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Topic: Old sayings and their roots

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MrNubbz

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2019, 10:23:55 AM »
Many of our military terms are directly from the French language
Does that include skedaddle,surrender or retreat? ;D
"The problem with the Rat Race is,even if you win you're still just a Rat" - Lily Tomlin

Cincydawg

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2019, 10:26:32 AM »
c. 1300, "a step backward;" late 14c., "act of retiring or withdrawing; military signal for retiring from action or exercise," from Old French retret, noun use of past participle of retrere "draw back," from Latin retrahere "draw back, withdraw, call back," from re- "back" (see re-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)). Meaning "place of seclusion" is from early 15c.; sense of "establishment for mentally ill persons" is from 1797. Meaning "period of retirement for religious self-examination" is from 1756.

MrNubbz

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2019, 10:29:10 AM »
So your mentally ill if you retire for religious self-examination?
"The problem with the Rat Race is,even if you win you're still just a Rat" - Lily Tomlin

CWSooner

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2019, 10:26:34 PM »
The term "shrapnel" comes from the name of an English officer, Major (later General) Henry Shrapnel.

The term "flak" is German in origin.

The term "blitzkrieg" was not used by the Germans.  What they employed we'd call "combined arms warfare" today.

The French had more and heavier tanks than did the Germans in 1940, plus the Maginot Line, and the BEF.

Napoleon and Hitler both invaded Russia on June 22.  

Many of our military terms are directly from the French language, enfilade and fort and ambush, for example.

The Britons who inhabited "England" after the fall of the Roman Empire were pushed west by the Saxons and Jutes and Angles who created "Engaland" over time.  Many of the Britons moved to a peninsula on the French coast we now call Brittany, inhabited by Bretons.  The Saxons were then pushed around by the Danes over time into one remaining kingdom, Wessex, which was saved by Alfred the Great, the only English kind called "the Great".  Over time, Wessex consolidated England into a country until 1066 when it was invaded by a "Frenchman" from Normandy., Guillaume le Conquerant".  We call him Bill.  He became King of England and a vassal to the King of France at the same time, which led to all sorts of ructions over the next 800 years.

The terms Tsar or Czar and Kaiser come from the name Caesar.
"Flak" is short for "flugabwehrkanone": aircraft defense cannon.
"Stuka" is short for "sturzkampfflugzeug": dive-bomber.
The Germans have a way with contractions.
The Germans in 1940 had radios in every tank, so the small-unit commanders could communicate with their subordinates while "buttoned up."  The French tanks did not.  Only the commanders got radios in their tanks, so they had to communicate with their subordinates using signal flags or hand-and-arm signals.  The Germans could react to changes in the situation much more quickly than the French.  This reflected the preferred operational art of the two armies.  The Germans thought in terms of fluid battles where speed and flexibility were important and the goal was to find weak points, penetrate them, and exploit the enemy rear.  The French thought in terms of set-piece battles on linear battlefields where they could keep everything in front of them.
William the Conqueror was a descendant of Vikings (Norsemen) who began raiding the area later named after them (Normandy) in the 8th century.
The Vikings and their descendants loved living in the warmer places they conquered, like Normandy, Sicily, and southern Russia.

Per Wikipedia, the Font of All Wisdom and Knowledge:

"The cognomen "Caesar" originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor who was born by Caesarean section (from the Latin verb to cut, caederecaes-).[10] The Historia Augusta suggests three alternative explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair (Latin caesaries); that he had bright grey eyes (Latin oculis caesiis); or that he killed an elephant (caesai in Moorish) in battle.[11] Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored this interpretation of his name."

My H.S. Latin teacher favored the first explanation, and said that a rough translation of "Caesar" could be the English name "Butcher."
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 10:35:24 PM by CWSooner »

Cincydawg

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2019, 04:23:06 AM »
Rollo was the Northman who kept raiding France up the Seine River.  Finally the French King agreed he could have Normandy if he pledged fealty to the king, which he did.  William came along a bit later, a bastard I think.  I visited his castle in Falaise, home of the infamous Falaise Pocket.

So, the English language has influences from Latin, Old French, newer French, Old German, Celtic, and Scandanavian, and who knows what else.

I am slowly learning French and am amazed how many terms we have in common.  It's encroyable.


