Word for Wednesday: Skeleton

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for October is Halloween.

The word Halloween likely dates to the seventeenth century but was popularised in the Burns poem ‘Halloween’ which was written in 1785. It is a Scottish abbreviation of ‘Allhallow-even’ which means ‘Eve of the All Saints’.  ‘Hallow’ means ‘holy person’ or ‘saint’. 

So far we’ve looked at the words pumpkin and monster. Today’s word is skeleton

A skeleton is the hard structure of bones and cartilages that provides a frame for the body. Animated skeletons have been used to personify death since the Middle Ages. The popular interpretation of the Grim Reaper as a hooded skeleton with a scythe is attributed to the sixteenth-century painter Hans Holbein the Younger known, among other things, for his work for King Henry VII.

The word skeleton dates to the late-sixteenth century and comes from the Latin ‘sceleton’, from the Greek ‘skeleton soma’ meaning ‘dried body’ or ‘mummy’. 

20 Oct 2021
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