Today is Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ask Anne: Unveiling the mystery of lb

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I love all the happy trails language takes us on!


The answer for our erudite QP of T (Question Person of Today) follows a trail meandering through Old English, Old German, Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old Icelandic (youd think all they said was, Brrrrr.), Gothic, Old High German, Middle Dutch, and Latin (pondo, originally in libra pondo, a pound by weight). And thats what we really needed to know. The mystifying-to-all-children-and-some-adults lb comes from that libra.


The pound as a unit of money (a pound weight of silver 12 ounces troy weight, uses ? as we use $ sign) dates back to at least 10th century, the weight (avoirdupois) of 16 ounces for a pound was a fixed rate for trade before 1377. THANK YOU for all of the last two paragraphs to Chambers Dictionary of Etymology.


BUT WAIT, THERES MORE. Troy weight is a system of units of mass customarily used for precious metals, gemstones, and black powder. Troy is probably from Troyes, France. Avoirdupois is French, also, means something like goods of weight.


Do you really want me to go on?


ONLINE DEPARTMENT A REPEAT, BUT WHOS COUNTING (OR WEIGHING)? Things Ive Learned Living in the South (Thanks, A.A.) A possun is a flat animal that sleeps in the middle of the road. Almost all of the worlds reptiles enjoy living in Southern woods and waters. There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 of them live in the South, plus a couple no ones seen before. The last two statements are most of the explanation for the frequency of screaming demonstrated by Southern women. If it grows, itll stick ya; if it crawls, itll bite cha. Onced and twiced are words. Its not a shopping cart, its a buggy! People actually grow, eat and like okra. Fixinto is one word, meaning, Im about to do that. Theres often no lunch, just dinner and supper. Iced tea is appropriate for all meals, and you can start drinking it when youre two maybe sooner. Called the Wine of the South, iced tea needs a heavy addition of sugar. Backwards and forwards means, I know all about it. The word jeet actually is a question meaning, Did you eat? You dont push buttons, you mash them. Yall is singular; all yall is plural. All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect, or animal. A small shelf is all you need for spices and condiments: salt, pepper, mustard, catsup, and Tabasco. Put your vinegar under the sink. Often the local papers cover national and international news on one page, but require 6 pages for local high school sports, the motor sports, and gossip. Everyone you meet is Honey, Sugar, Miss ____, Mr. ____ (first names in the blanks). Any real Southerner knows a hissy fit is; most know how to have one. You can start driving whenever your mama says you can.


BW (Bigtime Word) philomath a lover of learning. Yep, if you made it through todays column you have definite philomathic tendencies. Squish em with a plate of fried food and some TV reality show.

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