Postcards tagged: Toponymity

What's in a Word? Utopia

Today the United States celebrates Martin Luther King Day and the Presidential Inaguration. Another round of hope, legacy, and appeal for a brighter world.

What's in a Word? Chapel

"Chapel" is the French descendant of Latin "cappella" (for the same reason a "chat" is a cat), while a "cappellanus" became a chaplain.

What's in a Word? Tuxedo

Queen Victoria's eldest son, Edward, wasn't the formal type, and he designed for himself a more sporty sort of coat that he wore at his country estate at Cowes.

What's in a Word? Fez

The fez, though now purely quaint, has been a symbol of both modernism and backwardness. Another great word from "Toponymity: An Atlas of Words."

What's in a Word? Mogul

By 1600, most of the subcontinent was under the control of the Moghuls, who established an empire known for a wealth that was dizzying even by the standards of India.

What's in a Word? Pandemonium

We're thinking about Halloween. And the Day of the Dead. And wondering, where the hell does "pan-demon-ium" come from anyway? Hell, as it turns out.

What's in a Word? Limerick

The master of the limerick form was Edward Lear, a superb zoological draftsman and ethereal painter of Eastern landscapes who is, ironically, best remembered for his verse and comic line drawings.

What's in a Word? Bikini

In the dog days of summer, we're remembering two epic and life-changing inventions from 1946. We won't judge which was more scandalous, but it's pretty clear which was more fun.

What's in a Word? Bohemian

Scenes de la bohème depicted life in the 1840s Latin Quarter and was written by Henry Murger, who, unlike the trust-fund poseurs inhabiting present-day bohemias from Williamsburg to Berlin, was an authentically poor, deeply dedicated writer who died before the age of forty.

What's in a Word? Serendipity

In their travels they come across a disturbed stretch of empty road littered with clues from which they deduce the following: A lame camel who is blind in one eye and missing a tooth passed by carrying a pregnant woman and saddle packs of honey and butter.

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