Thursday, January 26, 2012

Know your English !! Part.VIII

Whipping boy: Person who gets blamed for the mistakes of others, especially those more powerful. This phrase goes back to an old aristocratic practice of transferring the punishments intended for a nobleman to an innocent playmate or fellow pupil.

Scapegoat: A person who carries the blame for others is also termed a scapegoat. This term comes from the Israelite practice of confessing sins over the head of a goat which was then released into the wilderness to carry them away- literally an (e)scape(d)goat.

Running the gamut: Covering the entire range of something. The original gamut was the entire series of musical notes, a contraction of the Medieval Latin gamma and ut, the names of the highest and lowest notes of the scale.

Semantics: the study or science of word meaning, including changes of meaning over time and the way that words or sentences convey sense. This word is often used to refer to a difference in the meaning of words, particularly in an argument.

Pseudonym: False or adopted name especially the ‘pen name’ or adopted name, especially the ‘ pen name’ or NOM DE PLUME of an author.

Pulling out all the stops: Putting all one’s energies into pursuing a goal. The phrase is based on organ playing, and refers to the great effort and dexterity required to manipulate the many stops (knobs) while playing.

Anagram: Word or phrase formed by reordering the letters of another word or phrase.
Example: The words pots, tops, spot, stop and opts are all anagrams for one another.

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