WNW: St. Patrick's Edition
Just for fun, I thought I'd do a little digging to find out the background of some words centered around St. Patrick's Day and/or Ireland.
Here's some of what I found:
According to my trusty OED, back in the 1500s in both Ireland and Scotland, a slogan was a war- or battle-cry. A slogan usually used a person's family name or a location that they'd yell out.
It comes from sluagh-ghairm, which, broken down meant host (sluagh) + cry or shout (ghairm).
Quite a different meaning today, when marketing types sit around a table, trying to come up with a nifty names and catch-phrases for their company and products.
(Suddenly I'm picturing an Irish warrior on a horse, raising his sword and calling out, "Kleeneeeeeeeex!")
Again, my OED confirmed this one, which I found somewhere else first. The word originally is viewed as either Irish or Gaelic, from go leor, meaning "in abundance" or "plenty."
Perhaps having beer galore led to all those famous Irish drinking songs . . .
Mac/Mc/M' and O'
These prefixes for names hail from both Ireland and Scotland. According to one site I looked at, families wouldn't necessarily stay consistent in their spelling, so you could find McHenry, MacHenry, and M'Henry or even just Henry all for the same family.
(Good luck doing your family history research!)
To muddy the waters further, since the prefixes hail from both countries, you can't say with certainty that a MAC name is from Scotland or an O' name is definitively Irish.
Both prefixes mean, "descendant of." At one point, MAC and its variations usually meant "son of" (so MacDonald = son of Donald), and O' was "grandson of" (O'Donald = grandson of Donald). Apparently those distinctions weren't always followed (yay for more inaccuracy!), so all you can be sure of when seeing a name with that prefix is that the person is a descendant of a person with the name somewhere along the line.
The OED can't agree with itself on this one. We've got several possible histories here.
One source the OED quotes says the word could be derived from an Irish term referring to a sprite "always employed in making or mending a shoe." (So the shoemaker in the fairytale was actually relying on a bunch of leprechauns?)
Another possibility is the Middle Irish luchrupan, which came from the Old Irish luchorpian, which meant small body (lu = small and corp = body). (In which case, what, they're just little people? What about the magic?)
Then the OED quotes an Irish dictionary as saying that in Irish folklore, a leprechaun is a "pygmy sprite 'who always carries a purse containing a shilling.'"
That's where I came up short. Wait . . . a shilling? Where's the a pot of gold?
So . . . we're just looking for a small person who might make shoes and who carries around a coin.
Where where did the rainbow idea come from? (I have no answers. Just posing the questions.)
A bar parlor, or small, comfortable place in a pub to drink privately, often preferred by women.
Too bad that back in the day, the Irish didn't have a blanket with sleeves to perfect the term as they drank their ale.
Think about it: They could have rocked the Snuggie in the snug!
(Be sure to check out Kristina P's Snuggies for Seniors drive! Click HERE or on the picture in my sidebar.)