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St Cuthbert's Society

Word of the Week

Each week, as part of the College Bulletin, the Principal delves into her etymological knowledge to explore the fascinating history of words and their meanings, tracing their roots in Latin, Medieval English, and other languages as well as their development through art, literature, and cultures.


Principal’s Word of the Week: HELLO

The earliest form seems to be hollo/hollow/holla, both verb and noun, dating from the 1500s
Holla comes from French holà , ‘stop’, ‘cease’, also a call to excite attention, or a shout of exultation:
1523 Ld. Berners tr. J. Froissart Cronycles I. ccclxv. 597 Than therle of Buckyngham sayd, hola, cease, for it is late

1598 Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost v. ii. 900 Holla, approach.
1871 B. Taylor tr. Goethe Faust I. v. 102 With open throat sing chorus, drink and roar! Up! holla! ho!

The verb can mean to shout, to urge on hounds (or people), to drive away or call off by shouting [from 1542] – also halloo:
1599 H. Porter Angry Women Abington (Percy Soc.) 65 Why, hollow to me, and I will answere thee.
1613 S. Purchas Pilgrimage 432 As we use here in England to hollow, whoope or shout at Houndes.
1701 N. Rowe Ambitious Step-mother v. ii, I will pursue thee And hollow Vengeance in thy guilty Ears.

1836 H. Rogers Life J. Howe (1863) viii. 214 Bishops, who hallooed on the inferior this cruel and ignoble sport.

Halloo the noung can urge on dogs, call attention at a distance, or express surprise (from 1608]:
1728 Swift Mad Mullinix & Timothy in Intelligencer (1729) viii. 75 Will none the Tory Dogs pursue, When thro' the Streets I cry Hollooe?
1875 B. Jowett tr. Plato Dialogues (ed. 2) III. 311 Halloo! I said, I begin to perceive a track.
1707 J. Freind Acct. Earl of Peterborow's Conduct in Spain 211 Be answer with an English Halloo.
Hallo expressing surprise, calling attention, or as a greeting [from 1841], is derived from hollo and is linked to Old High German halâ, holâ, emphatic imperative

of halôn, holôn to fetch, used especially in hailing a ferryman!
1805 Wordsworth Waggoner iii. 124 Hallooing from an open throat, Like travellers shouting for a boat.
1864 H. Spencer Illustr. Progress 217 Any phrase with which one may be heard to accost the other—as ‘Hallo, are you here?’

The repetition of hallo is often attributed to policemen:

1942 A. Christie Body in Libr. ii. 24 Hallo, 'allo, 'allo, what's this?
1932 Notes & Queries 6 Aug. 105/2 The telephonic ‘hallo’.
Hullo addressing a person or later answering the telephone first appears in 1857:
1857 T. Hughes Tom Brown's School Days i. ix. 208 Hullo, who's there?
1959 Listener 13 Aug. 248/2 If, when you take off the receiver, you say ‘Hullo!’ just think how absurd that is. Why, you might be saying ‘Hullo!’ to a total stranger.

Hello to attract attention or expres surprise first appears in 1826:
1833 Sketches & Eccentricities Col. David Crockett (new ed.) xiii. 168, I seed a white man walking off with my plate. I says, ‘Hello, mister, bring back my plate.’

As an answer to a telephone call it appears in 1877, attributed to Edison – his rival Alexander Graham Bell preferred ahoy!
[1877 T. Edison Let. 15 Aug. in Antique Phonograph Monthly (1987) 8 1, I do not think we shall need a call bell as Hello! can be heard 10 to 20 feet away. What you think?]

1877 Pittsburgh Evening Chron. 18 Aug. 3/3 The word ‘Hello’ was called into the Fourth avenue box, and directly a still small voice answered at the ear, ‘Hello, what do you want?’.. With the Bell telephone, distance virtually amounts to nothing.
Women who answered calls in a telephone exchange were known as hello girls.
1889 ‘M. Twain’ Connecticut Yankee xv. 177 The humblest..hello-girl...could teach the highest duchess.
Twain’s Connecticut Yankee who found himself transported back in time to King Arthur’s court has a daughter named ‘Hello Central’ in memory of an early love!

Principal's Word of the Week is SKIVE

No doubt everyone is working hard, either revising or preparing their final assignments, so this week’s word is something we hope that students will not be doing - skive

Origin: Formed within English, by conversion. Etymon: skive v.3

Etymology: skive v.3 Compare skiver n.3, skiving n.2

1. U.S. College slang. At the University of Notre Dame: an act of leaving the college campus without permission. Also occasionally in extended use with reference to other disciplinary matters. Cf. skive v.3 1, skiving n.2 1. Now disused.

1885 Notre Dame Scholastic 10 Oct. 82/1 His lonely ‘skives’ are oft rudely burst upon; his quiet peregrinations around the campus are still oftener rendered wretched by the profane ching-chat-a-ra-da of his fellows.

1894 Notre Dame Scholastic 31 Mar. 475/2 We fancied at first they would pardon us, but we found it was the rule That whenever a fellow took a skive, he got two thousand cool.

1916 Notre Dame Scholastic 11 Mar. 392/2 A student who has pulled two night skives and has been discovered feels about as comfortable as a boy who has taken his father's watch apart and can't get it together again.

2. colloq. (chiefly Brit.).

a. A task, activity, etc., undertaken in order to avoid a more onerous one or minimize one's workload; an easy option.

1958 F. Norman Bang to Rights iii. 90 Not many of us wanted to learn english and only went on the class for a skive.

1960 A. Waugh Foxglove Saga xii. 218 He was chuffed at this new monumental skive he had discovered.

1976 Times Higher Educ. Suppl. 26 Mar. 7/1 I'd always thought that science degrees with a non-scientific element would be attractive but perhaps students associate them with the general studies they do in the sixth form and think of them either as a skive or a nuisance.

b. An instance of avoiding work or a duty by staying away or leaving early. Freq. in on the skive.

1980 J. Ditton Copley's Hunch i. ii. 68 He thought the sentry was on the skive. Thought he'd come down..for a cup of coffee.

