Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Why We Say: #9–Bringing On More B

Wait! Wait! We interrupt our regular programming for this late breaking news flash: Mike Allegra is running ANOTHER free doodle contest. This is a not to be missed event. Check out the details at his WordPress site:

We now return to our regular programming…

Last time I spotlighted the B section, concerning “Why We Say”, and I shall continue, since it is an absolute bounty to B-hold.

image: Nothing like a brand new item fresh from the fires of shopping

Brand New
I like to frequent thrift shops; I don’t mind the slightly used, and often  thrill over the serendipitous find. On the other hand, I do appreciate owning the brand new. Rifting through the racks, securing a purchase, and slinging my sack home–MMM, new treasure. This little book has helped me to learn the true meaning of the phrase “brand new” and it gives me pause. I first thought it might refer to the company who makes the product, as in the type, the brand.  It seems “brand” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for “fire.” When blacksmiths forged metal products they would stamp in their mark, their brand. However, over time the mark would fade due to use and the item would no longer be “brand new.” So when my new treasure fades away it’s time for me to fire up my card and search for another brand-new-to-me something, right?

image: “hey man, can you spare some bread?”

“Quit loafing around, and get going on your homework. Get it done and you can go to the movies tomorrow.” Or some such form of bribery is said by Party B to get Party A motivated. Bribery. It’s not necessarily nestled amidst residents of the “nice” or “positive” words list. Officials caught accepting bribes make headlines. People are sometimes insulted if offers (thinly veiled “bribes”) are considered above or beneath them. Yet, you have admit bribes do serve as a motivator. Way back when, Europe perhaps, people hanging out looking for a hand out were a problem needing a solution. Wah La! Credit the French for the fix. “If you move on, you’ll receive a loaf of bread.” The French archaic term for such a form of motivator was “bribe.” So if someone is loafing around slip them some bread, presidential or whole wheat–your call.

image: Whiny brokers, in the original sense, of course, do not rock.

If you watch Hollywood movies, there is an association of stock brokers being well-versed in wining and dining to win over clients. This isn’t too far from the origin of “broker” and again we credit the French. The word “broker” once meant “one who opens wine kegs.” Later that person would sell said wine, and even act as an agent in other transactions. So when people whine to their broker about how their lackluster portfolio is, it’s all relative.

Next time we continue on with another bounty of words and origins.


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6 thoughts on “Why We Say: #9–Bringing On More B

  1. I always love these word origin things. I can never remember them, but I like them.

    • Some of the origins are way out there in making sense and others make perfect sense. I could easily start a new blog on word or phrase origins. It’s fun being a word nerd.

  2. But what is the origin of “ballot?” 😉

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