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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, March 22, 2013

Does Palm Sunday have something to do with hands?

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, on which Christians commemorate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, with the crowds lining his way with palm branches, which in the ancient world were given to winners of great victories. Are palm trees and the palm of the hand related? 

Surprisingly, yes. The Romans presumably saw a similarity between the leaves of the tree and a hand with outstretched fingers, and thus named the one after the other (no word, though, on whether the Romans had more fingers on their hands than we do!).

Photo by Nika Akin on Unsplash

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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.