Yet Again: Words (2)

More intriguing words:

Rig: According to Oxford Languages, rig as a verb means to make a sailing ship or boat ready for sailing by providing it with sails and rigging. As a noun, it means the particular way in which a sailboat’s masts, sails, and rigging are arranged. It also means an apparatus, device, or piece of equipment designed for a particular purpose, e.g., a lighting rig. Its derivation is obscure. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it’s probably from a Scandinavian source like the Danish-Norwegian rigge “to equip” or the Swedish rigga “to rig, harness.” Perhaps it’s ultimately from Proto-Indo-European reig- “to bind.”

Mettle: a person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way, according to Oxford Languages, usually used with “true,” as in “the team showed their true mettle in the second half.” The Online Etymology Dictionary says that the word first showed up in the 1580s as a variant spelling of metal. Both forms of the word were used interchangeably (by Shakespeare and others) in the literal sense and in the figurative one of “stuff of which a person is made, (a person’s) physical or moral constitution” (1550s), hence “natural temperament,” specifically “ardent masculine temperament, spirit, courage” (1590s). The spellings diverged in the early eighteenth century, and “mettle” took the figurative meaning.

Nerd: Oxford Languages defines “nerd” as a person who is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a particular subject, especially one of specialist or niche interest, as in “an unabashed film nerd.” The Online Etymology Dictionary says the term originated in 1951 as a U.S. student slang term, probably an alteration of 1940’s slang “nert”—stupid or crazy person, which was itself an alteration of “nut.” The word turns up in Dr. Seuss’s 1950 book If I Ran the Zoo, which may have contributed to its rise.

Portfolio: Oxford Languages says the word means a large, thin, flat case for loose sheets of paper such as drawings or maps, or by extension, a range of investments held by a person or organization. The Online Etymology Dictionary says that the origin is the Italian porta, imperative of portare, to carry, and foglio—sheet, leaf, from Latin folium.

Klatch: Merriam-Webster says the word means a gathering characterized by informal conversation, as in “coffee klatch.” The Online Etymology Dictionary says the word was first used in 1953. It derives from the seventeenth century German Klatsch meaning gossip, which in turn is said in German sources to be imitative of klatschen, to clap hands.

More when the spirit moves me.

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