[lit-ideas] Re: Whinger... (Was: Thinks...)

  • From: Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 18:05:45 -0400

Wherever did this word come from?   I'm not sure I'd ever heard it 
before about March of this year.   Should I get out more?  Or stay in 
more?   Or clean my ears out?   Or clean my sock drawer?  Maybe I'm 
hanging around with the wrong crowd.  Maybe Canada is the wrong country. 
  Does it have anything to do with Seinfeld or the Simpsons?    That 
would explain everything.
hiding from the world (and the word)
in North Bay

David Ritchie wrote:

>on 6/1/04 10:21 AM, Andreas Ramos at andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>>It's odd. There's whine, and it's perfectly good form whiner. Why would
>>anyone take whinge and turn that into whinger?
>"Whinging" sounds better when Scots pronounce it.  "Whun-jing."
>See Alexander Warrack, "The Scots Dialect Dictionary," which confirms what
>JLS wrote, "whinge": "to whine, to cry fretfully and peevishly, to whimper
>as a dog."  A whinger is one who whinges.  Paradoxically, he may be silenced
>with a "whinger," "a short dagger, used as a knife at meals and also as a
>weapon.  Also, a sword."
>(Clan chief to man at Bannockburn, "Stop your whinging and draw your
>whinger, thon's only the English on bluddy great horses.")
>The same dictionary has no entry for "swot."
>Partridge, however, says that the earliest reference to "swot" or "swat" may
>have come from a Royal Military Academy professor's pronunciation of
>"sweat."  From 1845-95 "swat" or "swot" was synonymous with mathematics.
>Public schools and universities extended the meaning to include anything
>that was hard to study, and the act itself--studying until you sweat.
>Being "in a swot," meant--at Shrewsbury school--being "in a rage" or angry
>to the point that beads of sweat get squeezed out.
>To "swot" up or "mug" up is rare before the twentieth century, but then
>becomes common.  "Mugging up" developed about the same time as "swotting
>up."  It refers to theatrical preparations--preparing one's face for test or
>The piece of my writing that seemed so inpenetrable to Julie was, once
>again, a reference to Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle, "Molesworth."
>Such references have, in recent times, irked Stephen Straker and possibly
>others.  When I find my copy of "Austerlitz," I shall read it in penance.
>Maybe Mike will be kind enough to supply some coaching on how this penance
>business goes and, should I slip into a whinge, Erin can make ready with the
>reviving wine?
>David Ritchie
>Portland, Oregon
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