I’m fascinated by words, and how they arrived in our everyday language; sometimes it’s quite obvious, you can guess they were Old English of one sort or another or  came from another language – especially Latin, not just brought by the Romans, but as used in the church and monasteries, and law etc, or French as brought by the Normans.

The other day I used the word quandary (and I confess I had to check the spelling because I thought it was ‘quandry‘ – and me an English teacher!) and I thought it must come from Latin, maybe via French, so I looked it up.  Actually, it just arrived some time in the sixteenth century, and although it might have come from Latin ‘quando’ meaning when, it’s more likely to have been what the Online Etymology Dictionary describes as ‘a quasi-Latinism’.

There are plenty of synonyms for it:

  • bewilderments
  • bind
  • Catch-22
  • clutch
  • corner
  • delicate situation
  • difficulty
  • dilemma
  • double trouble
  • doubt
  • embarrassment
  • hang-up
  • impasse
  • mire
  • perplexity
  • pickle
  • plight
  • predicament
  • puzzle
  • spot
  • strait
  • uncertainty
  • up a tree

… and that’s a shortened version of the list I found!

‘Quando’ made me think of the song… Connie Francis, born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, sings ‘Quando, quando, quando’


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.