1999 S. Perera Haven't stopped dancing Yet iv. 49, I don't know where Bethany is, Mala. She's probably got a cold—anything for a quick skive.

2008 M. E. Smith & A. Collings Renegade i. 12 Laid up in bed; on the skive with a boil on his arse.

Principal’s Word of the Week: CANVAS
In this election season it occurred to me to wonder what the connection is between canvassing for votes and sail/deckchair material.

CANVAS (noun) comes via French and Italian from the late Latin *cannabāceus ‘hempen’, which In turn comes from the Latin cannabis!
The main meaning in English dates back to the late C13th and early C14th - a strong or coarse unbleached cloth made of hemp or flax, used (in different forms) as the material for sails of ships, for tents, and by painters for oil-paintings:
1608 S. Rowlands Humors Looking Glasse 6 Sattin and silke was pawned long a goe, And now in canuase, no knight can him knowe.
The first use specifically for sails appears in a storm in Shakespeare, who uses ‘canvas clyme {climber]r’ for ‘sailor’:
1609 Shakespeare Pericles xv. 112 From the ladder tackle, washes off a canuas clymer
The earliest citation in relation to oil paintings is
1705 N. Tate Triumph 13 Then try your Skill: a well-prim'd Canvass stretch.
The earliest metaphorical instance of this usage is
a1774 A. Tucker Light of Nature Pursued (1777) III. iii. 305 Striving to imprint...upon the imagination so her coarse canvass can take off.
Under canvas = in a tent first appears in the mid-C19th:
1864 Soc. Science Rev. 137 A life under canvas in the finer seasons of the year.
A canvasman n. U.S. a person employed in a circus or other itinerant show to erect, take down, and maintain its tents [1869].
Canvastown for a tent city first appears in 1763, however:
1862 J. A. Patterson Gold Fields Victoria 195 Though long a ‘canvas town’, Maryborough has made considerable strides.

The verb Canvass(s) first appears in meaning ‘to toss in a canvas sheet’ (1508), and soon after ‘to attack or batter’ (for instance a castle) or to thrash/criticize in writing [from 1590]:
1611 R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues at Berné, He hath beene throughly canvassed; (a phrase most commonly applied to an ignorant or dull-headed fellow, that hath prouoked a learned penne, or tongue, to fall aboord him).

1615 Luther's Comm. 1 Pet. v. 51 These words have been so canvassed and wrested by my Lord the Pope.

It could also mean discuss, scrutinize [from 1530]:

a1680 J. Bargrave Pope Alexander VII (1867) i. vii. 15 Canvacing many titles, at length they pitched upon Eminency.

From 1715 it was used of scrutiny of an election, to challenge results or reject bad votes:
a1715 Bp. G. Burnet Hist. Own Time (1724) I. 530 The poll was closed when the Court thought they had the majority: But upon casting it up it appeared they had lost it: So they fell to canvass it.

From 1524 it is used in our modern sense of soliciting support,or contributions, before an election or metaphorically– it is unclear how this meaning emerged.

1660 H. Hammond Wks. IV. 510 (R.) He that should give his voice unto Christ, because there was no body else to canvass for it.

1681 W. Temple Mem. iii, in Wks. (1731) I. 342 Every one began to canvas for Elections in the ensuing Parliament.


'Cheap' - Thursday 8 March

Dolly Parton famously declared ‘it tcosts a lot of money to look this cheap!’ it’s a word that has been with us since before the Norman Conquest, though with some change in meaning along the way.

As a noun: Etymology: Germanic origin, originally meaning barter, bargaining, exchange, and then also trade, merchandise; cognate with modern German kaufen.

I.1. The first citation is from the Old English poem Beowulf.

2. The place of buying and selling, market – hence in London Eastcheap, Cheapside, and in many town and village names Chipping. II. 5. Purchase, bargain (good for the buyer) [from 1340] 6. State of the market (good for buyers) [from 1325} – good cheap = low prices, dear cheap = high prices: 1574 E. Hellowes tr. A. de Guevara Familiar Epist. 357 Maruell of the good cheap that was in those daies, and of the dearth that is now of vittailes 7. Abundance as opposed to dearth [from 1384].

8a. quasi-adj. good cheap was used for: That is a good bargain, that can be purchased on advantageous terms; low-priced, cheap. Also better cheap, best cheap. [from 1375]: 1663 B. Gerbier Counsel to Builders 63 Nor is that which is best cheap, alwayes the best profit. b. that costs little, easily obtained, abundant, of small value [from 1340]: a1542 T. Wyatt Coll. Poems (1969) cclviii. 3 Faire good chepe, they cost right nought 9a. quasi-adv.On advantageous terms, at a low cost, cheaply [from 1420]: 1653 R. Baxter Christian Concord 47 The people will take him for their Minister that will do it best cheap.

The adjective has a richer range. A.1a, inexpensive, of poor quality [from 1517]: hence cheap and nasty {from 1822]: 1905 Studio Sept. 368/1 The cheap-and-nastiness of our suburban houses. b. applied to price – cheap fare, cheap rate [from 1616]: 1656 H. Phillippes Purchasers Pattern (1676) 4 The price of money falls cheaper, and the price of Land riseth dearer. 1902 Daily Chron. 26 Apr. 5/7 This is not a workman's train, but what is called a cheap fare train. d. to go cheap [from 1881]: 1938 V. Sackville-West Saint Joan of Arc vii. 120 Visionaries were going cheap in those days. 2. of good value in proportion to its price [from 1611]: 1727 D. Defoe Compl. Eng. Tradesman II. i. iv. 124 Goods may be...low-priced, and not cheap. 3. Costing little labour or trouble; easily obtained [first citation 1616]: a1616 Shakespeare Measure for Measure (1623) ii. iv. 106 Twer the cheaper way. Better it were a brother dide at once, Then that a sister, by redeeming him, Should die for euer.

1788 Gibbon Decline & Fall (1875) xxvi. 435/2 The courage of a soldier is found to be the cheapest and most common quality of human nature.

