It’s Sunday night, there’s nowt on the tellybox and you’re in the mood for a little light entertainment. How about Etymologic “The toughest word game on the internet”. You’re presented with 10 randomly selected etymology or word definition puzzles to solve, such as:
Whence comes the phrase on tenterhooks, which means in a state of uneasy suspense or anxiety?
- USA, 20th Century. In meat packing, beef is aged (tenderized) by hanging on extremely sharp, large steel hooks.
- USA, 19th Century. On the Chautauqua speakers circuit, the tent canvasses were raised using large hooks called tenter hooks.
- An English adulteration of the French, tendre, to touch. In needlework, if a stitcher frequently pricked her finger, she was said to be using tendre hooks, rather than straight needles.
- English. From clothweaving. The first few strands used to start a new fabric bolt are stretched precariously on small hooks or bent nails, called tenter hooks.
Failing that, you could learn to write your name in Elvish in ten minutes.
Finally, I’ve a suspicion that this is a setup but it does make me thank the good Lord that we were too poor to afford video cameras when I was a child.