New Fake Etymologies

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Aug 17 19:11:38 UTC 2005

I dare call these "new" only because a quick Google turned up no other references. (today) :

"'Tightwad' today has the connotation (or did have) of being tight fisted. Again it comes from the use of extra wadding used to hold the ball in place in a muzzle loading gun. Tighter wadding meant a bit less powder could be used as the seal between the powder charge and the ball in front was better and a better explosive force could be developed.

A much older expression 'to pick a quarell' goes back to the days of the crossbow. The quarrell or quareau was an armour peircing bolt used against mounted knights.

The Pope I believe at one time tried to excommunicate Richard The Lionheart because his armies used crossbows which the Pope stated were unchristian. The Lionheart was not excommunicated as he pointed out it was being used against non-christians. I am not sure of the veracity of that story."

Ya gotta love the punchline !  I also like the idea of two medieval guys "picking a quarrel" with crossbows, like high noon on "Gunsmoke."


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