4a. Involving little trouble and hence of little worth [from 1604]:

1738 JohnsonLondon 36 The cheap reward of empty praise.

5a. Accounted of small value, made little of, lightly esteemed; esp. brought into contempt through being made too familiar [from 1597]: 1936 N. Coward Astonished Heart iii, It was all a trick—I planned it... I made up my mind then to make you fall in love with me—now I wish I hadn't—I feel cheap.

6 Phr. as cheap as dirt: exceedingly cheap(ly) (colloq.); hence dirt-cheapadj. :

a1817 J. AustenPersuasion (1818) IV. ix. 190 All the honour of the family he held as cheap as dirt [first citation]

C1. In the colloquial phrase on the cheap: on the cheap scale, cheaply [from 1859]: 1939 ‘G. Orwell’ Coming up for Air ii. x. 170 Anything from theosophy to cat's-cradle, provided you can do it on the cheap. 2 pl, things bought cheaply, esp. books [from 1930]


Cheapskate [from 1896] – from the US skate = worn out horse

1973 J. Porter It's Murder with Dover xii. 119 They were hardened women of the world and knew a cheap skate when they saw one. cheap and cheerful: 1974 Times 12 Oct. 10/3 Cheap and cheerful chalets...about 15 minutes' brisk trot from the centre of the village [first citation]. (as) cheap as chips (Brit, Austral, NZ colloq) : extremely inexpensive; at a very low price [from 1850]: 1856 J. Doran Knights & Days 326 He...wrote thousands of songs, which he sold as cheap as chips.

'LOG' and hence 'LOGBOOK' - Thursday 2 March

Log is a mysterious word, probably of Scandinavian origin. According to the OED, “It is most likely that clog and logge arose as attempts to express the notion of something massive by a word of appropriate sound. Compare Dutch log clumsy, heavy, dull”.

1a. Its general meaning (from 1398) is “A bulky mass of wood; now usually an unhewn portion of a felled tree, or a length cut off for use as firewood”: a1616 Shakespeare Tempest (1623) iii. i. 17, I would the lightning had Burnt vp those Logs that you are enioynd to pile. b. fig. and in similative phrases. Said, e.g., of a vessel floating helplessly (cf. modern German log sein to float helplessly), of an inert or helpless person (from 1579-80): 1622 R. Hawkins Observ. Voiage South Sea 213 In this conflict, having lost all her mastes, and being no other then a logge in the sea. 1883 R. L. Stevenson Treasure Island ii. vii. 59, I must have..slept like a log. 2a and b. a. A heavy piece of wood, fastened to a man's or beast's leg, to impede his movements (from 1589); a military punishment (from 1830): 1843 Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) xxviii. 344 Here I am, tied like a log to you. 3. King Log: the log which Jupiter in the fable made king over the frogs; often used as the type of inertness on the part of rulers, as contrasted with the excess of activity typified by ‘King Stork’ (from 1675): 1766 Ld. Chesterfield Let. 11 July (1932) (modernized text) VI. 2747, I have always owned a great regard for King Log.

Nautical: 6. An apparatus for ascertaining the rate of a ship's motion, consisting of a thin quadrant of wood, loaded so as to float upright in the water, and fastened to a line wound on a reel. 1769 W. Falconer Universal Dict. Marine at Log, It is usual to heave the log once every hour in ships of war. 7 a. Short for log-book n. A journal into which the contents of the log-board or log-slate are daily transcribed, together with any other circumstance deserving notice (from 1825): 1850 H. T. Cheever Whale & his Captors vi. 107 To fix the localities of whales' resorts by the comparison of the logs of a vast number of whalers. d. Any record in which facts about the progress or performance of something are entered in the order in which they become known (from 1913): 1924 G. W. Grupp Econ. Motor Transportation ix. 187 Nothing is more interesting than..making..a motor-truck performance log. 1968 Radio Communication Handbk. (ed. 4) xx. 4/2 Log Keeping. The Post Office requires all amateurs to keep a log book containing full details of all transmissions... Entries must be made at the time of operation, and no gaps should be left in the log.

My favourite compound (of the many that are listed) is log-rolling (American, from 1792),apparently a favourite pastime on the other side of the Atlantic: 1a. a. The action of rolling logs to any required spot; a meeting for co-operation in doing this: a1792 J. W. Monette Mississippi Valley (1848) II. 8 The standard dinner dish at log-rollings, house-raisings, and harvest days, was a large pot-pie. [first citation] 1883 Harper's Mag. Jan. 283/1 The great festivals of Western life are camp-meetings, barbecues, and log-rollings. it could also be applied metaphorically to political or other alliances (from 1823): 1879 Times 19 June The bribe was political preferment, or ‘log-rolling’—that is, help in passing other Bills. 18.. American XVII. 350 If by log~rolling is meant that reviewers praise people in hopes of being praised in turn, then the taunt is empty. 1951 V. Nabokov Speak, Memory xiv. 212 In their attitude toward literature they were curiously conservative; with them soul-saving came first, log-rolling next, and art last. 1975 N.Y. Times 4 Mar. 33/3 In fact, a logrolling system, from which women rarely benefit, is the norm for faculty hiring.

'SAD' - Friday 17 February

This word has changed its meaning quite significantly over the centuries.

Etymology: via Germanic languges, originally from the same Indo-European base as Latin satis = enough; other European cognates have not developed our modern meaning

AI/2. In Old and Middle English, satisfied, tired of, settled, steadfast, firm.

3. grave, serious, heavy, trustworthy, orderly [from 1375]:
?1577 J. Northbrooke Spiritus est Vicarius Christi: Treat. Dicing 133 What woman nowe a dayes (that is sadde and wyse) will be knowne to haue skill of Dauncing, &c.?

The OED doesn’t quote Shakespeare’s Antony inviting his officers to one last ‘gaudy night’ (III.xiii.183-4): Call to me / All my sad captains, fill our bowls once more ...
1961 F. G. Cassidy Jamaica Talk viii. 181 The word sad also lasts in an old-fashioned sense, that of stability...: a ‘sad man’ is a steady, dependable one.
II.5a/b. Feeling/showing sorrow, mournful [from 1300]:
1637 Milton Comus 9 Where the love-lorne Nightingale Nightly to thee her sad Song mourneth well.

