Welcome to the Wordlady blog!

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.
You can also order my best-selling books, Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to do With Pigs and Only in Canada You Say. Fun and informative!


Subscribe! Fun facts about English delivered weekly right to your inbox. IT'S FREE! Fill in your email address below.
Privacy policy: we will not sell, rent, or give your name or address to anyone. You can unsubscribe at any point.

Follow by email

Search This Blog

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More linguistic anachronism in Downton Abbey

"Sod this! I'm bushed!" announced Jimmy the footman as he audaciously plumped himself down into one of the drawing room chairs at Downton in the final episode of Season 3. (Yes, yes, I know there were more startling and upsetting things that happened in the episode.)
Would a young Yorkshireman have said this circa 1920?
Highly unlikely!
Until recently, British dictionaries were labelling the "tired" sense of "bushed" as North American only, then "esp. North American". The two most recent editions of the Oxford Dictionary of English no longer label it, so I guess it has now made its way into British English.
But it certainly is North American in origin, having been used since the 1870s. Perhaps Jimmy picked it up from that racy maid of Cora's mother's.
For more linguistic anachronisms in Downton, see this post.
For another Downton-inspired post, on the word "valet", please click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
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.