Friday 20 November 2009

Unfortunate Names


That's what it said in the Evening Standard. How was I to remember that Ed Balls is the secretary for children of somesuch and that watchdog means something about people who observe standards? It will be a terrible day for headline writers when Balls, Darling et al head off to the great press conference in the sky.

The name should not, though, debar Balls from Downing Street. Kohl, as in Helmut Kohl, means cabbage in German. Indeed, our Teutonic cousins have a saying, Schöne Worte machen den Kohl nicht fett, which literally means fine words grease no cabbages and is the equivalent to that mysterious English proverb Fine words butter no parsnips.

Caesar, from which we derive Kaiser and Czar, meant hairy.

Cicero meant wart.

Hello, Mr Wart


  1. I used to always laugh at the employee cards at the Foodtown (Walmart) I worked in whilst at University.

    Amonst the names were Wayne King , Wayne Kerr and my alltime favourite Cissy Hunt. Great blog. From someone who used to live in Aotearoa.

  2. I never knew New Zealand was called that. There's a completely oblivious Wayne Kerr on Facebook who was befriended by a chap I knew.

  3. And there has been one unfortunately-named Hugh Janus (details recorded in Busty, Slag and Nob End, a book of other such names).