1667 Milton Paradise Lost x. 18 Th' Angelic Guards ascended, mute and sad For Man.
c. causing sorrow, distressing [from 1375]:
1688 S. Penton Guardian's Instr. 24 It quickly appear'd how sad is the condition of a Gentleman without Learning.

d. of a period, place, action [from 1400]:
1722 D. Defoe Relig. Courtship i. i. 12 'Tis a sad Life, Sir, for a Woman to have no Help from her Husband in Things that are good.
6. Used as a general expression of censure, depreciation, or regret [from 1664]:
1892 Daily News 25 Jan. 5/3 Unpolished a sad harbourer of soot and dust.
2006 Guardian Unlimited (Nexis) 17 July It's a sad state of affairs when the best wicketkeeper and the best spinner in the country can't get a game as wicketkeeper and spinner.
7. Unfashionable, inept [from 1934]:
2001 Herald (Glasgow) (Nexis) 17 Mar. 62, I love rummaging, and used to list jumble sales as one of my hobbies. (Sad I know.)
III.8 a-e: firmly fixed, solid, heavy, solid, hard to work [from 1333]:
1625 W. Lisle tr. G. de S. Du Bartas Noe in tr. Part of Du Bartas 29 This kind of timber..growes so sad and hard that it cannot rot.
1836 C. Hooton Adventures Bilberry Thurland I. vii. 140 At the bottom of all..lay about half an acre of sad and heavy Yorkshire pudding, like a leaden pancake.
2002 Sun (Baltimore) (Nexis) 11 May 1 d Humus is a virtual cure-all for sad soils. It fights compaction and enables plants to put down deep roots.
10: of colour/fabric, dark and deep [from 1415]:
1721 J. Mortimer Whole Art Husb. II. 241 [Tulip] of a sad Red-colour about the Edges, whipped with Crimson.

Among the phrases and compounds are:
sadder and wiser [first citation Coleridge in 1798]
sad-coloured [from 1602]
sad-eyed [from 1600 – Shakespeare]

sad-faced [from 1594, also Shakespeare]

sad-hearted [1599]
sad-looking [from 1784]

sad-making [from 1930 – Evelyn Waugh]
sad-sweet, sad-happy, sad-serene [from 1616]
sad-ass(ed) from 1961:
1964 J. Baldwin Blues for Mister Charlie iii. 119 White man!... You can't eat because none of your sad-assed chicks can cook.
sad cake n. Brit. and U.S. regional a name given to various types of flat or unleavened cake:

1855 R. C. Trench Eng. Past & Present 103 When unleavened cakes are called ‘sad cakes’, as in parts of America they are, it is evident that ‘sad’ is used in its original sense of unmoved.

'RANDOM' - Friday 3 February

Etymology: from the medieval French randoun (in various spellings) = speed, haste, impetuosity, violence, possibly from randir= to gallop
A1.a Impetuosity, speed, force, violence (from c1325):
1477 Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Hist. Jason (1913) 57 The ship...hurtlyd again the ground in suche a random and force that hit was all to broken.
2a. a. Gunnery. The range of a piece of ordnance, esp. the long or full range obtained by elevating the muzzle of the piece. Hence: the degree of elevation given to a gun (from 1560):
1661 S. Partridge Descr. Double Scale Proportion 85 How far will a Cannon carry her Bullet at her best Randon, that carrieth it at point-blank 360 paces.
3. 3. A haphazard or aimless course. Also: that which is random (from 1565):
1969 Listener 13 Nov. 678/3 ‘There's a lot of random in our songs,’ says Paul [McCartney].
7. 7. colloq. (orig. U.S. Computing). A person who happens to be in a particular place at a particular time, a person who is there by chance, an outsider (from 1971):
1991 E. S. Raymond New Hacker's Dict. 296 Random, anyone who is not a hacker (or, sometimes, anyone not known to the hacker speaking)..‘The audience was full of randoms asking bogus questions.’
Ca. C. adj.1. a. Having no definite aim or purpose (from 1655):
1764 R. Burn Hist. Poor Laws 190 Leaving the poor to be supported by random charity.
b. Statistics. Governed by or involving equal chances for each of the actual or hypothetical members of a population (from 1884):
2. Used for irregular masonry, yarn, etc.

4. Of a person: living in an irregular or unrestrained way; careless, ‘flighty’ (from c1825):
1873 H. Spencer Study Sociol. xv. 371 Continually we remark that men who were random grow steady when they have children to provide for.

5. colloq. (orig. U.S. Computing). Peculiar, strange; nonsensical, unpredictable, or inexplicable; unexpected (from 1971):
1988 N.Y. Times 11 Dec. (Mag. section) 24/3 ‘This really random guy’ would not be a flattering way of describing a new acquaintance.
Also used in phrases and compounds re falconry, jousting, gunnery, masonry.
At random can mean both haphazardly and (less frequently) freely.
Random access first appeared in computing in the early 1950s. Random distribution and random error both appeared in the 1880s, also random process, random sampling and random selection.

I think we should popularize randomish. The first citation is
1824 in Spirit of Public Jrnls. (1825) 136 My son Jonathan is but a randomish sort of a chap.

'CLASS' - Thursday 19 January

Etymology: via medieval French from the Latin classis, a class or division of the Roman people on a variety of bases including property, joint study, military and naval service; possibly from an original meaning ‘summons/call’. Many new usages were added in the post-classical world (not all will be mentioned below).
I. Senses relating to groups, ranks, or categories.
1. Roman groupings of property owners for military service[from 1533]
2a. A set or category of things having some related properties or attributes in common, grouped together with a specific name [from 1583]:
1709 R. Steele Tatler No. 77. ⁋2 This Class of modern Wits I shall reserve for a chapter by itself.
b. Originally an inclusive or general taxonomic category into which species of living organism (and formerly of mineral substance) are grouped. Later (Biol.): one ranking above order and below phylum or division [from 1667]:
1678 J. Ray in tr. F. Willughby Ornithol. Pref. sig. A4, Our principal aim in this Work...was..accurately to describe each Species, and to reduce all to their proper Classes or Genera.
c. Logic. A whole that consists of, or captures, all and only the entities satisfying a specified condition; spec. a collection of all the sets having a certain property [from 1823]:
1843 J. S. Mill Syst. Logic I. i. v. §3 The proposition, Man is mortal, asserts, according to this view of it, that the class man is included in the class mortal.

