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Friday, November 7, 2014

Rabbit Hole Day

Oh look, it’s a cold, grey, wet day BUT it’s FRIDAY! It’s Friday and it’s all bleak, the sky's the color of rocks and pebbles at low tide and my brain's wrapped around random words. You know, it's amazing that I ever get anything done what with the way my mind latches onto stray shiny bits and leaps down every odd rabbit hole that shows up.

Engirt — To girt; to surround or encircle.

But what’s “girt” mean?
Girt [gurt]
1. a simple past tense and past participle of gird1.

Gird [gurd]
verb (used with object)
1. to gibe or jeer at; taunt.
1. a gibe.

Gird can also mean this:
verb (used with object), girded or girt, girding.
1. to encircle or bind with a belt or band.
2. to surround; enclose; hem in.
3. to prepare (oneself) for action: He girded himself for the trial ahead.
4. to provide, equip, or invest, as with power or strength.

Girt can mean this too:
girt [gurt]
1. Carpentry.
a timber or plate connecting the corner posts of an exterior wooden frame, as a braced frame, at a floor above the ground floor.
a heavy beam, as for supporting the ends of rafters.
2. Printing. (in certain hand presses) one of a pair of leather straps having one end fastened to the bed and the other to the rounce, for drawing the bed under the platen.

Huh. Waddya know.

Then there’s Pyx. Cool looking word. I imagined it meant something fairy tale-like. Nope.
Pyx [piks]
1. Ecclesiastical.
the box or vessel in which the reserved Eucharist or Host is kept.
a watch-shaped container for carrying the Eucharist to the sick.
Origin: 1350-1400; Middle English pyxe < Latin pyxis < Greek pyxís a box, orig. made of boxwood

SEE! “pxye” “pyxis” — Pixies!

Quisling [kwiz-ling]
1. a person who betrays his or her own country by aiding an invading enemy, often serving later in a puppet government; fifth columnist.
1940; after Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), pro-Nazi Norwegian leader

I always thought the word meant something like strange person, maybe a magical type being. You know...a PIXIE! Nope.

Fifth Columnist? I’ve seen that a lot and understood what was meant from context but where does it come from?
Fifth column
1. a group of people who act traitorously and subversively out of a secret sympathy with an enemy of their country.
2. (originally) Franco sympathizers in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War: so called in allusion to a statement in 1936 that the insurgents had four columns marching on Madrid and a fifth column of sympathizers in the city ready to rise and betray it.

Oh. OK.

And, by the by, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.