At work the other day, somebody was saying, "A. has been badgering B. all week, so B called A back...". Although they probably meant that B was being persistently annoyed by A all week, I immediately had an image of A hurling live badgers at B until they got a response. And let's face it, throwing badgers at someone would be annoying. (Not just for the badgers - for the people, too)
I then got thinking about other phrases like this. If you or I are described as being 'dogged by rumours', it could either mean that
a) we are annoyed by stubborn rumours,
or b) that those rumours have actually turned us into a dog.
Although, in the case of b), to be entirely accurate, you would have to say that you or I have been "Beagled by persistent rumours", or "Poodled by persistent rumours," or "Chihuahuaed by persistent rumours," or even "Braque du Bourbonnaised by persistent rumours."
When we 'beaver away' at something, this is commonly understood as applying ourselves to a task with thoroughness and hard work. Though it could mean that we are simply giving birth to beavers while supposedly applying ourselves to the task. "How is the photocopying going, Fred?" someone would ask. "Oh, I'm beavering away," Fred would say as another beaver wriggles out of his shirt. Or, as was recently pointed out to me, you can 'squirrel something away' as well: meaning that you either store it away or put it in charge of an official at the local Squirrel Bank.
And so it goes. People who sell things in the street are sometimes described as 'hawking their wares' (turning them into hawks?) Cowardly people are 'chickens', though I'm not sure how many develop feathers and lay eggs. People who gloat are 'crowing', so it's good to encourage others not to crow too much: otherwise they might turn into one.
And who knows? Maybe there was a time in the development of the English language when burghers in various villages and hamlets and homesteads would throw badgers at one another, or go about beagling or chihuahuaing their friends, or spontaneously give birth to beavers. It's undoubtedly something for the etymologists out there to look into.
Though I wouldn't hedge, or even hedgehog, my bets on it - the currency would have an annoying habit of crawling away (or possibly sprouting foliage.)
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- Nice weather we're having
- Schrödinger's Duck
- The great short shortage
- Pustules of purple Jenkins-shaped fungus
- The person I'm not, and you probably aren't either...
- A moral vacuum
- A street map for getting lost, and how to get the ...
- My day so far, as a conceptual free-verse poem
- Don't hedgehog your bets, and other helpful advice...
- Concrete poetry
- McCrappy Day
- Important breaking news of importance
- Morish sentences
- Not good, not advice
- The bookshelfless
- This is not a word game
- noitnetta ot gnidnatS
- ... and then I did the Thesaurus...
- Exchange of unpleasantries
- More sentences
- What your trousers say about you (behind your back...
- Socks! Socks! Socks!
- A disquisition concerning eggs
- ▼ November (24)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)