pot, particularly the small pot that was meant to make this illicit whisky or that you think, is it very, very strong?
I don't remember, to be honest. I don't remember. It was all to be honest, none of the drinks I liked, we had a lot of Guinness. I do.
I love Guinness. Do you? But you have to drink it in Dublin for me.
Yeah, it taste very different. That's always what people say, isn't it?
I love Guinness, but the trouble with drinking beer and I no longer drink, but I do remember when I did drink is you have to drink so much. You know, a pint is a vast amount of liquid to consume.
You can have a half pint of Guinness, but you do look a bit of a whisky. You're not going to go into an Irish bar and say, well, I have half of Guinness, if you don't mind. Certainly, no, we'll go Brandreth ridiculous name. OK, thank you for that indeed. Kirsten Christopher Scott has been in touch. I know I've always been confused about spendthrift. Does it mean someone who spends or someone who's thrifty. It's the former of course someone.
Whose profligate, a spendthrift. But why combine two words of opposite meaning? Are there other examples? And is that a term for words that are constructed in this way? Or you could write a book on this very short email. Thank you, Christopher Scott. So spendthrift. What is the origin? How they come together? What's it all about?
Well, you have to go through the story of thrift, which back in the 14th century meant something very different, and that was prosperity and good fortune. And it's rooted in the language of Old Norse, which was coarse, was brought over by Viking invaders. And the best way to remember it in terms of its etymology is a sibling of thrive. So if you thrive, then you are prosperous, I suppose. And from that sense of wealth grew a whole subset of meanings that related to economical management, careful expenditure of that same good fortune.
And it was human nature probably that shifted that sense of frugality to one of meanness and being penny pinching and so thrifty, which had originally meant wealthy and flourishing, shifted to mean good or careful with money and eventually frugal and the earliest sense of thrift, you know of that that idea of wealth and prosperity explains the meaning of spendthrift because it was somebody who spent their wealth typically in a way that was foolish and extravagant and wasteful. And so spendthrifts ultimately may be forced to frequent thrift shops and those selling secondhand goods.
So it's very much an example of how English has evolved over the years to mean something that's almost the opposite of how it you know, how it began. And there are so many examples of that in English.
Thank you, Christopher Scott, for getting a touch that, if I may say so, didn't Scott. These are good surnames. Simple when booking a table at a restaurant. If you're allowed to go to one, you say the name is Scott. We will know where you are. Who's the most famous Scott you ever met? Not the person from Scotland, but because I feel I haven't done a name drop and say I've got a I've got to raise my name dropping.
I've seen Kristin Scott Thomas from afar, but I didn't actually meet her is huge and remain a huge fan of hers. I don't know if I've met a famous Scott, but this is a regular drum roll.
Well, I've known a lot of great Scots, including Christians, go to the Antarctic. Well, sadly, his son Peter Sir Peter Scott I did when I visited him at Stembridge in order to persuade him to open a similar wildfowl and wetland centre in London, Britain, which he did. And he was a most delightful person. I think the most unlikely, Scott, that I've ever sat with. And I did travel once on the Eurostar from Paris to London with Kristin Scott Thomas.
Yeah, exactly. I was sitting next to her, but at a dinner once I was sitting next to a man, he was clearly bored with me and I wasn't really getting very far with him, but we were stuck next to each other at dinner. So he was going to speak at the dinner. As when I was speaking. I said to myself, Why are you here? What what's your claim to fame? And he said, I don't know.
I was going to the moon or going to the moon. And it turned out this was an astronaut called David Scott. And the trouble is, unless you were one of the first three people on that original and only two of them actually stood on the moon, the rest of them have been forgotten. And he is one of the forgotten men who went to the moon, David Scott. So they were surprised.
You don't do it for public accolades. You must do it for that sense of curiosity and adventure that you have yourself. I mean, of course, it would be lovely to be recognized, but I imagine the impetus isn't fame.
No. Oh, no, I think not. I mean, he was a remarkable man, though. I think maybe he was interested in some elements of fame because he he got into a little bit of trouble because I think what he was up there, you taken with him some stamps and he had a kind of John Printing said and he tried to stamp the stamps with the moon, the moon, the moon, and brought them back to Earth. And I don't think they approved of that little bit of private enterprise trying to, you know, have stamps, Frank, on the moon.
