Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

22

Yes, I use it and so do many people that I know. Nowadays it usually comes in the idiom A bit of a palaver, which refers to an argument. Usually an argument involving more than two people. I suspect that nowadays its use amongst younger people is dying out but it is used by my fellow Britons in our decrepitude.


16

They are generally referred to as guardian statues. One of the most popular types is guardian lions. For example, Chinese guardian lions ("Foo Dogs") are well-known and it is mentioned that they share symbolism with Staffordshire dogs: While Staffordshire dogs originated in 19th-century England, like foo dogs they were used as symbols of protection and ...


14

From the book Anesthesia in Cosmetic Surgery, edited by Barry Friedberg (Publisher: Cambridge University Press): Prior to the late 1800s, one could get drunk or literally bite the bullet, neither of which had any effect on pain. An interesting article appeared about a .50 caliber bullet found at the site of the Battle of Ox Hill. The 21st Massachusetts ...


12

This is a very commonly used word in the West of Scotland (Glasgow etc.). We use to mean a disturbance - usually about something inconsequential. So you might say, "there was a big palaver on the bus when the inspector came on and some guy couldn't find his ticket". It is marginally colloquial (I don't think a police officer would use it in court, "we were ...


12

From etymonline.com: To bite the bullet is said to be 1700s military slang, from old medical custom of having the patient bite a lead bullet during an operation to divert attention from pain and reduce screaming. Figurative use from 1891; the custom itself attested from 1840s.


8

Biting down or clenching the teeth is a common involuntary reaction to pain. Modern day mouth guards are designed around the same principles. The lead bullet would prevent the patient from: Breaking his own teeth during constriction of the jaw muscles Damaging the jaw muscles from cramping or spasming Biting off his own tongue if it got between the teeth ...


5

From time immemorial, whenever the specific descriptor becomes common or dominant enough, the more general descriptor can be elided without confusion: 21st century Facebook [account] 20th century Jello [gelatin] 19th century Levi [jean]s 18th century Fahrenheit [scale] 17th century mansard [roof] 16th century china [dishes]


5

Palaver is mildly pejorative. It's often used to mean idle chat that's leading nowhere, too much talk and not enough action; sometimes it refers to talk that is intended to distract attention from the issue at hand. I hear it used now and then, as a noun. The ngram. Here's my planetary location on the Dictionary of American Regional English map (they ...


4

It's basically used to describe an informal chat. Depending on your intonation, you could be stressing the irrelevance of the topic of discussion (e.g. when something more important should've been addressed, or you found the topic of discussion a waste of time), or you could be stressing you just talked for hours on end with a friend. It's not just an ...


3

This is basically lifted from the German Wikipedia entry -- the term is not that uncommon in German, though with negative connotations. The word has its origins in Greek (παραβολή), and from there was adapted by Latin (parabola), Portuguese (palavra), and eventually, English. The general meaning is "idle talk". In many African cultures, this is ...


3

The euphoric celebration of the inaugural ball quickly gives way to the hard work of governing a passionately diverse nation.


2

My guess is that it comes from the soup with alphabet-shaped pasta in it, Alphabet Soup. As Wikipedia says: Alphabet pasta, also referred to as Alfabeto, Alphaghetti or Alphabetti Spaghetti, is pasta that has been mechanically cut or pressed into the letters of an alphabet. It is often served in an alphabet soup, sold in a can of condensed broth. Another ...


1

In Finnish palaveri, not very surprisingly derived from the English palaver, is widely used as a somewhat informal synonym for a meeting, and I believe the Danish have derivation of it too. I personally notice it from time to time being used by some Scandinavian people when they discuss in English, likely because of the familiar word in their mother tongue. ...


1

I'm from Chicago, since you ask, but have lived all over the US. I've never had occasion to use it myself, but I've seen it a lot in writing, particularly in the work of nineteenth century English explorer Richard Francis Burton. As someone has mentioned, it is rather pejorative, has racist overtones, and in almost every use I've seen, is used to describe ...


1

The only place I have ever seen that word used in the wild (before this question) is in Prime Palaver, a series of published correspondence and essays from Eric Flint, in his capacity as "librarian" of the Baen Free Library. So yes, somebody uses it. Eric Flint uses it. As for biographical info, I believe he grew up in California, but has lived the last few ...


1

My try in ELL terms: "After being elected, a president will feel like he can do anything for a short time. But the pressure of being under constant watch from the press and attacks from publicly elected political enemies will take their toll and bring him back to reality: he's got less power than he hoped for."


1

This particular set of examples are due to brand culture. Brand culture is fairly new (mostly because brands as we know them didn't exist in the past and the presence of many makers made the use of brand names unfeasible), though not exactly brand new. Example: the swords made by Gorō Masamune, c.1264–1343 AD, were known by his name and an indicator of which ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible