By G. L. Brook (auth.)
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Extra resources for Words in Everyday Life
D. 225, they left - in their 46 Words in Everyday Life traditional manner - a final arrow quivering language of Europe, the phrase 'a Parthian shot'. I In the Arabia has given us arab (horse) and (street) arab beside derivatives like arabesque to denote the fancifully intertwined leaves that are common in Arabian decorative work. Gum arabic is a gum exuded by some kinds of acacia. Lumber 'old useless things' is from the Lombards of Northern Italy, who were active as bankers and pawnbrokers. The banking activities gave us the name Lombard Street in London; their pawnbroking left them with unredeemed pledges, often of little value, no better than lumber.
Words derived from proper names can be blended with other words, as in gerrymander 'to manipulate electoral divisions', which is a blend of salamander with gerry from Elbridge Gerry (d. 1814), who used this device to make sure that the Republicans remained in power in Massachusetts. By functional shift a noun formed from a proper name may be used as another part of speech, as in the verb meander from a river in Phrygia or the adjective maudlin from Mary Magdalene. Their meanings may be drastically changed, as in bedlam, vandal, slave and gypsy.
K. Chesterton. From literatures other than English proper names were adopted at an early date. Machiavellian 'cunning' is from Niccolo Machiavelli (d. 1527), a Florentine diplomat who wrote on history and the art of government. Gargantuan 'enormous' is derived from the name of a giant in the French La Vie ires horrifique du Grand Gargantua (1534) by Rabelais, who has given us the adjective Rabelaisian to denote exuberant language and coarse humour. Rodomontade (often incorrectly spelt with initial rh-) 'vainglorious boasting' comes through French from the name of a braggart in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (1516).