I have this utter fascination with words and their origins. A word geek if you must know. I think everyone falls into writing ruts. I know I do. And when I find myself using the same five words to describe things over and over, I know it’s time to go to the well and use the amazing options before me. So here on this page and the sub pages that follow, I will be offering some silly little factoids that amuse me.
LUDDITE: Persons who reject modern technology. The story goes a band of radical British weavers opposed to the developments of the industrial revolution, destroyed mechanized looms for fear the automation would put them out of work. They based the name of their movement on a folk hero named Ned Ludd who destroyed a mechanical knitting machine in a fit of rage. This Ned fellow may or may not have actually existed. Incidentally, the folk tale attached to Calvert Lee, the gentleman who invented the knitting machine, was the he did it as an act of revenge on a girlfriend who spent all her time knitting and not enough time administering to the inventor’s needs. Now if Lee had been more attentive in the boudoir, and Ned didn’t have anger issues (undoubtedly as a result of his relationship with his mother) then the Luddites would have had to go elsewhere for their folk hero inspiration. But fate had something else in mind. So there you have it, Luddite.
CURMUDGEON: A bad tempered or surly person. No one has a blessed clue about this one. There was a completely incorrect theory generated during 1755 that it came from the french coeur merchant meaning evil or malicious heart. Sounds snazzy, don’t it? Pity it’s not true. Actually, in 1577 it just showed up in writing without explanation. My theory is a guy named Sir Stanley was having problems with his ill fitting codpiece and, in a fit of irritation, told the town gossip to go stuff it. The town gossip, Lady Mutters-alot compared the man to a cur in need of mutton and the rest as they say is history.