Tuesday, February 10, 2009

amity, dance, jumbo

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In the Grove.

A woman, walking on her own past a dress shop, stops suddenly when something that appeals to her catches her eye; and, almost as though to save her balance, does a little, involuntary dance in front of the window.

Jumbo is strange word. Its origin, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is unknown, but it can be traced back to the name of an elephant in the London zoo sold in 1882. Since then it applies to almost anything big from jets to outsize hens eggs. Today, at the health food shop in the High Street, the porridge oats which we usually have for breakfast are sold out. So I buy "jumbo oats" instead. What's the difference? I ask. They are the same; just bigger, I'm told.


Zhoen said...

I'm guessing the name came from mumbo jumbo. Then strongly associated with a huge elephant, the word fit as a synonym for "big" and it stuck.

tristan said...

i trust the porridge will be cooked in a large black cauldron above blazing sticks arranged like the spokes of a wheel, and stirred with something like a paddle