MrNubbz

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2019, 09:05:00 AM »
Rollo was the Northman who kept raiding France up the Seine River.  Finally the French King agreed he could have Normandy if he pledged fealty to the king, which he did.  William came along a bit later, a bastard I think.  I visited his castle in Falaise, home of the infamous Falaise Pocket.
That the fookin' mongrel Monty halted Gen's Patton's and Haislip's from closing (Aug 13) because the BEF needed a headline and a morale boost.Then the Canadians and BEF didn't finally close until Aug 22.Which is no big deal if you don't mind these 50-125,000 soldiers fighting later at Market Garden and in the Ardennes.Costing God knows how many more casualties and extending the war.Oh and Good Morning CD
"The problem with the Rat Race is,even if you win you're still just a Rat" - Lily Tomlin

MrNubbz

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2019, 01:26:46 PM »
Quote
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[font=Segoe UI, Segoe UI Web (West European), Segoe UI, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, sans-serif]The kids filed into class Monday morning.  They were all very excited  Their weekend assignment was to sell something, then give a talk on salesmanship.  Little  Sally led off.  "I sold Girl Scout cookies and I made $30" she said proudly.  "My sales approach was to appeal to the customer's civic spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious success."

"Very  good," said the teacher.

Little Debbie was next.  "I sold magazines," she said.  "I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events."

"Very good, Debbie," said the teacher.

Eventually it was Little Johnny's turn.  The teacher held her breath.  Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher's desk. "$2,467," he said.

"$2,467!" cried the teacher, "What in the world were you selling?"

"Toothbrushes," said Little Johnny.

"Toothbrushes," echoed the teacher.  "How could you possibly sell enough toothbrushes to make that much money?"

I  found the busiest corner in town," said Little Johnny.  "I set up a Dip & Chip stand and I gave everybody who walked by a free sample."  They all said the same thing, "Hey, this tastes like dog shit."  I would say, "It is dog shit.  Wanna buy a toothbrush?" 

 
I used the politicians method of giving you some crap, dressing it up so it looks good, telling you it's free and then making you pay to get the bad taste out of your mouth.

Little  Johnny got five stars for his assignment.
[/font]
[/color]
"The problem with the Rat Race is,even if you win you're still just a Rat" - Lily Tomlin

bwarbiany

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2019, 07:26:11 PM »
The Britons who inhabited "England" after the fall of the Roman Empire were pushed west by the Saxons and Jutes and Angles who created "Engaland" over time.  Many of the Britons moved to a peninsula on the French coast we now call Brittany, inhabited by Bretons.  The Saxons were then pushed around by the Danes over time into one remaining kingdom, Wessex, which was saved by Alfred the Great, the only English kind called "the Great".  Over time, Wessex consolidated England into a country until 1066 when it was invaded by a "Frenchman" from Normandy., Guillaume le Conquerant".  We call him Bill.  He became King of England and a vassal to the King of France at the same time, which led to all sorts of ructions over the next 800 years.

Interesting... I have a coworker whose name is Guillermo, but goes by Bill. I always wondered how the two were related.

CWSooner

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2019, 11:26:37 AM »
Interesting... I have a coworker whose name is Guillermo, but goes by Bill. I always wondered how the two were related.
Guillaume is the French equivalent of William.  Guillermo is the same name in Italian.

Cincydawg

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2019, 11:44:33 AM »
Yeah, in French, it's pronounced something like "Gee-ohm" with a hard G.  I have a friend in Cincy with that name.  He's also from Normandy.

We stayed at a wonderful B&B run by parents of a friend of his in Flottemanville on the peninsula.  I was chatting with the owner and he told me a story about how Dick Winters saved his grandfather.  He had newspaper articles of the two of them meeting up after the war.  He had no real idea who Dick Winters was now.

We're headed back that way in May, but to Brittany which the wife claims is wonderful.    We're touring with two couples from there.  I've only seen the eastern parts like Mont St. Michel and La Baule and a bit around there.

I'd like to see Brest and St. Malo but I'm told there is little left from the war.  We often don't appreciate how much we bombed France, and of course some of our earliest combat in WW II was against French soldiers.

Cincydawg

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2019, 11:50:47 AM »
https://frenchtogether.com/french-words-in-english/

Other common French words used in English



The vocabulary of warfare and the military include many words of French origin (battaliondragoonsoldiermarinegrenadierguardofficerinfantrycavalryarmyartillerycorvettemusketeercarabineerpistolfusiliersquadsquadronplatoonbrigadecorpssortiereconnaissance/reconnoitresurrendersurveillancerendezvousespionagevolleysiegeterraintroopcamouflagelogisticsmatérielaccoutrementsbivouaclatrineaide-de-camplegionnairemoraleesprit de corpscordon sanitaire). This includes military ranks: corporalsergeantlieutenantcaptaincolonelgeneraladmiral. Many fencing terms are also from French.

