John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey
the_gneech

Happy Birthday, spikedpunch!

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

barber's news
As true as barber's news, untrustworthy. Barber shops have, since Roman times, been centres of gossip and rumour.
--Albert Hyamson's Dictionary of English Phrases, 1922


All the News
Eliezer Edwards's Words, Fact, and Phrases: A Dictionary of Curious Matters (1882) dashed a modern misconception of the etymology of news: "The word is commonly believe to be formed of the initial letters of the names of the four cardinal points. If, however, this be the case, it is difficult to understand how the synonymous foreign words, nova and nouvelles, which are spelt in a totally different manner, can mean the same thing. But it is not necessary to go out of our language to refute the NEWS theory. The word news was formerly spelt newes [also newis and newys 500 years ago] and as this contained five letters, it completely negates the suggestions that the word was derived from the four letters on the weathercock. It was probably derived from the German das neue (in the nominative case and neuter gender). The German phrase Was giebt neues? is the exact equivalent of th English What is the news?

-The Gneech
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