Friday, 11 May 2012
Word To Use Today: punt.
We're well into May, which in England means Spring, the Sweet Spring, the year's pleasant thing...
...or, alternatively, iron grey skies and people peering out through the gloom to report in pleased voices it's only drizzling!
Any punt you see on any English river is likely to be up to its gunnels in rainwater, but they're still pretty things, much associated with the English university towns of Oxford and Cambridge. They're jolly useful for watching the rowing races in May-Week, too (though of course this takes place in June).
'Our river' by George Dunlop Leslie 1888.
I understand that this:
Picture from Wpclipart.
is some kind of football player punting, that is kicking, a ball. It must be a dangerous activity, too, judging by his head-gear. I know rugby players punt the ball, but I don't think this can be a rugby player because if rugby players wore helmets they wouldn't have such squashed faces.
If you're in Britain or NewZealand or Australia you could have a punt on the outcome of the football or the rowing. That sort of a punt is a bet, and it's usually against a bank rather than with a friend.
Not so long ago you might have placed your bet in punts, too. This was the unit of currency in Ireland before they plumped for the excitements of the Euro.
Lastly, the Land of Punt is so deeply mysterious that no one knows whether it was in the Horn of Africa or the Arabian Peninsula, but it sold perfumes to the Ancient Egyptians. This:
is the wife of the King of Punt.
Hm. There's no accounting, is there.
Word To Use Today: punt. The word for boat is an Old English word which comes from the Latin puntō, which means punt or pontoon. The kick sort of punt is perhaps a variation of the dialect word bunt, to push. The bet comes from the French ponte, from Spanish punto and Latin punctum, which mean a point.
The Irish money punt is the Irish form of the word pound, as in sterling.