: views from the Hill

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Britishisms beyond zebra crossing

[1] BA in-flight magazine. July 2008

hoarding
From context, the meaning was relatively clear.

Merriam-Webster on hoarding:
1: a temporary board fence put about a building being erected or repaired —called also hoard
2: [British] billboard

[2] Independent. 18 Jul 2008

swingeing
"Neither candidate looks likely to balance the budget without swingeing cuts." Context again clear, but etymology?

Merriam-Webster on swingeing:

Etymology: from present participle of swinge
Date: 1575

chiefly British : very large, high, or severe swingeing fines swingeing taxes


Which in turn brought me to Google Books and Hensleigh Wedgwood's A DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH ETYMOLOGY, publ 1872:

Delightful.

e.g. swindle

Swindle G Schwindel swimming in the head dizziness giddiness In a figurative sense Schwindel is applied to dealings in which the parties seem to have lost their head as we say to have become dizzy over unfounded or unreasonable prospects of gain. 'Als der Assignatenschwindel Assignat mania zu w├╝then begann' 'Er hat bei dem Akticn schwin del Share mania viel geld verdient' -- Genz in Sanders The word may be translated madness delusion Then in a factitive sense schwindeler one who induces delusions in others Einem etwas abschwindeln to get something from another by inducing delusion to swindle him out of something The parallel form ON sundla to be dizzy connects G schwindeln through ON sund a swimming with svt ma svimma to swim svimra Da si tmlc to be dizzy Du swijmelen falsa imaginari instar dormientium vertigine laborari Kil Da svingel dizziness darnel from producing dizziness svingle to reel as a drunken man.

Delightful.

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