3a. A set or category of things differentiated according to grade or quality; (in later use also) spec. each of the grades of accommodation, seating, or service [from 1616]:
1798 W. Jackson Four Ages 386 It is highly probable that the Greeks observed the near resemblance between the lowest class of human faces and monkeys.

1998 B. Davis et al. Food & Beverage Managem. (ed. 3) i. 8 The in-flight catering service varies considerably with the class of travel..
4.A (a) A division or stratum of society consisting of people at the same economic level or having the same social status [from 1629]:
1830 Decl. Birmingh. Pol. Union in Life T. Attwood (1885) x. 133 That the rights and interests of the middle and lower classes of the people are not efficiently represented in the Commons House of Parliament.

(b) A system of ordering society whereby people are divided into strata of this type [from 1804]:
1887 Punch 10 Sept. 111/1 Gladstone's gab about ‘masses and classes’ is all tommy rot.
5. Each of a series of sets or categories which are denoted by letters of the alphabet:
e. Brit. Each of a number of categories of illegal drugs typically followed by a letter denoting their level of toxicity[from 1970, following the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
6. Brit. A division of candidates according to merit in a university examination for an honours degree [from 1807]:
1807 E. Tatham Addr. to Convoc. Oxf. 15 In regard to the Schedule of the Three Classes, and particularly in regard to the First Class, there may be different opinions.
7a. High quality; outstanding ability or distinction; elegance or refinement [from 1884]:
1978 E. Chappell Rising Damp Compl. Scripts (2002) iv. v. 513/1 You've got class. I like the way you chassé around—the way you move like a Swiss clock.
II. Senses relating to the instruction of students.

9a. A group of students or pupils who are taught together [from 1560]:
1954 G. Willans & R. Searle How to be Topp vii. 75 It is a good wheeze then if you have a real Fr. boy in the class. Then you sa innocently What is it like in France, sir?
b. An occasion when pupils meet with their teacher for instruction; a lesson [from 1691]:
1691 A. Wood Athenæ Oxonienses I. 80 He went through the usual classes of Logick and Philosophy with unwearied industry.
10. orig. and chiefly N. Amer. All of the students at a university, college, or school of a particular year; also in extended use [from 1672]:
1976 Times 17 Dec. 30/3 Labour's class of '71 was..a gentrified council, dominated by professional people from Putney rather than people from the working-class areas.

There are many compounds and phrases. Class conflict first appears in 1843; class enemy from 1983 (following German and Russian usage); class prejudice from 1839; class rule from 1841;

class spirit from 1837; class action from 1910; class clown from 1914; class-conscious from 1899; class struggle from 1839; class war from 1845.
Classy meaning ‘high class’ first appears in 1870.


'FUDGE' (courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary) - Thursday 1 December

The verb fudge seems to derive from fadge – fit together, agree (C16th):
a1661 T. Fuller Worthies (1662) Wales 12 The Study of the Law did not fadge well with him.
1650 R. Gentilis tr. V. Malvezzi Considerations Lives Alcibiades & Corialanus 179 Either the seed doth not fadge and take root there, or it turnes to poyson.
But fudge is used of a makeshift or botched job [from 1674]:
1770 P. Luckombe Conc. Hist. Printing 498 Fudge, to contrive without necessary Materials, or do Work in a bungling Manner.
1879 F. T. Pollok Sport Brit. Burmah II. 99 They fudged their accounts so as to give little or no trouble to the almighty control department.

The noun fudge has an uncertain origin and a variety of meanings. The interjection as used by Goldsmith (see below) seems from the context merely to represent an inarticulate expression of indignant disgust, though later writers who adopted it from him use it with a more definite meaning. The noun appears to have been developed partly from the interjection, and partly < fudge v. There was a real person called Captain Fudge, ‘by some called Lying Fudge’:
1700 Remarks on the Navy in D'Israeli Cur. Lit., Neology (1841) There was, sir, in our time one Captain Fudge..who..always brought home his owners a good cargo of lies, so much that now aboard ship the sailors, when they hear a great lie told, cry out, ‘You fudge

A= stuff and nonsense:
1766 O. Goldsmith Vicar of Wakefield I. xi. 104 The very impolite behaviour of Mr. Burchell, the conclusion of every sentence would cry out fudge.

B1. Contemptible nonsense, ‘stuff’, bosh [from 1791]:
1865 E. C. Clayton Cruel Fortune II. 105, I only hope your marriage will cure you of your silly fudge.

2. A made-up story, a deceit [from 1797]:
1878 R. W. Emerson Fort. Repub. in Wks. (1906) III. 399 'Tis a wild democracy; the riot of mediocrities and dishonesties and fudges.

3. An impostor, humbug (curious that both words should also apply to sweets – see below).

4. A patch of print, esp. a piece of late news, inserted in a newspaper page; also, a machine or cylinder for inserting such patches [from 1899]:
1899 Daily News 23 Sept. 5/1 The blank space left for ‘fudge’ while the evening paper is being printed off is caused by the presence of the empty fudge-box.

5. A soft-grained sweetmeat prepared by boiling together milk, sugar, butter, etc. orig. U.S [from 1896]:

1902 Queen 3 May 763/1 The greatest ‘stunt’ among college students is to make Fudge.
DRAFT ADDITIONS (probably the most familiar usages today)

An act of fudging; an unsatisfactory or makeshift solution, esp. one reached for the sake of expediency. Also, sophistry, prevaricatory or imprecise language or reasoning. Chiefly in political contexts [from 1980]:
1986 Sunday Express Mag. 31 Aug. 42/4 On secret ballots there is still a hint of fudge in the Brighton air.

