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Words and Phrases Part Four

This week—word and phrase stories representing the letters J, K, and L from The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, 4th Edition (Facts on File Writer's Library) by Robert Hendrickson (published in 2008). I love this book!

Jalousie First called jealousies in 16th-century England. jalousies, their name taken from the French for jealousy, were originally blinds or shutters with wooden horizontal slats that admitted air and light but “jealously guarded” one’s privacy. Today they are also made of glass.

Java Java for “coffee,” originated as slang among American tramps in the late 19th century. It is obviously an allusion to the coffee-producing island.

Kiss-my-arse latitudes Kiss-my-arse latitudes is used mainly in the British merchant marine for the “home stretch,” when a ship is close to port and the crew cares about nothing but getting ashore and tends to ignore orders—especially if the crew has been paid.

Kith and kin Though it dates back to the 14th century or earlier, this expression is still heard today. It means acquaintances and relatives, kith being Middle English for acquaintances, friends, or neighbors.

Lay it on with a trowel An Americanism first recorded in about 1839, at about the same time lay it on thick was recorded. Both phrases mean the same that is to lavishly flatter, exaggerate. A trowel, of course, is a tool used for depositing and working with mortar and plaster.

Lido Lido for a spit of land enclosing a lagoon, or a bathing beach or a public, open-air swimming pool takes its name from the famous Lido resort in Venice, which is on such a spit of land.

It’s time for stretching out on the lido, sipping a cup of your favorite java, and reading a great book.

Happy Writing :->

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