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drtufte commented on the word hammock
I went to a place called McKee Gardens in Vero Beach, Florida today. The historical quotations about that place described that piece of land as a "hammock" when it was purchased about 100 years ago.
July 1, 2015
drtufte commented on the word compert
Sorry ... need to edit that last comment. Cromwell was not Viceregent, but rather Vicegerent.
August 18, 2013
In preparation for dissolving all monasteries in England, and seizing their assets, Henry VIII's Viceregent, Cromwell, sent out "visitors" "armed with articles of inquiry". "They were an ambitious, greedy, and unscrupulous set, chiefly concerned with securing the sort of information that would suit their purpose. The letters and reports or "comperts" which they sent to the Viceregent ..."
This makes me think the word is used as a fanciful basis for a grander act.
See Cross, Arthur Lyon. A History of England and Greater Britain. MacMillan. 1916, pg. 323.
COMPERT (plural: comperta): Specifically, birth-tales in Old Irish literature that detail the conception and birth of a hero. Examples include the Compert Con Culainn (Birth of Cú Chulainn). Usually supernatural or extraordinary events involve themselves in the conception, such as the Druid Cathbad's seduction of Nessa after prophesying what the hour would be lucky for (begetting a king upon a queen!) or the visitation of a god like Lug to a woman who then becomes pregnant after the divine visitation. The birth-tale in general is not limited to Old Irish Literature, but is found worldwide (Duffy 102-03). Examples outside of Irish literature include the birth of Jesus, or the Buddha, or Leda and Hercules in Greek myth, Pryderi's conception in the First Branch of The Mabinogion, or King Arthur's conception in Arthurian legends.
drtufte commented on the word durance
I found this: "restraint by or as if by physical force". I think this adds something to the extent definitions. It suggests that durance covers both being kept from leaving but also the threat that if you do try and leave that force will be used. In the 1550's, Queen Mary kept the future Queen Elizabeth in durance ... I take this to mean that she was free to do anything she like, except leave.
August 17, 2013
drtufte commented on the word swag
There is a slang version of this in use as well, as an acronym for "Secretly We Are Gay". I was advised by someone who teaches Human Sexuality that this meaning is still in use.
February 26, 2013
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