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a common saying or belief with little current meaning or truth.
Shibboleth “a peculiarity of pronunciation distinguishing one group of people from another” comes from Biblical Hebrew shibbōleth, which occurs in Judges 12:4-6. The Gileadites used the word shibbōleth as a linguistic test to distinguish themselves from the fleeing Ephraimites, who pronounced shibbōleth as sibbōleth. Shibbōleth is translated in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, and in the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, as “ear of grain.” But modern scholars think that shibbōleth means “freshet, a sudden rise in the level of a stream or river, as by heavy rainfall,” because the slaughter of the Ephraimites by the Gileadites took place at the fords of the river Jordan. Shibboleth entered English in the second half of the 14th century in John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible (Wycliffe used the spellings Sebolech and Shebolech).
The shibboleth persists in politics that government can and should be run “like a business.” … It’s pretty clear that governments do not actually operate like business for a vast number of reasons …
Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice, and we welcome “nerves” or any other shibboleth that will cloak our personal desire.
verb (used without object)
to grumble; complain.
The verb grouse originated as a piece of British army slang, and several of its earliest occurrences are in Rudyard Kipling’s Barrack-Room Ballads (1892). Slang terms like grouse are notoriously difficult to etymologize, and grouse is no exception. Scholars have noted, however, a connection between grouse and Old French groucier, groucher, grocier “to grumble, murmur,” source of English grouch, grudge, and grutch (British dialect for grudge). Grouse entered English in the second half of the 19th century.
For everyone who has groused about how slow or spotty their Internet service is at home, William C. Thompson Jr., has a message: Help is on the way.
They and their peers groused constantly about what teenagers always grouse about: that there is “nothing to do.”
reliance on temporary solutions rather than on consistent, long-term plans.
Ad hockery (also spelled ad hocery), “reliance on temporary solutions rather than on consistent, long-term plans,” is a compound of the Latin phrase ad hoc “for this (purpose, occasion)” and the noun suffix –ery; the phrase has an air of frustration or contempt. Ad hockery entered English at the end of the 19th century.
The house was a ramshackle collection of alterations and renovations, ad hockery gone wild.
This is surely one of the perils of histories of this sort — the scavenger-writer can pick through Plato and Aristotle, Montaigne and Hume, Willy Wonka and the script for “Moonstruck” in search of insights on doubt and happiness, boredom and anger, ankle boots versus sandals, but risks losing any narrative thread to ad hockery.