And and he was a bit resentful, to be honest. I mean, this is a long time ago since I was with him. And he was telling me how he rather resented the fact that people had been to the moon, had been allowed to bring back souvenirs, but they'd been given away that they belong to the American government. So they brought back some moon dust and some moon rocks, and he wasn't allowed to keep any of them. But the next thing he knew, the pope had been given a bit of the moon to have with the Vatican.
He thought, why can't I have a bit of the moon in my sitting room?
Anyway, the just very quickly to finish this off, I have met Chris Hadfield, who is one of my absolute he's only used the word hero, but he is just the most extraordinary man.
Canadian astronaut, he's just so humble, has taken the most amazing photographs, but also just wonderful videos, I might have mentioned them before, but from the space station, he is showing kids, for example, how you shave and what happens to the bristles on your chin. And it's just it's just extraordinary. He's a great man.
Well, what happened to the Brazil's undertaken, by the way, if I remember, they have to be kind of hoovered up. So there's like a little suction thing that goes around as you shave. It kind of gets sucked up because otherwise they will just go up people's nostrils and just circulate in the air. Likewise with haircuts, it's is quite complicated, but very fun.
Chris, first Luttmann, I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly. Chris has said that he saw on social media recently the origins of the word punter's and he's wondering if it's true. That always makes me tremble a little bit because I always expected folk etymology coming up. But let's say it says the spectators at Brooklands in the 1930s and he's attached to photograph have managed to take their boats or pants under the bridge on the river way to view the circuit action. By doing it this way, they avoided paying to get in a man known as the punters, the origin of the expression.
It's a great photograph, actually.
Yes, he said this is marvelous period. Photograph of clearly a group of people, some blokes and some girls as well, standing on punts on the canal or the river, looking up at the Brooklands racecourse. So there they are in the 1930s on the river way, actually below the bridge. But looking up at the racecourse, they are on punts. They are punters. Are they the people who gave us the name punters for people to go to a show?
Oh, Charles, I hate to do this.
I always do this. I am the person you don't want at the party because I will always burst the balloons. And I'm just about to unfortunately, we think we think it goes back to a French verb. Ponty, you will find it in pontoon, for example, because it refers to games of cards laying a steak against the bank that ultimately is from a French of a pond, which means to kind of multiply. So it's all about the kind of monetary value of this.
But it was influenced, we think, by a rugby punt, which is a kick given to the ball, which is dropped from the hands before it reaches the ground. You find it in American football as well. So taking a punt is almost like sort of taking that risk because it's quite a risky manoeuvre. We're going to the ins and outs of it because I'm not massively ofay with either rugby or American football much I'd love to be, but we don't think it goes back to the punt of boats and it all goes back to laying a stake in gambling and thereby undertaking a bit of a risk.
So let's be clear about this. Taking a punt as an expression, taking a risk. I'm going to take a punt on. Yes, that goes back not to rugby, but before rugby, even to finance to a financial risk of financial risk. Exactly. That's what taking a punt is. Yeah. And then taking a punt. Actually, I'm going on the river in my punt. That is to do with a pontoon. You can have a pontoon that's a group of pumps is a pontoons that they can form a pontoon to get across the river.
It's the kind of boat you propeller with the long pole from the Latin ponto, which meant a flat bottomed ferry boat that gives this the pontoon, not the card game, but the vessel that's used to support a temporary bridge or a landing stage.
So the that's a bet is much later. And that goes back from the French punt, meaning a point or a stake. And punter person who gambles is from that word today. We might use it much more loosely to mean a customer or a client, but it goes back to that idea of playing a card game and taking that kind of risk. And the pilots, meaning a long kick in rugby, actually goes back to a completely different words.
This is why it's so confusing. It's it's a local dialect word around rugby school, actually, the home of rugby, meaning to push or kick. But that idea of taking a chance and a drop kick, if you like, reinforced the Ponting taking a gamble that we have today.
