I love the phrase ‘you look like death warmed up’ but the other day I got to wondering where it came from. After all it is a bit of a weird thing to say and kind of expects that you know what a dead person looks like.
Turns out that makes a lot of sense, because it was soldier’s slang (found in a 1939 slang dictionary). With one world war behind them and another underway, I’m sure they knew very well what death looked like!
I wish I could remember where I found this one… *chuckle*
I’ve realised that I should be grateful for my day-to-day exposure to the corporate world, because it is such a fertile ground for language abuse. Seriously. My favourite thing is walking around office buildings reading the various signs that tell you what to do and not to do. Trust me, they almost invariably sport such terrible grammar, malapropisms and ambiguity that you can’t tear your eyes away.
And then there is software. Ever since software designers realised they needed to improve the usability of their products and got chatty in their communications, it has been a buffet of misuse. Though I will cut the software people some slack in that many of them are operating in multiple languages.
So, to my favourite of the week… This was the conversational way that an online service introduced their help functionality: Sometimes we all need help.
Another gigglefest from xkcd!!
“Death pledge” sounds so serious doesn’t it? It’s actually just what “mortgage” means. So if you have a home loan, you do have a death pledge!
Of course this isn’t because the money-lender traditionally killed you if you defaulted on your repayments, but because “death” was being used in the sense of the end of something. In this case either full repayment or foreclosure.
In other words, you were pledging that you’d either pay back the loan or give the money-lender the house. You were pledging your house to secure the loan, which is how mortgages still work today.
Every time I see an ad for home loans, I replace “home loan” and “mortgage” with “death pledge”, because how can sentences like “competitive death pledge rates” not be amusing?
I’ve never grown out of dinosaurs (can’t understand why people do!), but I will admit that in one or two cases, I enjoy talking about them because their names are fun to say. Try velociraptor. See? How fun was that?
But of all the dinosaurs, it’s really hard to find an excuse to get diplodocus into a sentence. Unlike the velociraptor and T-rex, poor old thing just isn’t as famous or useful for analogies as many of the others.
Then, recently, I managed to put diplodocus into a sentence during a conversation! I was so proud.
I’ve been thinking I should get a t-shirt made that says “Ask me about the diplodocus” 🙂
Recently I was thinking about why “murder” is worse than “manslaughter”. Not that there’s really a good way to kill someone, but in law we differentiate between planning to kill and it just happening. What I wondered though was why “manslaughter” was the word for the lesser evil.
Interesting thing was that the differentiation of the words was because people had to differentiate the crimes; nothing inherent in the origins or use of either word led to it being picked. Man-slaughter described killing a man, just as animal-slaughter described killing animals (for food).
To my ears, I think “manslaughter” sounds worse than “murder”. But that’s just me!