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This blog is about the fascinating, fun, and challenging things about the English language. I hope to entertain you and to help you with problems or just questions you might have with spelling and usage. I go beyond just stating what is right and what is wrong, and provide some history or some tips to help you remember. Is something puzzling you? Feel free to email me at wordlady.barber@gmail.com.
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Friday, December 30, 2011

You're toast

Tomorrow night many of us will be toasting the new year. Oddly enough, this does have something to do with what we eat for breakfast. “Toast” started out in the 1300s meaning, roughly, “suntan”, derived from a Latin word tostare. The “grilled bread” sense cropped up in the 1400s, but at the time “toast” was a piece of bread coated with sugar and spices, grilled, and then dropped into a glass of wine to flavour it. In about 1700, it became popular to mention a lady's name when inviting people to drink, the idea being that thinking of the lady added a special savour to the wine, just as the sweet spicy crouton did.


  1. A toast ?

    Here is to good health and sparkling inspiration!

    Happy New Year!

  2. Very cool!
    Thanks for posting.
    A big toast to you for your entertaining & informative blogs!

  3. A toast to wonderful words. May there be many more in the year to come.

    Thanks for the insights.


About Me

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Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber is an expert on the English language and a frequent guest on radio and television. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Her witty and informative talks on the stories behind our words are very popular. Contact her at wordlady.barber@gmail.com to book her for speaking engagements; she can tailor her talks to almost any subject. She is also available as an expert witness for lawsuits.