Fudge factor, a factor speculatively included in a hypothesis or calculation, esp. to account for some unquantified but significant phenomenon or to ensure a desired result [from 1997]:
1989 Financial Times 22 Feb. 22/7 The market soon recognised the fudge factor—half a point tacked on for the drought effect—and settled back into more familiar expectations on growth.

'CHARITY' - Thursday 24 November

The etymology is quite straightforward, from the Latin caritas = love. the Greek word is ἀγάπη (agape), which the first Christians translated either as dilectio = love/high esteem, or caritas=love founded on esteem. Wyclif, an early English translator of the Bible, translated dilectio as love and caritas as charity. Older readers who grew up with the King James Version will be familiar with St Paul’s dictum in 1 Corinthians 13: ‘now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity’. But increasingly, from Tyndale on, both words were translated as love. In the Revised Version of 1881 the translation is always love, and the distinction is lost.

The Christian sense, God’s love of man and man’s love of God and his neighbour, appears from the later 1100s.

1643 Sir T. Browne Religio Medici (Authorized ed.) ii. §14 This I think charity, to love God for himselfe, and our neighbours for God.
1c. St Paul’s sense of the Christian love of one's fellow human beings; Christian benignity of disposition expressing itself in Christ-like conduct, first in the Wycliffe bible, c. 1384.

1587 Sir P. Sidney & A. Golding tr. P. de Mornay Trewnesse Christian Relig. xx. 364 Some tell vs that Religion is nothing els but charitie; that is to say, the performing of a mannes duetie towards his neighbour.
1597 Shakespeare Richard III i. iii. 271 Haue done for shame, if not for charity .
1816 J. Austen Emma III. xiv. 257 She was now in perfect charity with Frank Churchill.

2a. Without any specially Christian associations: Love, kindness, affection, natural affection: now esp. with some notion of generous or spontaneous goodness [from 1225]:

1728 J. Gay Beggar's Opera Introd., I cannot too often acknowledge your Charity in bringing it now on the stage.
b. Affections; feelings or acts of affection [from 1667 – Milton].

3a. A disposition to judge leniently and hopefully of the character, aims, and destinies of others, to make allowance for their apparent faults and shortcomings; large-heartedness [from 1483]:
1857 T. Hood Pen & Pencil Pict. 125 We all want a little charity shown us sometimes...

4a. Benevolence to one's neighbours, especially to the poor; the practical beneficences in which this manifests itself [from 1200]:
1836 H. Smith Tin Trumpet I. 105 Charity—The only thing that we can give away without losing it.
b. as manifested in action: spec. alms-giving. Applied also to the public provision for the relief of the poor [from 1154]:

1878 W. S. Jevons Polit. Econ. 10 All that the political economist insists upon is that charity shall be really charity, and shall not injure those whom it is intended to aid.

7. A refreshment dispensed in a monastic establishment between meals; a beverage. The only examples come from the same book:

1802 T. D. Fosbroke Brit. Monachism I. i. 26 At another sound of the bell, let them enter the refectory, to receive their charities, (or cups of wine,) while the collation is reading.

1817 T. D. Fosbroke Brit. Monachism (ed. 2) xlviii. 358 These Charities did not consist of wine only..for we find a Charity, consisting of a sallad, seasoned with honey.

In phrases:
a. cold as charity: referring to the perfunctory, unfeeling manner in which acts of charity are often done, and public charities administered; charity begins at home: used to express the prior claims of the ties of family, friendship, etc [from 1382]:

1705 E. Hickeringill Priest-craft 19 Though Charity should begin at home, it should not end at home.
Charity balls/bazaars/concerts appear in the mid-C19th. The first charity-box is 1782. The first charity walk is 1983. 1705 E. Hickeringill Priest-craft 19 Though Charity should begin at home, it should not end at home. Charity shop appears in the sense of a shop offering employment to the poor in 1853; in our modern sense the first entry is 1963.

'TOSH/TOSHER' - Thursday 17 November

There are a surprising number of different usages of this word, some with diametrically opposed meanings. There seems to be no information about its origins. It first appears as an adjective, in Scottish texts [from 1776]:
1. Neat, tidy, trim [from 1776]:
1823 J. Wilson Trials Margaret Lyndsay xxxiii. 271 The hedges will do—I clipped them wi' my ain hands ... and, nae doubt, they make the avenue look a hantle tosher.

2. Agreeable, comfortable; friendly, intimate [from 1821]:
1821 Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. 10 4 We were a very tosh and agreeable company.

As a noun Tosh has several meanings.

Bosh, trash; nonsense, rubbish, twaddle:
1892 Oxf. Univ. Mag. 26 Oct. 26/1 To think what I've gone through to hear that man! Frightful tosh it'll be, too. [first citation]

1898 Tit-Bits 25 June 252/3 Among the recent neologisms of the cricket field is ‘tosh’, which means bowling of contemptible easiness.

Items of value retrieved from drains and sewers [from 1851]:
1851 H. Mayhew London Labour II. 150/2 The sewer-hunters were formerly, and indeed are still, called by the name of ‘Toshers’, the articles which they pick up in the course of their wanderings along shore being known among themselves by the general term ‘tosh’, a word more particularly applied by them to anything made of copper.

And the verb acquired another quite different meaning in late Victorian school slang, to bathe or souse:

1883 J. P. Groves From Cadet to Captain iii. 227 ‘Toshing’ was the name given to a punishment inflicted by the cadets on any one of their number who made himself obnoxious. The victim, dressed in full uniform, was forced to run the gauntlet of his brother cadets, who, as he passed, emptied the contents of their ‘tosh-cans’ (small baths holding about three gallons of water) over the wretched lad's head. [first citation]

TOSHER first appears in 1859 as thieves’ slang:

a. A Thames thief who purloins copper sheathing from the bottoms of vessels in the river or from the docks.
b. One who searches for valuable refuse in drains and sewers [see the 1851 citation from Mayhew above].

