This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Sunday Rest: Birmingham. Word Not To Use Today

Mrs Elton, in Jane Austen's masterpiece Emma*, is a dreadful woman. She is snobbish, conceited, vindictive, manipulative, unavoidable, uncaring, asinine and self-righteous.

I'm wondering, though, if perhaps in her blundering stupidity she might have got one thing right.

'One has no great hopes of Birmingham,' she says. 'I always say there is something direful in the sound.'

And, though Birmingham is full of valuable people:

ELO - Time Tour 81-82.jpg
ELO. Photo by TyrystorELO 

 and civic wonders:

St Martin's church and Selfridges department store in the Bull Ring
St Martin's Church, The Bull Ring, and Selfridges Store. Photo by GavinWarrins

 I can't help but think in that direful she was actually on to something.

Word Not To Use Today: Birmingham. (The British Birmingham is pronounced BERming'm.) The word comes from Beormingahām, which means the home or settlement of the Beomingas, who were the people of Beorma. Beorma in Old English means frothy or fermented (as in the head on beer) and is the same word as our modern word barmy.

*Not that I am seeking to suggest Jane Austen only wrote one masterpiece.

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