"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Meaning Of A Word

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Every Thought Has Many Facets":

Is ' shellacked ' Irish, Scots or British? Great word. Up there with the "P' word you used earlier in the week.

 I think  the word is derived from shillalegh. It should be spelled shillacked. From the way it 's used in modern context.

Generally , a defeat in an election.

Derived from the shillalegh being a knobbly Irish  blackthorn stick used as a cane, also a cudgel or weapon, I would guess it's a Gaelic word.

A walking stick was an aid  in a time and  place , when people walked everywhere;  for miles at a time and land sloped in every direction.  Often,  it  was just for enjoyment.

Homes were tiny, crowded, dark and if the chimney wasn't drawing well or there was a gale blowing, they could be smoky as well.

We didn't think  they were tiny because everybody's place was the same size. Two small rooms could accommodate mother and father and seven or eight children. Not often anybody else's children.

We played outside. In the wash-house or the close if it was raining.

I went on to Google to see how the word was  defined . In the first page they did not know a derivative.

I could be wrong


Etymologist said...

"I could be wrong"

You are ... and not for the first time. In this context, it's a slang expression - an early 20th-century Americanism derived from the word 'shellac' (a type of wood finish).

Anonymous said...

What is the derivation for saying someone ' can't cut the mustard' ? Why would anyone want to 'cut' mustard except perhaps in a field?