February 2018


As you’d expect, this means a small planet. But it also refers to the bits and bobs (that’s the technical term) which can come together to make up a planet. Apparently there’s a theory that that’s how the earth was formed. Called, rather unimaginatively, the planetesimal hypothesis, it states that planets form out of cosmic dust grains that collide then stick together to form larger bodies.

Etymology AND science? I know, spoil you.


This is an old word for manacles or fetters, and cropped up in a book I’m reading at the moment (no, not ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ – it’s a medieval murder mystery-type thing called ‘Beloved Poison’ by E.S. Thomson which my sister bought me purely because she liked the cover). A not-very-in-depth internet search tells me that ‘gyves’ possibly comes from the Welsh ‘gefyn’ for ‘fetter’ or ‘shackle’, or the Irish ‘geibbionn’ (‘fetters’) or ‘geimheal’ (‘fetter’, ‘chain’, ‘shackle’).

PS Had I remembered to post this yesterday, you would have got a nice fluffy, lovey-dovey word for Valentine’s Day. Although if you’re reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ then maybe manacles are your idea of romance...


This is American slang which seems to date back to the early 20th century. And that's all I got folks – the etymology is surprisingly hard to find. This leads me to think that it’s just what it says on the tin – that to enter an event without an invite you have to literally crash through the gate. Maybe?