Upheaval

This is another word I am fond of, but I’m not entirely sure why.

The root word here is ‘heave’ which means to lift or pull something heavy and implies considerable effort. So, the movement may be upwards or simply at the same level.

The workmen heaved the last of the beams up to the second floor.

But we also use it to make a sound in conjunction with our breathing.

Ellie heaved a sigh of relief when she saw her cat was safe and sound.

For the scatologically minded heave up means to vomit.

heave up

Juan started heaving up overboard once the yacht struck rolling seas.

Heave in geology means a sideways movement or shift in the earth.  So, not surprisingly, upheaval (the verb form upheave doesn’t exist) can refer to the shifting up of land in an earthquake.

upheaval

The quake caused noticeable upheavals in marshlands creating small new islands.

The most common use though is to describe a disturbance, change or disruption to something in society.

There has been a major upheaval in the airline industry with the merger of the top two airlines and the declared bankruptcy of the third.

The US underwent a number of social upheavals in the 60s and 70s with the Civil Rights movement and the hippies.

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Kiosk

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This word seems to have more shades of meaning than most. So what do you regard as a kiosk?  For the British, it is a small open-sided shop selling newspapers, sweets or cigarettes.

In the park there is a kiosk selling ice-creams and refreshments.

kiosk 3

In Turkey and the Middle East it was the name of an open summer house or outdoor structure like a pavilion, again for serving refreshments. Some became bandstands.

kiosk 2

Now, it is being used to describe the booth or cabin in a bank where you can do transactions on a computer. Apparently, the interactive computer screens in malls where you can hunt for types of shops, etc are also known as kiosks.  This usage presumably derives from that of an information kiosk or booth.

In Argentina, the word has been extended to describe something like the sweet kiosk but probably offering a wider range of food and drink and also anything you might need urgently like condoms, lighters and batteries. Not quite a drug store, a corner store or a dairy (in NZ English) but going that way. In some, you can reload your travel card and even pay bills. Some describe themselves as maxikiosks and open 24 hours a day.

The word is of Turkish origin.

 

Snarl up

A strange verb often found when describing traffic jams or bottlenecks.

snarl up

There is a snarl up on the expressway north of the city.  Traffic is banked up for 3 kilometres.

The idea behind it is that of something being twisted up and not flowing freely.

The fishing lines tend to get snarled up on the rocks if you don’t cast out far enough.

Snarl by itself is perhaps more commonly used for the growling sound an angry dog uses.

snarl

As the stranger approached, my dog started snarling warning me that something was not right about this person.

 

Kippers and Ukippers

kipper

A kipper is a very British term. A fish, usually a herring, preserved in salt and then smoked. Kippers seemed to be a popular breakfast dish at one point and presumably were very practical and long lasting. I don’t really remember them growing up in New Zealand, as we don’t have herrings for a start and fish smoked to a leathery quality was not so common. So, I suspect, kipper is a word that is not well known to much of the English speaking world.

ukipper

Now there is a reminder of them in the term Ukipper which you see in articles about British politics.  It refers to a member of the UK Independence Party which was one of the leading protagonists in Brexit or the idea of getting Britain out of Europe. Ukippers are regarded as having very particular views that often cause mirth or exasperation  in others.

Did you know that Gaz is a Ukipper? Saw him being interviewed at a meeting on television the other night!

The photo is of their most famous leader Nigel Farage.

Sheeple

sheeple

This blended or portmanteau word seems to be gaining ground fast if online news and websites are any indication.  Obviously it is a mix of sheep and people and describes the masses that are easily led, relatively unthinking and undiscerning. Conformists and obedient.

Let’s put the mistake the army made with the bomb down to terrorism and the sheeple will believe it.

Taylor Swift started wearing lederhosen and, like sheeple, all the teenage girls and boys have gone out to buy a pair.

There is an older term “lemmings” which was in fairly common use.

Whatever the head of the club said, the fans went and did it like a bunch of lemmings.

lemmings

Apart from the fact that most people have a very vague idea of a lemming (it is a rodent, similar to a vole), the characteristic of being a lemming was rushing blindly into destructive behaviour like throwing yourself off a cliff.  So I guess being likened to a sheep is a little more benign.

 

The Sandman

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Let’s look this time not at sandboys but at the sandman. Traditionally, the sandman is a figure that comes to sprinkle dust into children’s eyes to bring on sleep and dreams. He appears in various folklores and was used by Hans Christian Andersen in his tales. More recently there has been a very successful comic book by Neil Gaiman with the usual spin-offs.

I don’t know if people still refer to him to persuade children to sleep. I can’t say I was ever convinced.

Children, lights out and eyes closed or the Sandman will get you!

Songs include Enter Sandman by Metallica and the catchy Mr Sandman sung by various artists including Bette Midler and Emmylou Harris.

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A movie based on the comic books has been in development for some years and seems to be plagued with delays and problems.

As happy as a sandboy

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I was reminded of this as I bobbed around in the sea in Brazil the other weekend. I do love swimming in the ocean and I thought that if I could describe the feeling it would be as happy as a sandboy.

So, where does it come from? I had no idea. Internet sources say that the phrase actually originated in Bristol, not a place I ever associated with much sand. However, apparently in the 19th century there were some caves there that were the source of sand and that perhaps the phrase refers to the workers who carried the sand out of there. After a long day’s work, they couldn’t be happier than when they got a beer.  The phrase “As jolly as a sandboy” appeared in Dickens, but apart from that this expression seems to have been passed down by people in their own families.

As happy as a sandboy actually means to be in a state of blissful contentment and the North Americans have a version,  as happy as a clam.  More sand. Interestingly, the full idiom is “As happy as a clam in high water”.  This is because in high water was less likely to be harvested than at low tide.

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I can’t say I identify much with clams so I’ll take the sandboy version!