Palmolive Princesses and Mysterious Measures
A fortnight ago I wrote about mixing dishwashing detergent with liquid watercolors to make monoprints on top of oil pastel face drawings. This is a fun example of those nice, clean-smelling preschool pictures.
A "fortnight" does not refer to a night spent in a fort, I'm sorry to say. Hearing that word as a child had such fabulous possibilities... Alas, it has nothing to do with the French Foreign Legion. .. There's no such word as oasisnight, but, ah, what would Maria Muldaur have to say about that? Just to give you a little earworm action!
Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Shadows paintin' our faces
Traces of romance in our heads
Heaven's holdin' a half-moon
Shinin' just for us
Let's slip off to a sand dune, real soon
And kick up a little dust
Shave and a haircut:
"quarter," 1730, in ref. to the Mexican real, a large coin that was divided into eight bits (cf. piece of eight; see piece); hence two-bit (adj.) "cheap, tawdry," first recorded 1929.
related O.E. words bite "act of biting," and bita "piece bitten off," are probably the source of the modern words meaning "boring-piece of a drill" (1594), "mouthpiece of a horse's bridle" (c.1340), and "a piece bitten off, morsel" (c.1000). All from P.Gmc. *biton, from PIE base *bheid- "to split" (see fissure). Meaning "small piece, fragment" is from 1606. Theatrical bit part is from 1926. Money sense in two bits, six bits, etc. is originally from Southern U.S. and West Indies, in ref. to silver wedges cut or stamped from Sp. dollars (later Mexican reals); transferred to "eighth of a dollar."
Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar. All for dictionaries, stand up and holler!
I love you a bushel and peck
A bushel and peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap and I'm talking in my sleep
About you, about you
from "Guys and Dolls"
US bushel plus (1 US peck) = 44.04884 liters
c.1330, measure of capacity containing four pecks or eight gallons, from O.Fr. boissel, probably from boisse, a grain measure based on Gallo-Romance *bostia "handful," from Gaulish *bosta "palm of the hand" (cf. Ir. bass, Bret. boz "the hollow of the hand"). The exact measure varied from place to place and according to commodity, and since c.1374 it has been used loosely to mean "a large quantity or number."
c.1280, "dry measure of one-quarter bushel," of unknown origin; perhaps connected with O.Fr. pek, picot (13c.), also of unknown origin. Chiefly of oats for horses; original sense may be "allowance" rather than a fixed measure, thus perhaps from peck (v.).
"Butter the size of a walnut"
(from several of my grandma's recipes)