Friday, May 4, 2012

quid pro quo

Margaret has claw hands...
Couple of things: Major typo on my part--that's actually from Henry VI, Part 1. That's what I get for inking too fast. Also, this is a bit misleading, because Shakespeare didn't introduce "quid pro quo" into English, he's just the most commonly referred to written early-user of the phrase. Shakespeare is used in different ways by etymologists, it seems; he is used both as proof of a word or phrase's existence at the time (as in this case) and as an originator of a word or phrase.

The radio program is is called "My Word," and I didn't know until recently that they're all re-runs from about thirty to forty years ago. What makes this infuriating is that the radio show started as a straight-up game show with the humor on the margins, but the funny bits were the most popular, so by the end of the show, the made-up word origins material came to dominate. The shows on either end of the history of the program are pretty easy to spot, but there's a big gray area in the middle where the format is shifting subtly. Or at least it feels that way to me. This leads to some unclear bits like the above, where I took an offhanded remark intended to be a bit of "Brit dry wit" and hunted it down like a snipe hunt.

Anyways, this is meant more lightheartedly than some of my more traditional etymologies, enjoy!

Update-- Looking this over the morning after, a typo or two caught my eye, plus I added the background on the radio show.

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