This is the joy of language. We could go both of these four letter word be unde and it could take us all sorts of places. Well, let's not get into the rhyming slang now, but that's marvellous. What's your favorite card game trumps? Oh, I like Trumps and knock out West. How about you? Well, I like Bon-Ton and I used to play, I used to play bridge quite seriously, but now it's snap with the grandchildren.
Oh. And a lot and alarmingly they're beating me a snap. I'm being beaten at snap. It's come to this.
It's a young person's game because you just have to have such quick reflexes. Thank you. Thank you for that. Would be exactly the same as that. And it's the same for memory games. You know, when you play pairs, when you put out all those huge number of different cards that are kind of in pairs, but they're all in different places, I promise you. Five year olds have got that down to a tee, and the older you get, the worse your memory becomes.
I have discovered this myself. You call that pear's. Do I call that Pelman ism that the same game where you lay out the whole pack of cards and you try to then you pick them up and if you get to the same, you can take them and the person who ends up with most of them?
Absolutely. I've never heard of that. So this comes from the Pelman Institute for the Scientific Development of Mind, Memory and Personality, which is in London. I've never heard of Pulman isn't all very well.
It occasionally listeners, and that's why it's worth staying tuned occasionally. I know a word that Susie doesn't doesn't. We both know the word skyscraper. Malcolm Whitehead has been in touch because he wants to know more about it. Knowing the 1789 Epsom Derby winner was called Skyscraper, where did the name originate as they, I assume, had not been built at that time? Skyscraper. I love this because all of us today, I would I would say, knows only one meaning of skyscraper, which is obviously very, very tall building that looks like it's touching the sky.
But actually, if you look through a historical dictionary, you will find so many different definitions of this. And that explains the Epsom Derby winner, because at that time, this is the seventeen eighties, a skyscraper with a triangular sky sale and a sky sale was a light sale that was set about the royal sale on a square rigged ship. So that was the very earliest meaning of skyscraper. But then not too long after a decade after, it could be a very tall hat or a bullet that was also called a skyscraper.
Likewise, a tall horse, a tall story as in an exaggerated story or a rider of a penny farthing, which I love. And it was only really in, I think, the surrounding 1888 that you get the first record of the skyscraper buildings, the ones that are very tall and have many, many different floors. And most of those were built in the US, weren't they? Especially in Chicago and New York following the development of the elevator.
So that accounts for that skyscraper. It had a long life well before that over a century or more.
We've got time for just one more before we take our break. Galavanting Tony Orme. Yeah. He wants you to tell him the origin of galavanting. My family use it a lot when I was young. I don't hear so much these days. It appeared in the new Jeffrey Archer book I'm currently reading. Thank you. In anticipation. Best regards, Tony. Well, we know he likes a rattling good yarn. Can you give him a rattling, good definition of galavanting and where it came from?
Yes, we think it's just a playful variation on Gerland and to Gerland as a verb once meant to go to court, a woman to use kind of old fashioned term. So sort of to to go in pursuit of amorous pleasure and be galavanting originally was all about romance rather than just, you know, wondering about being sort of up to no good or being up to mischief or whatever. But of course, we now talk about a girl and being a swayne, if you like, a man who would sort of go about seducing women and both of those words, galavanting ungallant, go back to the French gallie, which meant to rejoice and to have fun.
And that, of course, also gave this escala rejoice.
This is a God, a tradition of something rhymes with purple devoted to you. The purple people are listeners. We're so grateful to you and we're grateful to the people like to be part of our show with little ads now and again. So thank you to them for helping us along the way. Let's take a quick break. Also from something else, Katie Piper's extraordinary people with me, Katie Piper. Every episode I'm joined by a guest who tells their incredible and inspirational story, revealing how they face diversity and come through the other side, including Great British Bake Off Judge Greenleaf.
I mean, when my first husband died, I think the next two years were the worst two years of my life because I really loved him deeply. And he died about 18 years ago now. But what kept me going was that I had all this world that was nothing to do with him.
Do you think independence is key to resilience? Yes.
The degree of independence, I think to put all your eggs in one basket is dangerous because it's just, you know, it's just so awful when you're left on your own.
