This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Word To Use Today: Sassenach.

So who's a Sassenach?

If you're in Ireland then a Sassenach will probably be someone English.

File:1913, March 9, Man wearing bowler hat, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.jpg

If you're in the Scottish Lowlands then it will also probably be someone English.

If you're in the Scottish Highlands, however, then it will probably mean a Lowlander - though if the speaker is on the West Coast of the Highlands then it might mean someone from Inverness or the Black Isle, or even somewhere further north than that.

Map of Scottish Highlands

Sassenach is a lovely word. All right it's an insult, and most commonly as insulting name for an English person like me, but in the past (and I hope still) it's been described as a friendly insult.

Is there anything more characteristic of fellowship than a friendly insult?

Whether there is or not, here's to fellowship: may it endure forever!

Word To Use Today: Sassenach. This word comes from the Scottish Gaelic Sasunnach from the Latin Saxones, Saxon. It came into English in the 1770s. The Irish plural is, bafflingly, na Sassaniagh.

The Saxons may have derived their name from seax, a kind of knife.

No comments:

Post a Comment