Monday, May 9, 2016

Word of the Week - Bang(s)


I was in middle school when I read L. M. Montgomery's Emily series. And man, did I love those! Even more than the Anne series, and that's saying something. I loved Emily especially, you see, because she was a writer. Need I say more?

Well, in one of those books, Emily has a moment of extreme rebellion and decides to "cut a bang." She'd never liked her high forehead, but her aunt/guardian had always been very strict about modest styles and didn't like these new fashions.

I won't tell you how long it took me to realize that "a bang" was in fact "bangs." It's embarrassing to admit. ;-)

The hairstyle got its name in 1878 and was indeed singular for many years. The etymology of it isn't actually very clear. There's a notion that it's something straight and abrupt--horses sometimes had a "bang-tail." We know that a bang was taken from this notion, but not exactly why the horse's tail was called that to begin with. The best guess is that it ends abruptly, "with a bang" as it were.

The verb to bang, i.e. "strike hard with a loud blow" dates from the 1540s, with the noun form following by the end of the century. Bang-up has been used since the 1830s as a phrase meaning, "excellent, first rate"--probably a shortening of the phrase bang up to the mark.

As for me . . . I have sometimes in my life sworn never to get bangs again . . . and then at other times sworn I would always have them, LOL. At this point I have them, quite happily. And on that oh-so-pivotal thought (guess who has a haircut scheduled for tomorrow so has hairstyles on the brain?), I bid you all a lovely week!


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