You can find a link to this particular interview in the episode nights of the show.
You're listening to Subscribe Now, an app or podcast, Spotify Arava.
You get your podcasts. This is something rhymes with purple. I'm James Brown, I'm with my friends to see that we're not actually together in the same room. She's in Oxford, England. I'm in London, England, but we're talking to the world. And our last listener, Tony Omn, who was inquiring about the origin of galavanting, told us that he is reading the latest. Jeffrey Archer, Jeffrey Archer is world famous, actually is widely read in all the places where they listen to our podcast, particularly in India.
He's one of the most popular authors in India. I'm an old friend of Jeffrey Archer. I've known him since I was 10 years of age because at my boarding school when I was 10, Jeffrey Archer came along. He was about 18 at the time and taught us running. He ran actually of England, as he says, not quite fast enough. And he's an extraordinary character, but his novels are very popular all around the world. And he showed me this picture taken of him in India on his last book signing there.
And there were literally exaggerate. Not ten thousand people in the crowd. I mean, you could see ten thousand people hugely popular because he was a member of parliament briefly. He was also a conservative peer, came from the world of politics. Still takes an interest in politics. I'd say he's a sort of middle of the road conservative. But do you think of conservatives being on the right and liberal people being on the left? And our next question is, is all about that.
And it's somebody who's asking us why we associate liberals with the left and conservatives with the right. I mean, do you know the answer? Should I let you into a secret here? Yes. That's somebody you are looking at right now because it was me.
I was you. I just thought it'd be quite a nice one to put in. Yes. Because I realize to my shame, I've never actually questioned us talking about the far left, the far right, etc. I've never actually thought, hang on, why the left and the right? And I've spent years talking about how the left was unlucky and the right was associated with good luck and skill and all of that stuff. But I've never talked about the political left and right.
I know this one.
No, I don't. I can I say how sweet it is, purple, poor people that we have Susie Dent herself actually emailing us and at something else, dot com sending in this anonymous enquiry. It's all it's all I've got on my screen is the next question is related to politics. But anyway, so I think it's very sweet that you've written into us in order to share the answer and have you now you're giving yourself time to find out the answer, I suppose.
Well, no, I did some investigating and it's so simple, but I just didn't think about it. So most of us know that the left refers to people and groups generally have more liberal views, support kind of progressive reforms, social and economic equality, etc.. Far left is more extreme revolutionary views. Right. Generally, people who have conservative with a small C views more disposed to preserving existing conditions, etc., far right, more extreme nationalistic viewpoints, fascism, etc.
. And we have the left wing and the right wing. And actually they do have everything to do with the physical directions left and right. And it goes back to the teaching positions in the 1789 French National Assembly, said the Parliament, and it was the parliament that France formed after the French Revolution.
So relative to the president of this assembly to his right, and it was a he was seated nobility and more high ranking religious leaders to the left were commoners and less powerful clergy. The right hand side was called Look at the Door, which became associated with more reactionary views and then eventually came into English, not just the right side, but the right wing. And look at their goosh. The left hand side became more associated with more radical views. So left and right, this political agit is recorded in English in about the 1790 and towards the center, the teaching positions in the French National Assembly closest to the centre became then associated with less extreme views.
But it all goes back to that French National Assembly.
Very good. It's not. Mazess is amazing. Well, thank you for answering your own question. Now I know that we can all be in touch with purple at something else dot com and it's something without a G. I shall start sending anonymous enquiries to please do. Yeah. Do you know, for example, Susie didn't want zaftig means z a f i g is one of my father's favorite words.
Well it's kind of so I didn't know your father said please don't take this the wrong way, but it goes back to the German for Deucy and quite often it was applied was fairly sexist potentially because it was applied to kind of well-endowed women. So I'm sure that's not how your father was used. I felt it probably was.
You've got to remember, he was born in 1910, so he was virtually an Edwardian and also a. All of the pre-war generation association with Germany was much closer to people who had gone horribly there. I'm right in saying in earlier times, and he would in the 1920s and 30s, he went on holiday to Germany and he would come back and he would describe somebody as a zaftig, which I think means desirably plump and curvaceous, buxom, really.
