This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Friday, 25 October 2019

Word To Use Today: galoshes.

What's the connection between an evil emperor and some waterproof footwear?

Galoshes: ink drawing by David Ring


Word To Use Today: galoshes. This word hasn't changed much in two thousand years, but then as a word it is practically perfect, so that's no surprise. The Old French form of the word, meaning clog, was galoche, and the Latin form was gallicula, Gallic (which means French, more or less) shoe.

File:Converse rubber galoshes, 1910, Converse Rubber Company, Malden, Massachusetts - Bata Shoe Museum - DSC00741.JPG
Galoshes made in 1910 by the Converse Rubber Company, Massachusetts. Photo by Daderot (How about that: Converse!)

Gaius, the little son of the popular Roman general Germanicus and the Emperor Augustus's granddaughter Agrippina, was given the nickname Caligula, small soldier's boot, during a campaign in Germania.

Caligula grew up to be a Roman Emperor. The historians of the period are not particularly to be trusted, but I'm afraid that his name echoes down the centuries as a hideous example of cruelty, luxury, and madness.

But just think how bad-tempered he'd have been if he hadn't been given some little galoshes.

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