The 2021 Word Of The Year is…
The adverb behindhand is formed on the analogy of the much earlier beforehand, which dates from the 13th century. Behindhand is especially but not exclusively concerned with monetary transactions, but from early in its history had the sense “out of date, behind the times.” Behindhand entered English in the 16th century.
“Hum!” cried the old gentleman, consulting a watch he carried. “I think we are twenty minutes behindhand.”
I was going to pop in to see if Miss Harner was O.K., but I was a bit behindhand after collecting some flowerpots and a bucket and that what had been blown into our hedge.
a forest of stunted trees near the timber line on a mountain.
The German noun Krummholz, literally “crooked wood,” means “a forest of stunted trees near the timber line; elfinwood.” The German adjective krumm “bent, crooked, warped, stooping, devious” is related to British dialectal words crump “bent, crooked” and crumpback (also crump-back) “hunchback.” The German noun Holz “wood” is related to English holt and Old Norse holt. The Germanic nouns derive from Proto-Germanic hulto-, from keld-, an extended form of the Proto-Indo-European root kel- “to cut, hit.” Keld- is the source of Greek kládos “twig, branch, shoot” (and the English taxonomic term clade), and Slavic (Polish) kłoda “log.” Krummholz entered English in the early 20th century.
A few miles away bare scree-covered slopes protruded from the gnarled krummholz, marking the trail’s maximum height.
I should point out that nowhere are the wabi and sabi palettes of time acting on nature more visible than in the krummholz–the “elfin timber,” gnarled and twisted little trees at treeline that might be a thousand years old …
the name used for the people who live in a particular country, state, or other locality: Two demonyms for the residents of Michigan are Michigander and Michiganian.
The noun demonym is clearly from Greek dêmos “people, common people, common soldiery (as opposed to officers), popular government, democracy, district, country, land.” The second part of the word comes from Greek dialect (Doric, Aeolic) ónyma, a variant of ónoma “name” (the Attic and Ionic dialectal form) and is very common in compounds like antonym and pseudonym. Demonym entered English in the late 20th century.
The word “Hoosier,” which today is the demonym used to describe people from the state of Indiana, is a mystery nearing its second century. It is one of the best-known irregular demonyms for American states, along with “Yankee,” referring to someone from New York (and sometimes expanded from that into the entire Northeast), and “Buckeye,” which refers to someone from Ohio.
Shafik turns his thoughts back to the archaic demonym, Shawam, singular Shami, which is what the native Egyptians called people from a certain part of the Fertile Crescent.