Why do Australians and NZers call snacks/lunch *crib*?

From another question I found out that Australians and New Zealanders call lunch and snacks crib. On the Macquarie dictionary site, there are several (user contributed) theories about why, but nothing authoritative. These all seem to agree that it’s a mining term likely from Cornish dialect, but disagree as to it’s original meaning. User067531 provided … Read more

What is the origin of the phrase, “That’s for me to know and you to find out”?

I was just watching the preview for Blue Velvet (1986) and heard Kyle McLachlan use the phrase: “That’s for me to know, and you to find out”. I assume the phrase is probably older than that movie, but I can’t find anything on the internet saying when and where it originated. Answer Early Elephind newspaper … Read more

Is bludgeon connected with blood or block?

Bludgeon is a short, heavy club which is thicker or loaded at one end. Both OED and Etymonline say “origin unknown”. There are possible Cornish, Celtic, Dutch, cant, Middle French, Irish and Gaelic origins suggested in various sources. OED mentions the possible Cornish, Celtic, Dutch origins and the connection with blood: Not found before the … Read more

In search of the origins of term censor, I hit a dead end stuck with the greek term, to censor, λογοκρίνω

I have been looking in OED for a history that makes sense, yet, I just find crumbs, and I can not piece the history of this term. I am hitting a dead end researching the greek term to censor, named λογοκρίνω According to Oxford English Dictionary the word censure, n., is first documented in use … Read more

Is a ‘Protagonist’ really a thing or is it a misnomer derived from it’s opposite ‘Antagonist’?

I ask because in anatomy and fitness the muscle groups can defined in three categories for a given workout: Agonist (the main muscle being worked), Antagonist (the muscle group that would work the opposing direction (think bicep/tricep)), and assisters (stabilizing muscles that are being worked, but not primarily so). Does it not stand to reason … Read more

How do you parse “hair do”

Is "do" understood as a noun or verb in "hair do"? Asking this in search of "to make do". Bonus points if it can be related to German Tolle "tuft [of hair], that thing that Elvis had on his head", itself of obscure origin, surely under influence of toll "wild, great, fun". En. dole doesn’t … Read more

What connection (if any) is there in Australian slang between ‘dinkum’ and ‘dink’ (meaning a ride on bicycle handlebars)?

In an answer to the recent question, What is the American equivalent of a "backie"? site participant Chappo notes that in Australia the word dink is sometimes used as a noun to mean "a lift on a bicycle" and the verb dink can mean "carry a person on a bicycle" (both definitions provided by Oxford … Read more

When and where was the word “backup” used in this form for the first time?

What is the etymology of the word “backup” (in the meaning of “a file copy” in computing)? I can’t find the origin and the first using of this word in this very meaning. Why is “backup” so called? There are some sources like this which writes about the first using of “back up” in 1767 … Read more

Country names ending in “-ia”

Many countries have "land" as a suffix, like England, Poland, Switzerland, etc., which means ‘the land of the English’, ‘the land of the Swiss’, etc. Many other countries have "stan" as a suffix, like Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, etc. ‘Stan’ means land in their language, it became ‘the land of the Kazakh’, ‘the land of the … Read more