I think it would be our nearest Internet, which is meant to be a compliment.
Well, sort of I would say definitely use it carefully these days because I think it's got other connotation, as I'm sure you wouldn't.
I wouldn't use it at all. I was just trying to test you. And you are not found wanting. Oh, we've got more letters. Recapitulate, dear Suzy. And yes, my father Bob Goff writes, Capitulate means surrender. Recapitulated means summarize. Can you explain? Please ask Amanda.
Can you say this is going to be a little bit like puns in that we're not talking about words with entirely different derivations at all? They are relatives, but both of them have gone in completely different directions. So Capitulate goes back to a Latin word that came into old English, meaning to summarize and in an extension of that meaning, it came to mean to arrange things into chapters. And actually curriculum in Latin also gave us the word chapter and somehow arranging things into chapters led to another extension of the meaning to kind of organize things and to arrange conditions.
And to do that, you might need to hold an assembly and come to some kind of agreement, some to stipulate something in an agreement. In the 16th century, people started to use capitulates to talk about drawing up terms and conditions and agreements. And then in a bit of a twist, it referred to surrendering. And the connection there is when you surrender, you usually write up or agree to terms for that surrender.
That was the idea behind it, that you would come to some kind of formal agreement that you are ceding power to somebody else. Recapitulate didn't go through that same evolution and it kept closer to the earlier summarize, meaning arranging into chapters and that kind of thing with the rebates added to give you the sense of going through something a second time to make that kind of summary. So it's kind of going back over something.
So that's how it worked was all really to do with organization. But because the idea was that when you surrender, you need to create some kind of new structure that it took on that term is quite confusing. And again, a good example of how English can make these giant leaps that seem quite an odd evolutionary development. But there is a kernel of the original still there.
We're making a giant leap now to Drom Field. Woodhouse and Darbyshire Bob mentioned has been in touch. I was wondering if Susie would be interested in expanding the background, the meaning of royalties in regard to the payment of fees due to the like, such as herself and author and musicians. Did it somehow relate back to payments made to the monarchy in days gone past?
Yes, Bob often writes to count down actually as well. So he's a very loyal listener. Bob, thank you. Yes, it's absolutely that. So in the 15th century, royalty meant very simply what it does now, the office or position of a sovereign, and it comes from the Latin regardless, which will sell itself.
But the sense of prerogatives or rights granted by a sovereign to an individual began to emerge in the six hundred. So it wasn't so much about money going to the king, but money is granted by the king or the queen.
And from that evolved more general senses such as a payment to a landowner for use of land or something else, and then ultimately payment to an author, composer, etc. for sale of their work. So it's just an extension of that idea of, I guess, rights that have been granted, whether or not by a sovereign and the monies that then come from that.
Do you remember a musical that called Flanders and Swan? When I was a boy? They were, yes. They were delightful. People will remember them of an older generation for songs like Mud Made Glorious Mud, nothing quite like it for Cooling the Blood, very entertaining people. And I was lucky enough to know both Michael Plunders and Donald Swan. And they did a riff on the lovely song Greensleeves, the Melody Greens, which traditionally it's assumed was written composed by King Henry the Eighth.
Yeah. And whenever they played this Greensleeves, they would always say at the end of it and the royalties will go to royalty, which is a nice.
And so now I didn't know it was supposed to have been written by him. I always thought it was in his court. I've always associated it.
It is associated with his court. But for years people said it was. By him, I mean, they were just talking up the sovereign, I think, yet despite his awful behavior with with his wives, he was tall, he was elegant, he was educated, and he was a keen footballer as well. Yeah. There was a wonderful television series with him about him when I was young trying to think of play the ball. Was it Edward Woodward who played the part of Andrea Yates in that TV series?
Well, if you know anything, feel free to tweet us. Went on Twitter with us and you can always get in touch. It's purple at something else. Dot com. That's it. I was just a just as I was saying that for some reason it always makes my youngest laugh.
And I do apologize if any Woodward is listening, but Edward Woodward just makes hello Edward Woodward in such a cruel choice, but then instantly memorable.
