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whisky (whiskey)

Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.

whisky (whiskey)

Postby eberntson » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:24 pm

So I thought with the 17th of March approaching this would be an appropriate word, at least it is here in Boston.

whisky

Pronunciation: /ˈwɪski/
noun (plural whiskies)
1 (also Irish & US whiskey) [mass noun] a spirit distilled from malted grain, especially barley or rye:
a bottle of whisky
[count noun]:
he poured her a stiff whisky
2 (whiskey) a code word representing the letter W, used in radio communication.

Origin:
early 18th century: abbreviation of obsolete whiskybae, variant of usquebaugh


Spelling help
When referring to the alcoholic spirit from Scotland, use the spelling whisky (plural whiskies). Whiskey, with an e (plural whiskeys), is the spelling used in Ireland and America.

Src: OED Compact

Comment: usquebaugh, bourbon, rye, malt are all interesting words in relation to this work. Oh, let's not forget Scotch.

Scotch is enjoyed by me and am slowly weening onto Rye... my favorite point of view quote I'm trying out is by DeVoto in his book The Hour ,
"Whiskey and vermouth can never meet as friends, and the Manhattan is an offense against piety."
Hear, hear!
EBERNTSON
Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more,
and all good things will be yours.
--R. Burns
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:56 pm

Is whiskey from Celtic usquebaugh the only Celtic word in English except for some place names? Sad to think it, but I am a Celt and the only Celtic word I know is usquebaugh. Somebody stole my language. Drat those Anglo Saxons. If you ever go across the sea to Ireland you won't find many Celtic words. Try Wales. I once watched a TV documentary in Wales. It was about lancing pus out of boils in cattle. I didn't really want to understand what was being said in Welch.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:07 am

What's the relation between Celtic, Irish, and Welsh?
pl
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Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:00 pm

Celtic is a division of the PIE (Proto Indo-European) language group. It is thought that much of Europe once spoke Celtic. Celts once occupied central to western Europe including the British Isles. The northern Celtic languages are also called Gaelic. I do not believe there is any remnant of Celtic except of Gaelic. When the Germanic hordes overran England they extinguished the British language entirely. In time Erse (Scottish Gaelic), Manx, Irish (Irish is sometimes called Erse. The words Erse and Irish are definitely etymologically related), and Cornish, have been pretty much erased. Brittany Gaelic is spoken by a few.

Welch is the only Celtic/Gaelic language that has a large speaker group and it is fading. I never learned Welch but am fascinated by it. I have visited Wales several times. To me it seems the most difficult language there is. It has very long words and reading is very difficult to learn. It is said that the word "stop" in Welch is too long to put on a stop sign. It is long but I have seen it on stop signs.

My wife's maiden name is Erwin and it is etymologically linked to Erse and Éireann. Her ancestors came to Scotland from Ireland and were given that name by the Scots. Notice also that the nation of Ireland calls itself "The Republic of Éireann" (Poblacht na hÉireann in Irish).

Celtic Women and Celtic Thunder (men) are two popular Irish singing groups featured on Public Television. Riverdance is also Celtic. Then there are the Boston Celtics.

English is a Germanic language with a Germanic/Latin name. The only Celtic word we have left is whiskey, and I am a teetotaler.
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Postby eberntson » Tue May 22, 2012 11:58 am

Don't we so hard on the Welsh language, there are other Celtic words that are still lurking in hollows of the English language.

cwm - (pronounced "koom") is a steep-walled hollow on a hillside. Interestingly its an example of a rare case of a word using w as a vowel, as is:

crwth (pronounced "krooth") is a type of stringed instrument.

Both words derive from the Welsh use of w as a vowel..

cwms - of glacial origin are a common feature of Welsh geography. cwm is commonly applied to Welsh place names.
EBERNTSON
Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more,
and all good things will be yours.
--R. Burns
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Postby Philip Hudson » Tue May 22, 2012 2:34 pm

Thank you for the additional Celtic words, eberntson. Tor for mountain and avon for river are also cletic but we only see them in place names. For any of the several rivers in England named Avon. Their name, translated is River River. Later rivers were named Afton and probably come from the same Celtic source.

I love Wales, If I wasn't older than dirt and didn't have my wonderful family and extended family here in the USA, I would like to live in an isolated village in northern Wales. I have been there several times. Southern Wales is just like England but northern and central Wales is an enchanted land. Just cross the Black Mounains and you are in another universe.
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