Video looks at popular words first coined in books

Originally published at: Video looks at popular words first coined in books | Boing Boing


holy moly, how can she mention Tolkien and not bring up “eucatastrophe”? (although i will admit i had no idea he came up with “tween,” so props for that).

Doesn’t “nonce” mean pedophile in UK slang?

edit: Or, at least, “idiot”, but it clearly has a negative meaning in addition to what is asserted in the video

Might have been worth mentioning when talking about words taking on meanings


Not to anyone I know. Nonce is a common insult meaning stupid or idiot.

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More a general term for sexual offender in prison slang. It would include paedophiles.


Well, well, well. I have never read ‘Ivanhoe’, though I may have read a comic version that appeared in the children’s magazine ‘Look and Learn’ in the sixties. It had long struck me that ‘freelance’ was a knight errant with no lord’s design upon his shield, and much too swashbuckling a term for someone hired to write product manuals. And it actually comes straight from the Walter Scott source too!

Nice. It has been while since my flabber has been so ghasted.


And here I thought “quark” came from the old German word for curd cheese. You know, the sort of stuff Kraft sells as Philadelphia cheese. A word which supposedly comes from mediaeval German quarc, which itself has Slavic roots.


Among other things, yes, and mainly in prison terms. This usage has become more ‘popular’ over time, perhaps edging out others.

More modern examples of popular culture might have cromulently embiggened her video.

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Has is really been connected to current usage though? That word sounds too obvious for Tolkien’s usage to have sparked the current meaning, too easy for many others to have come up with it independently.

Most people have learned that from a book. (Current Prison Slang, 1971) and not from personal experience.

I doubt most people who know this term have read that book. TV programmes, however, are a definite source.

well, that’s what the video contends. i have no idea if it’s been verified or not. this was the first i’ve heard of it.

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