Today’s Quiz: Borne can mean: a. Circular sofa b. Boring lecture c. New product d. Inaccurate projectile

I’ve never been much of a T.V. watcher, at least since grade school days. Entire acclaimed series have come and gone without my seeing even a single episode. The plots all seemed banal to me. But my wife and I got hooked on Downton Abbey when we watched it condensed into six weeks using our DVR! For reasons I can’t explain, I was totally consumed by it! With plenteous absorbing dramaturgy, the scripts were enlivened with a plethora of grammatical gems that were new to me.

How about almoner, meaning one who distributes charity to the needy. Or crosspatch…a grouch. A hooley is an Irish party. A parure is a matched set of jewelry. A bread and butter letter is a thank you note. Expressions? How about ‘the wrong end of the stick’ which means to have gotten a misunderstanding. The phrase actually goes back to the Middle Ages when a man mistakenly grabbed his walking cane at the wrong end! We Americans are more familiar with the phrase ‘the short end of the stick’ as having received a sour deal. Fumfer is stammering to avoid telling the truth. A cardsharp is a sharky card player. The peerage is the system of giving titles like duke, earl etc., or the titled personages of the kingdom themselves. “Ahem, let’s entreat the entire peerage.”

Speaking of phrases, here’s one I heard today that you don’t often come across. ‘From hunger’ or ‘just from hunger’ meaning second rate. The rock group Hunger turned the phrase well on their 1968 album drop “Strictly from Hunger.”

I like the word repair, when used to mean to go to. “Let’s repair to the smoking room.” It can be used as a noun too. “His favorite luxe repair.”

Quiz answer: a. Circular sofa, often centered by a column

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