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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, June 1, 2012

Paeans for peonies


One of the joys of June is the sight of a peony in profligate bloom. It is sure to make anyone feel better, and in fact peonies are named after the ancient Greek word for “doctor”, which came from the name of Paean, the physician of the gods. As time went on, Paean became identified with the god Apollo, to whom hymns of thanksgiving for victory in battle were sung. Since all these songs started with the invocation “O Paean!”, they became known as paeans, and eventually a paean became any expression of praise.

Learn more fascinating facts about the English language in my "Rollicking Story of English" course this fall. Registration is now open. More info here:
http://katherinebarber.blogspot.ca/p/history-of-english-language-courses.html


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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.