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Happy Birthday to banditloaf and depoisson!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

Narrowdale noon
To put off doing something until Narrowdale noon is to defer it forever. "Narrowdale" is a local name for the narrowest part of Dovedale, Derbyshire. The few cotters who dwell there never see the sun throughout the winter, and when its beams pierce the deep dale in the spring, it is only for a few minutes.
--Edwin Radford's Encyclopedia of Phrases and Origins, 1945


Feast Day of St. Expeditus,
whose curious name was invoked, not surprisingly, to jump-start matters mired in procrastination. The name may have been created when a saint's remains were crated and shipped from Italy to a Parisian convent, marked only with the instructions "spedito," the equivalent of "special delivery," printed on the casket. The recipients apparently assumed that this message referred to the container's contents. The unnecessarily bloated verb procrastinate developed from its sleeker forerunner, the noun crastinate, which in the early 1700s referred to a delay, according to Elisha Coles' English Dictionary (1713). The short-lived crastine, in turn, was developed from crastin, a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century term meaning "the day after," especially the day after a holiday.

Probably people didn't want to use "crastinate" because it sounds unaccountably rude. As for the rest, I'll comment on that ... later.

-The Gneech

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
rogue_richek
Apr. 19th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
I always love those posts. Mainly because I know the feast day (being catholic raised) and love to know where phrases come from.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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