[Loch-ruadh] Today's Word, Feb. 4

Sonja Crocker sonja_crocker at usa.com
Mon Feb 4 16:59:55 PST 2002


Drunken.  Said of a man who drinks till the liquor can be heard swilking about in his stomach.
-- Francis Taylor's Folk-Speech of South Lancashire, 1901

[From] swilk, the noise made by liquid in a partially-filled vessel.
--Josheph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1896-1905

Two thousand years ago, February was the time of Parentalia, a Roman purification festival.  The birthstone associated with February is the amethyst, whose linguistic root, amet, derived from Greek and Latim, meant "not to be intoxicated."  This purplish mineral was believed from early times to prevent drunkenness and its effects.  To this end, drinking chalices of wealthy Roman men were sometimes encrusted with this gemstone, often at their wives' behest.

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