As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently in the middle of revisions for A Lily Among Thorns. And revisions means fact-checking and research! Here are some hilarious tidbits I’ve come across over the last few days:
1. “The piety of Hannah More was ‘practical piety,’ and to her must be assigned much of the distinction this kingdom derives from that all-glorious sentence now so often read in so many parts of it — a sentence that, beyond all others in our language, makes, as it ought to make, an Englishman proud —
‘SUPPORTED BY VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS.'”
AWWWWW. From S.C. Hall’s biography of Hannah More in his A Book of Memories of Great Men and Women of the Age from Personal Acquaintance, available here.
‘Some of the features may derive from the upper-class pronunciation of late 18th century London, such as the use of “ain’t” for “isn’t” and the now lost reversal of “v” and “w” (as noted by Dickens regarding Sam Weller/Veller). This element of Cockney as parody is often underestimated, it dates to a time when Cockneys earned much of their income from the rich, who they then derided at home or in the pub.’
Ooh, neat! And here’s a related one:
3. I discovered a new possible explanation for the origin of the British curse word “bloody.” Now there are so many explanations that the real answer at this point is probably “no one knows,” but this one seems pretty plausible and I like it! I can’t remember where I first read about this, so if another author talked about it on their blog recently, I’m sorry for stealing! Let me know and I’ll credit you/them.
From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
‘But perhaps it ultimately is connected with bloods in the slang sense of “rowdy young aristocrats” via expressions such as bloody drunk “as drunk as a blood.” [cf. “drunk as a lord,” which is common in Regency romances.] Partridge reports that it was “respectable” before c.1750, and it was used by Fielding and Swift, but heavily tabooed c.1750-c.1920, perhaps from imagined association with menstruation; Johnson calls it “very vulgar,” and OED first edition writes of it, “now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered ‘a horrid word’, on par with obscene or profane language.”‘
4. Also from the Online Etymology Dictionary: ‘To be figuratively on the fence “uncommitted” is from 1828, from the notion of spectators at a fight.’ Isn’t that great? It’s completely not the image I had created for myself, which related more to the idea of a fence as a boundary between two things.
And now back to work! Don’t forget to come visit me at the B&N forum!