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Showing posts from February, 2015

Word of the Month: Fitchews and mitching

Despite what is often thought, Anglo-Norman’s influence on English extends well beyond the domains of the court, the law, and towns, with an interesting number of modern English dialect words ultimately being traceable back to the language of the Norman invaders. Two such are fitchew (“a foumart, polecat”, Mustela putorius ), which the 1896 article in the OED derives from “OF fissel ”, and mitch v., tentatively associated in the same dictionary with Anglo-Norman mucier (AND’s muscer ): “Apparently < Anglo-Norman muscer , muscier , mucer , mucier , muscher and Old French mucier , (chiefly Picardy and north-east.) muchier to hide, conceal (oneself)” ( OED article from 2002). Both words, now, are regional. Mitch is so designated in the OED (“regional”) and the sense which concerns us here (“to absent oneself without authority; ( esp. ) to play truant from school” is described (rather imprecisely) as “now Brit. regional and Irish English ”. Fitchew is not labelled as reg