Jerkin: likely meaning day jacket

Jerkin: A close fitting jacket, usually without sleeves, worn by men in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. I have had a request for the origin of the word ‘Jerkin’, the word itself can be traced back to circa 1510 CE but unfortunately its origins are uncertain. The most likely origin is the old French word…

Phrase: Hair Of The Dog

If you’re feeling a little delicate after a night of drinking last night, someone may have recommended that you try the ‘Hair of the dog’; more alcohol the day after heavy drinking – but why is it called that? The phrase is short for ‘Hair of the dog that bit me’; to find the origins…

Ghost – Excitement

Ghost – An apparition of a dead person. Ghost is derived from the Old English word ‘gast’ which meant ‘breath’. ‘Gast’ was in turn derived from the Proto-Germanic word ‘gaistaz’ and ultimately came from the Proto-Indo-Eurpoean word ‘gheis’ which meant ‘excitement’ or ‘fear’.

Fake – To polish

Fake – not genuine; imitation or counterfeit. It’s a word which has been thrown around a lot lately, especially in the American media, but where does it come from? It’s past is actually rather murky; it has its origins in criminal slang and was a word used to deliberately confuse – so that those who…

Finale – Of an ending

Finale – The last part of a production. The term ‘finale’ dates back to 1783 where it was used in musical pieces, it comes from the Italian noun ‘finale’ which comes originally from the Latin ‘finalis’ meaning ‘relating to the end’.