CWSooner

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2019, 12:05:33 PM »
CD:

It may be difficult for someone who knows nothing about military history to believe, but once upon a time, when armies were becoming larger and the need for terminology also expanding, French armies--Napoleon's armies--were the standard of the world.

I have thought that "admiral" originated as an Arabic word, and came into European use through Spain.

P.S. Per the Font of All Wisdom and Knowledge:

Quote
Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM". The rank is generally thought to have originated in Sicily from a conflation of Arabicأمير البحر‎, amīr al-baḥr, "commander of the sea", with Latin admirabilis[1] ("admirable") or admiratus ("admired"), although alternative etymologies derive the word directly from Latin, or from the Turkish military and naval rank miralay. The French version – amiral without the additional d – tends to add evidence for the Arab origin.

Cincydawg

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2019, 03:54:39 PM »
As you know, Napoleon adopted tactics suited for conscripts not well trained, while the British army - far smaller - was highly trained.  I'm told at Waterloo the British soldiers killed were in lines where they fought and died, or in square.  The British ability to maneuver was superb.   Wellington's Peninsula Campaigns were as close to brilliant as any in history I think.

"mid 18th century (as a noun in the sense ‘tactical movement’): from French manœuvre (noun), manœuvrer (verb)"

The French military today is more of a punchline, but not well deserved when you go back in time, like Battle of Tour, one of the most significant in Western history.  That one really put the hammer on the "Moors" (Umyyads).


CWSooner

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #43 on: March 20, 2019, 11:16:37 AM »
Yep.  British lines and squares vs. French massed columns, preceded by massed artillery fire.

Napoleon wasn't at his best at Waterloo.  Nor were his subordinates.  He was ill and issued unclear orders.  Meanwhile, they continually let him down, what with Grouchy's uninspired "pursuit" of the Prussians that took him out of the battle while letting the Prussians rejoin it, and Ney losing control of himself and acting like a brigadier rather than a Marshal of France.

Napoleon's tactics really came a cropper when they were applied in the age of rifle fire, like in the American Civil War.

When I was teaching at Leavenworth, we published a book subtitled That Fatal Knot (available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Compound-Warfare-That-Fatal-Knot/dp/141021530X), which was what Napoleon called Spain.  The book was on fortified compound warfare, and Wellington's Peninsula Campaign was one of the prime examples.

Since this thread is ostensibly about old sayings and their roots, it's worth noting that the term "Old Guard" comes from Napoleon's army, of course.

Riffraft

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #44 on: March 20, 2019, 12:38:56 PM »
Heard one the other day "it is time to pay the piper" Never considered where is came from before then, but figure it must come from the Pied Piper of Hamlet story.

Cincydawg

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2019, 02:22:34 PM »
The rifled bore was a major change in military operations, obviously, followed not long thereafter with rapid firing breech loading rifles and cartridges.

The French 75 was a significant development, as were of course "tanks", called "Char" in French (after chariot) and panzer in German.

We got to tour part of the Maginot line.  Every tiny village in France has an obelisk with names on it from those KIA in WW I.  I've been in tiny places where they had 50-60 names on the memorial.  The French lost almost the entire generation.  By 1935, their demographics were horrible, and Maginot realized he needed fortifications to enable fewer men to man a longer area between France and Germany, the actual border.  The line of course "worked" on a tactical basis.  The French strategy was to fight the war on the defensive AND in Belgium, as northern France was heavily damaged in the first war.  They adhered to that concept, fine concept as it was, except that the Germans (Manstein) had other ideas.

Had the Germans continued with their modified Schlieffen plan, it's likely the war in France would have lasted quite a bit longer.  Make sure the Right is strong!

CWSooner

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Re: Old sayings and their roots
« Reply #46 on: March 25, 2019, 02:25:18 PM »
From the Font of All Wisdom and Knowledge:
"Hoist with his own petard" is a phrase from a speech in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet that has become proverbial. The phrase's meaning is literally that the bomb-maker (a "petard" is a small explosive device) is blown up ("hoisted" off the ground) by his own bomb, and indicates an ironic reversal, or poetic justice.
The phrase occurs in a central speech in the play in which Hamlet has discovered a plot on his life by Claudius and resolves to respond to it by letting the plotter be "Hoist with his own petard." Although the now-proverbial phrase is the best known part of the speech, it and the later sea voyage and pirate attack are central to critical arguments regarding the play.
The phrase, and its containing speech, exist in only one of three early printed versions of the play — the second quarto edition — and scholars are divided on whether this is indicative of authorial intent, or a mere artefact of playhouse practicalities.

 

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