[lit-ideas] Re: Yesterday's Word Now!

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 2 May 2010 16:31:00 -0700

When you hear of Hollywood glamour or glamor consider this, from John Burnett, "Robert Burns and the Hellish Legion," "In the Middle Ages the English word 'grammar' meant, as it does today, the study of rules of language, but it also stood for a sophisticated level of learning. In Scotland it was varied to 'glamour', meaning a magic spell, and sometimes a beauty which was so great it cast a spell over people who experienced it." The OED confirms this and adds the possible use of glamour as a verb. Fergusson in "Whistle-Binkie" has, "For ither scenes, and ither charms, Hae glamour'd Willie een," and in 1889 one writer makes it plain whence the term arose, "He was wrought upon, bewildered, glamoured (to use a most expressive Scotch phrase) by the remembrance of a sickly dream."

Now you know.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon
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