Wednesday, 15 June 2005


The BBC is going to do a programme on the origins of words (maybe they'll have a bit on the Malay origins of "ketchup" and "compound"), and they're looking for the earliest dated "sightings" of a few nifty words and phrases, since the OED is equally stumped. Among the list are "back to square one", "handbags at dawn", "on the pull", and "nutmeg" (in the football/soccer sense)

And my favourite one, since I have it emblazoned in big letters on a T-shirt: "phwoar".

I’m a new reader of your blog. U did a great job there n 2 thumbs up for the creative effort. Keep blogging…


I thought ketchup was originally a cantonese phrase, thus the spelling 'cat sup'...

"Catsup" is supposed to be pronounced roughly the same way as "ketchup", no?

Anyway, here is the previous discussion on the origins of "ketchup"... basically, the first recorded usages of "ketchup" in English referred to a fish sauce, rather than a tomato-based sauce. So my general feel is that it's an odd coincidence that the phrase for "tomato sauce" in Cantonese sounds similar to one in English.

Well, tell the beeb I'm free if they want someone to explain how 'going round the bend' came about...

a good site for strange new words is here:

welcome aboard.

did you know that LONG TIME NO SEE! comes from Hong Kong originally, in Chinese?

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