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Jack-o'-lantern

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Jack-o'-lantern

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:23 pm

• jack-o'-lantern •


Pronunciation: jæk-ê-læn-têrn • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A lantern made from a hollowed pumpkin with openings representing eyes, nose, and mouth to make it look like a face—a symbol of Halloween. 2. The light of burning marsh gas.

Notes: No, the symbol of Halloween in North America does not come from an Irishman by the name of Jack O'Lantern, though many a fetching story claims otherwise. It is the reduction of an old phrase, "jack with a lantern," spelled in a peculiar way. It is currently used as a single noun, so the plural is jack-o'-lanterns.

In Play: Jack-o'-lantern. The custom of putting carved vegetables out on Halloween did, however, originate with Irish Catholics. The Irish once placed carved turnips and rutabagas containing candles in their windows to ward off the dead souls they presumed wandered about on the eve of All Saints Day, originally known as All Hallow Even(ing), today simplified to Hallowe'en or Halloween. The Irish switched to pumpkins when they immigrated to America since turnips and rutabagas were more likely to be served for dinner.

Word History: Jack-with-a-lantern originally meant simply "man with a lantern" (jack, as in the phrase, "every man, jack of them"). It referred to a night watchman. Its later structure, jack-o'-lantern, is analogical with that of will-o'-the-wisp, which originally meant only "(a man named) Will with a wisp (whiskbroom)". Both will-o'-the-wisp and jack-o'-lantern were later used to refer to what the Romans called ignis fatuus "crazy fire", the pale, mysterious fire from gas that sometimes faintly burns over marshy areas. A will-o'-the-wisp was then taken to be a sprite carrying the wisp of a torch across the swamps. A jack-o'-lantern was assumed to be a man with a lantern engaged in the same activity.
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Re: Jack-o'-lantern

Postby Slava » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:38 pm

For those curious as to just who Jack is, the Doctor has provided us with his "medical" records: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5315.
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Re: Jack-o'-lantern

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:22 pm

Jack: it comes up so often.
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Re: Jack-o'-lantern

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Oct 30, 2013 4:46 pm

Thinking outside of the box!
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Re: Jack-o'-lantern

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:17 pm

With the song "Pop goes the Weasel". Now where does
that come from??
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Re: Jack-o'-lantern

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:46 pm

Then there is the kids game "jacks." Where you pick up those little pointed metal thing while the ball bounces.
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Re: Jack-o'-lantern

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:55 am

There are as many explanations of "Pop goes the Weasel" as there are people who want to explain it. I don't believe it can be explained in this universe. Perhaps in some meta space....
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Re: Jack-o'-lantern

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:16 pm

Really! It's not something I have explored before. Give me
one or two, if you've a mind, of course.
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