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.
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  1. Hello Katherine,

    We are really enjoying your course at Glendon LLIR. It is exceptionally interesting and very informative....along with lots of fun! I had a question.... Some of my ancestors lived at a place called Stonehanger, at Abbotts Ann Down in Hampshire, England. They were in the area for over 150 years, so it is very interesting to us. I looked on the Hampshire Gazetteer and the name Stonehanger was a farm in the 1600's. I believe that the word hanger means a steep slope or hill. In the case of our Stonehanger, there isn't a hill close to the property, but Danebury iron Age Hill Fort is about 2 miles away, and Bury Hill Fort even closer. id there another source or meaning for the word hanger/anger? Maybe it has nothing to do with a steep slope in this case. Thanks! Don and Judy Fleming

    1. Since place names often derive from physical features, the old sense of hanger = woods on a steep slope is the most likely source. Perhaps the farm was closer to a hill when it first existed but was then relocated a little further away but retained its name.


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.