Words with Max Cryer: Eavesdropping, Bastion and Kibosh

Weekend Variety Wireless 17/03/2018
Photo: Getty.

Entertainment legend, national treasure, and resident etymologist Max Cryer answers your questions about the English language.

'Hi, How are ya?'  Well Max is here to settle the debate on whether 'Hi' is short for 'Hello' or 'How are you'?

Well Max is adamant that it is short for 'how are you'

Max says that "you might as well be speaking a foreign language" if you think the greeting means 'hello'.

Earthquake is our first word for the day. Well, the word really shakes things up.

Then we look at what it means to have a cheeky listen, with the word Eavesdropping. Max reckons this comes from the little piece of roof that hangs over the wall - the eave.

People thought that if you stood as close as possible to the eave of a home you could hear all the juicy gossip , because sound would carry down the eves.

Modern building design, materials etc have made such activity impossible because eves have generally been removed.

We have a look at Bastion, Punch and the odd one - Kibosh. Kibosh is to organise a firm and unequivocal stop to something. Its been used in english for 2 centuries . Charles dickens even used it in 1836.

The word didn't start with the English language - and no one can agree which language it comes from.

The origin that is most accepted is that Kibosh is an english adaptation of the french word to decapitate someone. It then adapted to be give it the chop , as in stop something.

Photo: File.

Finally Max looks at the meaning of the term The Fuzz.

Max looks at the options for the words’ origin. The Fuzz was a slang term used in the 1920s, but there is no proof as to where it came from. The one thing everyone agrees, is that Fuzzy Wuzzy the Bear had nothing to do with it.

Listen to the full audio with Max Cryer above.

Weekend Variety Wireless with Ryan Bradley in for Graeme Hill, 8pm - midnight Saturdays and Sundays, on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the Rova app on Android and iPhone.