Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Let's take something you are totally not interested in - say, The Dictionary

But did you know that before dictionaries were in the hands of most,
people in England wrote phonetically?

You can see how this would be problematic
when pronunciation of words varied so much within the country,
even within London

(and explains why I have trouble reading old English literary works)

in Wiltshire

Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language (1755) 
is hailed as the first modern English dictionary, 
written with reliable text references and arranged alphabetically, 
instead of by topic as organized previously

It was the standard dictionary for 150 years 
until the Oxford English Dictionary was published in 1928

Taking nearly 50 years to complete,
the OED is the most trusted English language dictionary today, 
revised and updated every three months

In the US, most Americans are familiar with Noah Webster, 
the father of the American Dictionary
{ think Webster Dictionary }

After twenty seven years of writing 
and learning twenty-six languages to evaluate the etymology of words,
Webster published An American Dictionary Of The American Language in 1828

Winston Churchill indulged his passion for writing and painting here at his home, Chartwell

Previously a teacher, Webster found English spelling rules 
unnecessarily complex, too aristocratically British, and with the need to be controlled by the people

Therefore, he intentionally accentuated differences in meaning and pronunciations of some words

One hallmark was altering the spelling of words such as 'colour' with 'color', 'centre' with 'center'
Webster added American words such as 'skunk' and 'squash' not found in English dictionaries

And interestingly, Webster included technical terms from the arts and sciences 
rather than just literary words

Truly transforming American English

At the time, Webster's dictionary was seen as radical and political 
during a time of national identity crisis and instability 
after American independence in 1776

Today, Webster dictionaries sit on the shelves in countless US homes and schools

Who could say the history of the dictionary was dull?

aka English Oak with its lobed (not sharp) leaves

I mention this because my 'Listy Loo' today is filled with
interesting words that hurled me to the nearest dictionary

Let's start with the adorable word, Wendy house

It is a general term for a playhouse, 
named after the house Peter Pan builds for Wendy in J. Barrie's Peter Pan
Love it!

Available from Blue Forest

Wattle and daub is the interweaving of twigs 
plastered with a mixture of clay, lime, water { and sometimes straw } 
to form a wall of a building

England's period timber framed houses were often made of wattle and daub

It became less popular by the 17th and 18th centuries due to 
the popularity of brick and stone construction
the risk of fire
and the problem of criminals breaking through a wall
{ yikes! }

It remains architecturally charming to me

'Wattle and daub' likely used in this timber framed home

Fairy cakes are similar to the American cupcake
often with flat hard icing

by Jessica's Cupcakes in Oxford

I was surprised how the European Robin looks so different from the American one,
so small & dainty and much revered in English folklore

via Wikipedia

The Common Blackbird is unrelated to the obnoxious New World blackbirds

These lackluster birds shine with their absolutely beautiful melodic song in early spring mornings
- a great way to start the day -

via Wikipedia

Not winning any health awards,
I need to try a Chip Butty - a sandwich of french fries
common in Birmingham and northward

via wikiHow

This interesting 'hatted' building is an oast house, designed for drying hops
Not in use anymore, but really picturesque in the Kentish countryside

Oast House at Sissinghurst Castle

During the summer riots in London, I heard the troublemakers referred to as YOBs

You may have noticed this is 'Boy' spelled backward, 
to indicate the antithesis of what a good boy should be
-rude, obnoxious, violent, and stupid -

Apparently it was coined in England in the 18th century 
when it was popular among the upperclass to speak backward 

Yob is still a word used today

I love the idea of speaking backward to indicate an opposite meaning, don't you?
Perhaps my gibberish really means something?

And last, this unusual conifer originates from Chile
 and first planted in England during Victorian times

Its common name, the Monkey Puzzle Tree
was given by a group of friends in Cornwall in 1850 
figuring it would be a puzzle for a monkey to climb

{ although I'm pretty confident monkeys don't live in Chile }

Monkey Puzzle Tree at Leith Hill

I have many many more words on my list, 
but I will stop here
leaving you wondering the meanings of 
haw-haw (ha-ha), cordwainer, and twee

- probably all known by my British readers - 

all photos by me unless otherwise stated


See you Monday for Post Of The Month Club


And click here to see my current giveaway  :)

Have an awesome day!

P.S. Excuse the inconsistent spacing between lines - I've been unable to fix it

Linking to: Monday Rewind