Durham seems to have been the origin of the use of Tosher to mean an unattached student at a collegiate university:
1889 Durham Univ. Jrnl. 9 Nov. 216 The ‘toshers’ as they are called in 'Varsity slang—the term is a corruption of the word ‘unattached’—have been looked down upon in the past.

One wonders if the thieves’ slang use of the word influenced the usage for unattached students.

In the 1850s and 1860s Durham University was in crisis, with rapidly dwindling numbers of students. One solution to the problem was the admission in 1871 of ‘The Unattached’, who were not required to be members of colleges or halls. They had to be over 23; some were already married. According to Henry Tudor, they were perceived as ‘not good ’Varsity men’. It was the effort to organize and provide for them, as their numbers grew rapidly, which led to the foundation of St Cuthbert’s Society in 1888.

'DRONE' - Thursday 10 November

From the Old English dran, with cognates in Old Saxon, Middle Low German, etc.
1. The male of the honey-bee. It is a non-worker, its function being to impregnate the queen-bee [from 1100].
1637 T. Heywood Dial. in Wks. (1874) VI. 322 The Bee makes honey till his sting be gone, But that once lost, he soone becomes a Drone.
2. fig. A non-worker; a lazy idler, a sluggard.
a1529 J. Skelton Against Scottes (1843) 172 The rude rank Scottes, lyke dronken dranes [earliest citation]
1940 P. G. Wodehouse Eggs, Beans & Crumpets (facing title-page), In the heart of London's clubland there stands a tall and grimly forbidding edifice known to taxi-drivers and the elegant young men who frequent its precincts as the Drones Club. Yet its somewhat austere exterior belies the atmosphere of cheerful optimism and bonhomie that prevails within. For here it is that young gallants of Mayfair forgather for the pre-luncheon bracer and to touch lightly on the topics of the day.
b. A pilotless aircraft or missile directed by remote control.
1946 in Amer. Speech (1947) 22 228/2 The Navy's drones will be...led—by radio control, of course—to a landing field at Roi [first citation]
1970 Daily Tel. 7 Jan. 4 Unmanned spy aircraft—drones—are to be developed by the American armed services.

DRONE VERB 1 from the nouns above and below; there may be some connection to the Middle English droun = roar.
1. intr. To give forth a continued monotonous sound; to hum or buzz, as a bee or a bagpipe; to talk in a monotonous tone [from 1513]:
1837 T. Carlyle French Revol. III. ii. vi. 132 From morning to night...the Tribune drones with oratory on this matter.

DRONE NOUN 2, possibly from the verb.
A continued deep monotonous sound of humming or buzzing, as that of the bass of the bagpipe, the humming of a fly, or the like [from 1568]:
1751 Johnson RamblerNo. 144. ⁋7 The insects..that torment us with their dronesor their stings.
b. transf. A monotonous tone of speech [from 1777]:
1827 Macaulay Misc. Poems(1860) 416 He commenced his prelection in the dullest of clerical drones.
A bagpipe or similar wind instrument [from 1502]:
c1700 Wooing of Q. Catherine in T. Evans Old Ballads(1784) I. lvi. 310 Our harps and our tabors, and sweet humming drones.
3a. The bass pipe of a bagpipe, which emits only one continuous tone (the modern Highland bagpipe has three drones) [from 1592]
b. On a stringed instrument: a string used to produce a continuous droning sound; the sound so produced [from 1793]:
1970 Melody Maker 22 Aug. 7/4 The characteristic country ‘drone’ notes vibrating steadily in the bass strings like Eastern music.
4. The tone emitted by the drone of a bag-pipe:
1598 Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 1 i. ii. 76, I am as melancholy as..the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe [first citation)

'JARGON' - Thursday 3 November

Etymology: < Old French jargon, -oun, gargon, ghargun, gergon, warbling of birds, prattle, chatter, talk. Of uncertain origin; the verb is also used of the prattling of a brook, perhaps as onomatopoeia.

1. The inarticulate utterance of birds, or a vocal sound resembling it; twittering, chattering.This early sense, which became obsolete in the 15th cent., has been revived in modern literature, sometimes with a mixture of sense 5 [first citation Chaucer, c. 1386):
1830 H. W. Longfellow Return of Spring 6 With beast and bird the forest rings, Each in his jargon cries or sings.
3. Unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; nonsense, gibberish (often a term of contempt for something the speaker does not understand) [from 1350]:
1678 R. Cudworth True Intellect. Syst. Universe i. v. 651 When Religion and Theology ... is made Philosophy, then is it all meer Jargon and Insignificant Non-sence.
5. A barbarous, rude, or debased language or variety of speech; a ‘lingo’; used esp. of a hybrid speech arising from a mixture of languages. Also applied contemptuously to a language by one who does not understand it [from 1643]:
1874 A. H. Sayce Princ. Compar. Philol. ii. 67 They [the pagans of antiquity] could discover in a foreign language nothing but a barbarous jargon.

6. Applied contemptuously to any mode of speech abounding in unfamiliar terms, or peculiar to a particular set of persons, as the language of scholars or philosophers, the terminology of a science or art, or the cant of a class, sect, trade, or profession [from 1651 (Hobbes)]:
a1782 Ld. Kames Elements Crit. (ed. 6) (1785) II. App. 532 Space and time have occasioned much metaphysical jargon.
7a. A medley or ‘babel’ of sounds [from 1711]:
1806 J. Beresford Miseries Human Life I. iv. 68 That savage jargon of yells, brays, and screams, familiarly, but feebly, termed, ‘The Cries of London’

1744 J. Thomson Summer in Seasons (new ed.) 118 The Gloom Of cloyster'd Monks, and Jargon-teaching Schools.

1771 D. Barrington in Philos. Trans. 1770 (Royal Soc.) 60 Little Mozart ... immediately began five or six lines of a jargon recitative proper to introduce a love song.

1887 H. Knollys Sketches Life Japan 281 At the end of four months I should have been able ... to go ahead with what I may call jargon fluency.

