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Orwell: "A glimmer [is] one who watches vacant motor-cars." What does this mean?

However, in chapter XXXIII of Down and Out in London and Paris, Paddy earns a few extra shillings through glimming, which is referred to as a precarious job because it is illegal. Watching a car to ...
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When and why did the words "would" and "should" swap meanings?

Around a century or so ago when more and more people stopped using them correctly, largely blamed on Americans and the advent of American talkies, resulting in a change in grammar to make the way ...
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What could "mucka doozy" mean and where does it come from?

Mucka just means Big. i think it comes from a brand of marbles that was sold in Newburyport. "Mucka Marbles" and they were just bigger than the regular marbles
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Who first objected to the term "chain mail"?

Here's another really major point that gets left out of debates: Obviously, chainmail is a modern term, but do you know what else when referring to the middle ages are modern terms? armor, helmet, ...
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"solder" and "salve" phonetics between AmE and BrE

TLDR: Middle English spelling shows that the /l/ in solder was not pronounced in Middle English. But early pronouncing dictionaries show that circa 1800, it had started being pronounced in England but ...
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"solder" and "salve" phonetics between AmE and BrE

As requested, here is the OED entry from my 2nd Ed on CD-ROM c1485 E.E. Misc. (Warton Cl.) 82 To make sowder of tynne. 1513 Douglas Æneid viii. vii. 140 Thai mydlit and thai mixt this feirful souder. ...
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First mention in print of "magic smoke" (electronics)?

An entry for "magic smoke" in the context of computers appears at least as early as 1990. From The Jargon File, Version 2.1.1 (Draft) (June 12, 1990): MAGIC SMOKE (ma'jik smohk) n. A ...
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Origins of the phrase “You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”?

Don't forget that "weatherman" itself is a play on words. What were the weathermen when Mr. Zimmerman wrote the song? The Weather Underground was a small, violent offshoot of Students for a ...
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How come 'ou' was reduced to 'o' in the US?

This is a much less clear-cut matter than most people seem to think. The spelling favorite was definitely in common use in London in the late 18th century. I have before me a bound volume of music ...
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Etymology of "mullet"?

The jury may still be out a bit on this. But in the meantime: https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/253382
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"Machine" as a 1920s American term for "car"

The OED traces to use of “Machine” (as a means of transport) thus 5. a. A ship or other vessel. Now colloquial: a boat. 1637 T. Heywood True Descr. Royall Ship 27 Shee [sc. Pallas] hath (no doubt)...
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"Machine" as a 1920s American term for "car"

My grandfather, born around 1910, used "machine" to mean automobile. I asked him why. He explained that in his day, "car" referred to a streetcar, and "machine" meant ...
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