Betsey Ellis

Betsey is a recovering agent of Satan (.i.e. a legal professional) now working towards a lifetime goal of becoming a perfectly sane cat lady, medieval clothing designer, and occasional playwright. Maybe even finish my doctorate.....nyah, probably not, who needs another expert in Elizabethan Law and its effect on the growth of the middle class.

My Word! October 18

Hylophagoushy·loph·a·gousAdjectiveEating wood, or wood eating.The most famous hylophagous insect is the termite.I am sure there is some sort of a fascinating history for this word somewhere, but since it is undoubtedly a combination of Latin and/or Greek, why bother?

Jousting! Crabs! Lions! Oh My!

Maryland’s interest to Europeans goes back to 1498, when the shoreline was mapped by the Venetian John Cabot for the English. In 1632 George Calvert (later also known as Baron Baltimore) came to the shores in hopes of establishing a place where he could practice his Roman Catholicism in peace. He founded a settlement and…

My Word! October 4

FLEERFlirVerbTo laugh or grimace in a coarse derisive mannerThe ogre expressed his contempt when he fleered at the one-legged knight challenging him.This one was appropriated from an old Scandinavian word flire (meaning to giggle) by the English, who transmuted it into the Middle English fleryen. By the 15th century it further devolved into the verb…

Remember the What?

Maine used to be a lot of things. It used to be the northernmost State. It used to have the most coastline (it has more than 3500 miles of coastline). It was even included in the original United States, as part of Massachusetts until 1820. Not wanting to be dominated by the megalopolis of Boston,…

Word of the Week has been on a brief hiatus, and to mark my return, I thought I would see just how ridiculous a word I could find. So I present to you:Spectrohelioscopespec·tro·he·lio·scope NounAn instrument for viewing solar disc in light of a single wavelengthTonight’s episode of the “Big Bang Theory” revolved around Penny breaking…

More Than Mardi Gras

Once upon a time there was a dictatorial leader with small hands (a fact he famously tried to hide by hiding one in his coat) who felt he was the best real estate dealer in the world. He might have been, he certainly drove some pretty hard bargains in his day. James Monroe and Robert…

My Word! May 5

Nyctalopianyc·ta·lo·piaNounNight blindnessI hate driving at night since I suffer from nyctalopia.Nyctalopia has been in use in English since 1684. You didn’t think I could keep coming up with words that have their origins in Latin, did you? Nyctalopia comes from Latin word nyctalops, which means “suffering from night blindness.” But this time the Latin word…

My Word! April 28

Mundungusmun·dun·gusNounA foul smelling tobaccoWhenever Jerry wanted his guests to go home he would fill his pipe with mundungus and then light up.In English mundungus goes back to 1641 and was modified from the Spanish word, mondongo, meaning tripe.

My Word! April 21

LemanLe-manNounA lover or paramour, usually a mistress.Anne Bolynn was a leman before she was Queen.Leman dates back to the 13th century and comes from a Middle English word. Strangely enough, the Middle English origin is reported as the word leman.

My Word! April 14

Knitchˈnich, kəˈnNounA bundle of wood tied together, a fagotIt was going to be a cold night, so Harry brought another knitch over to the campfire.I could not find when we first started using the word knitch, but it does actually come from the Middle English word knytche, knucche. So where did it come from before…