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The funny side
Daily Word

The Daily Word

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queue [n. and vb., KYOO]

The most common usage of queue refers to a waiting line of persons or vehicles.  Example: "Paul looked at the long queue and decided to go and rent a movie instead." The verb form refers to getting in line, to queue up for something.

Another contemporary sense of queue refers to a sequence of messages held in storage awaiting transmission on a computer.

The original meaning of the word queue, however, was a braid of hair worn hanging at the back of the head.  The French word for tail, queue appeared in English in the 18th century. The original root was the Latin cauda.

Cauda was also the source of the Italian word coda which was adapted into English as a musical term.  The tail end of a movement or composition is a coda.

derring-do [n. der-ing-DOO]

A brave act or reckless action done without consideration of the dangers involved is an example of derring-do.  Example: "The youth's acts of derring-do impressed his friends but worried his family."

The word is somewhat dated today, conjuring up images of a swashbuckling hero performing courageous feats or daring exploits to save a helpless maiden.  Near synonyms include daring, impertinence, and audacity.

In use since the 16th century, derring-do has roots in Middle English. It is a variation on the combination of durring (a present participle of durren the verb for "to dare") and don (to do).


argot [n. ARGO or ARGAT]

A vocabulary particular to a specific profession or social group is its argot. Argot is often devised for private communication and is not easily understood by other people. This word is especially common in the context of the special lingo of criminals.

Example: "The police officer fit in well when undercover because he had a good handle on the gang's argot."

Argot stole its way into English in the mid-1800s. It is likely a variation on the French verb argoter (to quarrel), which is derived from Latin.

Near synonyms include: jargon, vernacular, dialect, slang, and lingo.