This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Thing Probably Not To Be Today: well-upholstered.

Someone extensively covered in fat, though not to the point where the weight sags under the force of gravity, is termed well-upholstered.

Yes, just like a sofa:

File:American empire style sofa, c. 1820-30, wood, mahogany veneer and brocade upholstery, Dayton Art Institute.JPG
American 1820s sofa. Photo by Wmpearl

Two thoughts occur. First, what a good thing it is that fat spreads itself so neatly over extensive areas of the body rather than appearing as a second nose, or a third ear; and, second, what's upholstery got to do with the sort of holster that holds a gun?

Well, nothing, actually.

Thing Probably Not To Be Today: well-upholstered. In the 1600s an upholster was a small furniture dealer. Why? Well, to uphold a belief is to give support to it, and furniture gives physical support to all of us (I mean, who isn't grateful for cushions?). 

Holster is a different word entirely. It's Dutch, and is related to the Old Norse hulstr, sheath, and the Old English heolstor, darkness.

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