So maybe not so cool. We have one more question, I think. Yes. What is it? Which is from Sarah in Surrey, we think. And she says, I wondered if you might be able to explain the derivation of the word haha as in the ditch, which is used an invisible barrier to keep livestock safely in their fields. I grew up in Woolwich or near Woolwich in southeast London and across Woolwich. Common is the har har road, and thus it's a term I have pretty much always known.
I now live in a house in Canberra haha at the bottom of the garden and would like to know where it came about. Well it is said to be simply from the cry of surprise on suddenly encountering an obstacle. So as I say, it's usually a ditch with a wall on its innosight below ground level, and it says that it forms a boundary. But the idea is that it doesn't interrupt the view. But if you stumble across hahaha, apparently you might then go, ha ha ha.
Dick Smith job. And I'm sticking with that one. That's hilarious. Already people are tweeting us about Henry the Eighth and that 1970 television series. They're going up, you know, nothing. Edward Woodward, in fact, somebody from Melbourne, Australia has been in touch to say it was, of course, Keith Michelle, Australian television and movies. But I do remember seeing him as an Aussie and I thought he was completely Marlin's good. Thank you, everybody, for sending in those questions and queries.
We'll do another episode like this in a few months time. We do a fresh episode every week. We simply celebrate the English language. And Susie, who knows everything, will just give you all the answers you need. And if she doesn't know everything, she'll ask me and then we'll share the answers with you. Have you got a trio of worlds to start us off this New Year? Three interesting words, real words that appear in a dictionary somewhere that you think we should bring into our vocabulary.
And do you have a trick or a tip to give us how people can increase their work?
Well, if you want a list of them, I hate doing this. I'm terrible at Flower Necking, which is actually one of my trio words for today to flower neck is to vulgarly flaunt something which I'm about to do. But there are quite a lot of the words that I mentioned on something most people in my book WordPerfect. So that's one way. But the best way I would suggest is thinking of a very specific context that you can apply it to.
They're not just reading the definition, but actually embedding that definition in your brain by applying it to your own experience or to if it's an adjective about an individual applying it to a particular person and then just repetition. You write it down, have a little book. I've got loads of little notebooks, which I find better than typing into a onto a screen. Just writing it down physically really helps.
I think there's some research that shows if you write it physically, you will remember it better than if you type it out. Yeah. Okay. What are your three words to start the year with them. Okay, well I've given you one.
Let this not be a year of flower necking flower making an old verb, as I say, meaning to flaunt ostentatiously whether it's success was any. It's just showing off basically. I think we've had enough of that. Jan is actually one of my trio because we're in January and it has a lovely origin, which you will know, Charles, I'm sure it is the month of Janus, Janus being the Roman God. He presided over doors and new beginnings, and he was always depicted as having two faces, one that looks back and one that looks ahead to the future, which I just think is beautiful.
It gave us the word Janetta as well, but he was the keeper of doorways. And let's hope that he is presiding over a better year this year. And my final one is Roger Tatian. And to Roger Tate, you might remember this one, Charles, is to ask the same question over and over again whether it's can I have a quality street or are we there yet? Or any of those similar questions that is Roger dating. So, again, I think I think we've had enough of that for a while.
A terrific trio to start the year. And I've got a poem to start the it's by Jackie. The Scottish poet laureate, oh, she's brilliant, she's brilliant, and this is really a toast to all of us at the beginning of a new year. Remember the time of year when the future appears like a blank sheet of paper, a clean calendar, a new chance on thick white snow. You vow fresh footprints, then watch them go with the winds hearty.
Just fill your glass. Is Tarsa promises made to be broken made to last? I love Jackie Kelly.
Excellent. Thank you for that. Thank you so much to you for listening. And it's the start of another year and we're so happy and lucky to have you with us and on board as just as do always get in touch. We would love that. Something which is purple, as always. Is there something else? Production. It was produced by Lawrence Bassett with additional production from Harriet Wells, Steve Akerman, Ella McCloud, Bill, and the person that we hope to see a bit more of this year.
Oh, golly, golly. Jolly good. Got a gun drops.