WORD POWER

NEW WOMAN, October 1986




Things That Go Bump in the Night

1.  The -een in "Halloween" comes from
evening. The hallow comes from the word for
a. saint.
b. holiday.
c. haunted.
2. Who had the first jack-o'-lantern?
a. manufacturer John Oliver Lanthorn.
b. the devil Beelzebub.
c. dead man named Jack.
3. The frightening gargoyle sculptures
seen on medieval buildings are
a. Tasmanian devils.
b. gutter spouts.
c. symbolic guardians.
4. Goblins are demons that live in
a. Oak forests.
b. holes in the ground.
c. typesetting machines.
5. In its original sense, someone who
     was a pagan was not a
a. soldier.
b. peasant.
c. citizen.
6. The wer in werewolf means
a. once.
b. spirit.
c. man.
7. Bonfire comes from a word in
a. French, that meant “good.”
b. Old English, that meant “forbidden.”
c. Anglo-Saxon, that meant “bone.”
8. The word macabre, which we use to
describe the ghastly, comes from
a. a popular dance.
b. an unspeakable practice.
c. an ugly king.
9. Anything that is chimerical is
a. fearful.
b. resounding.
c. unreal.
10. A ghost is an all-around spirit, but a
ghoul has a special purpose: to
a. rob graves.
b. poison food.
c. kidnap children
11. Vampires an a literary invention,
but Dracula was real. He was
a. Bela Lugosi.
b. Vlad Tepes.
c. Radu Lupu.
12. The will-o'-the-wisp, seen hovering
over marshes, is a synonym for a
a. lost cause.
b. false hope.
c. dead end.



ANSWERS
1. (a) The 0ld English word halig meant "one who is holy." Allhallow Even is the evening before All Saints' Day (Allhallows).
2. (c) According to the legend, Jack the Blacksmith tricked the Devil so well that he was not even allowed into Hell. He wanders the earth, lighting his way with one of Hell's coals in a hollowed-out turnip.
3. (b) The role of the gargoyle (from the French gargouille, "waterspout") is to carry rainwater away from the roof.
4. (b) Goblin comes from Kobold, the German name for the demon of mines. The element cobalt was named after him.
5. (a) The Latin word pagus refers to a district, but paganus meant both citizen and peasant. In the Roman army, pagan (PAY-gun) became a term of contempt that was applied to the slackers who didn't enlist, then changed to mean a heathen, or one who was not a soldier of Christ.
6. (c) Wer is Old English, derived from the Latin vir, meaning “man” (as in virile)
7. (c) Bonfires were once funeral pyres. The earliest ones may have involved human sacrifices.

8. (a) Macabre (mah-KAH-bruh) comes from the French danse Macabré, (dance of death). The original dance may have been a religious performance depicting the slaughter of the Maccabees, a Biblical Jewish family.
9. (c) Imaginary, fantastic, visionary from the Chimera (ki-MIR-uh) of Greek mythology, a fire-breathing monster composed of a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail.
10. (a) Ghoul (gool), which once meant “spirit,” became the name of a profession in the days when medical schools had trouble obtaining subjects for dissection classes.
11. (b) Vlad Tepes (TSEP-pesh) was a Transylvanian ruler who was given the nickname Dracula (devil) because he murdered so many people.
12. (b) Will (of the wisp) is sometimes confused with Jack (of the lantern) because he carries a burning bundle of twigs (as in whisk). If you are foolish enough to follow him, he will lead you astray.


Copyright © 1986, 2004  William Dyckes

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