'METAPHOR' - Thursday 27 October

Etymology: < Middle French metaphore (c1275 in Old French as metafore ; French métaphore ) and its etymon classical Latin metaphora < ancient Greek μεταϕορά < μετα- + ϕορά carrying (after μεταϕέρειν to transfer).
Removal vans in Greece have “METAPHORA” written on the side!
1. A figure of speech in which a name or descriptive word or phrase is transferred to an object or action different from, but analogous to, that to which it is literally applicable; an instance of this, a metaphorical expression [from 1500]:

1555 E. Bonner Certaine Homelyes 71* Chryste alwayes in hys speakynge dyd vse fygures, metaphores and tropes.

1783 H. Blair Lect. Rhetoric I. xv. 313 If the long dwelt upon, and carried into all its minute circumstances we make an allegory instead of a metaphor... This is called straining a Metaphor.
1952 R. A. Knox Hidden Stream iv. 33 It is a metaphor if you describe Oxford as a hive of industry, or some of its inhabitants as drones.
2. Something regarded as representative or suggestive of something else, esp. as a material emblem of an abstract quality, condition, notion, etc.; a symbol, a token. Freq. with for, of [from 1836]:

1836 R. W. Emerson Nature iv. 41 Parts of speech are metaphors because the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind.
1909 J. London in Sat. Evening Post 22 May 3/1 North of the Slot were the theaters, hotels, and shopping district... South of the Slot were the factories, slums,..and the abodes of the working class. The Slot was the metaphor that expressed the class cleavage of Society.
1870 Atlantic Monthly Aug. 197/1 He goes over the whole universe to gather images of bigness for your delectation, doing a larger business in mountains, earthquakes, and firmaments than any other metaphor-monger of the day.

'CIPHER' (courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary, available online through the library) - Thursday 20 October

Etymology: < Old French cyfre, cyffre (modern French chiffre), medieval Latin cifra, cifera, ciphra, < Arabic çifr the arithmetical symbol ‘zero’ or from the adjective çifr ‘empty, void’, < çafara to be empty. The Arabic was simply a translation of the Sanskrit name śūnya, literally ‘empty’. [ZERO comes from the same root, but only appears in English in the early C17th]

1a. An arithmetical symbol or character (0) of no value by itself, but which increases or decreases the value of other figures according to its position [first citation 1399]:
a1593 H. Smith (1622) 310 You cyphers, which supply a place, but signifie nothing.
2. fig. a. A person who fills a place, but is of no importance or worth, a nonentity, a ‘mere nothing’ [from 1599]:
1639 T. Fuller Hist. Holy Warre ii. v. 49 At this day the Romane Emperour is a very ciphre, without power or profit in Rome.
3. In an extended sense, applied to all the Arabian numerals; a numeral figure; a number [from 1530]
4a. gen. A symbolic character, a hieroglyph [from 1541]:
1614 W. Raleigh Hist. World i. i. v. §6. 78 In succeeding times this vnderstanding and wisdome began to be written in Ciphers, and Characters, and letters bearing the forme of beastes, birds, and other creatures.
5a. A secret or disguised manner of writing, whether by characters arbitrarily invented (app. the earlier method), or by an arbitrary use of letters or characters in other than their ordinary sense, by making single words stand for sentences or phrases, or by other conventional methods intelligible only to those possessing the key; a cryptograph. Also anything written in cipher, and the key to such a system:
1528 S. Gardiner in N. Pocock Rec. Reformation I. No. 48. 92 We think not convenient to write them, but only in cipher. [first citation – this is the Stephen Gardiner of Wolf Hall!]
1812 Duke of Wellington Dispatches (1838) IX. 235 We have deciphered the letter you sent and it goes back to you with the key of the cipher.

6. An intertexture of letters, esp. the initials of a name, engraved or stamped on plate, linen, etc.; a literal device, monogram; now esp. used of Turkish or Arabic names so expressed [from 1640]:
1889 N.E.D. at Cipher, Mod. Turkish coins bearing no device except the Sultan's cipher.
7. The continuous sounding of any note upon an organ, owing to the imperfect closing of the pallet or valve without any pressure upon the corresponding key [from 1779]:
1884 W. S. Rockstro Mendelssohn xii. 82 During the course of the Fantasia...a long treble A began to sound on the swell...We well remember whispering to Mr. Vincent Novello..‘It must be a cypher’.

'SCAVENGER' - Thursday 13 October

Some of the new students will have been on scavenger hunts during Induction Week.

Etymology: from the Anglo-Norman term for an officer whose duty it was to take ‘scavage’, a toll levied on goods offered for sale in a town by merchant strangers (till the C16th), and who was afterwards also charged with the duty of keeping the streets clean. Obs. The ‘n’ is a later addition, as in passenger and messenger.
1.Street-cleaner (from 1547):
1611 Tarlton's Jests (1866) 215 When Tarlton dwelt in Gracious street..he was chosen scavenger; and often the ward complained of his slacknesse in keeping the streets cleane.

2a. 1690 C. Ness, Compl. Hist. & Myst. Old & New Test. I. 101 The sorry scavengers who live honestly by emptying privies.
1865 Dickens, Our Mutual Friend II. iv. xiv. 284 A scavenger's cart happening to stand unattended..Mr. S. found it impossible to resist the temptation of shooting Mr. Silas Wegg into the cart's contents.

2b. Applied to various animals that feed on decaying matter, esp. the scavenger beetle (from 1530):
1854 R. Owen in Orr's Circ. Sci., Org. Nat. I. 164 The sturgeons may be called the scavengers of the great rivers which they frequent.
c. fig. in various uses: One who collects filth; one who does ‘dirty work’; a dishonourable person. Also, in favourable sense, one who labours for the removal of public evils (from 1563):
1767 A. Campbell Lexiphanes Pref. xxx, I am no other than a literary scavenger.
3. A child employed in a spinning-mill to collect loose cotton lying about the floor or machinery. Also, a roller used to collect the loose fibres or fluff; also called scavenger-roll:
1833 E. Bulwer-Lytton Eng. & English (ed. 2) I. 201 My children shall never go into a factory, more especially as scavengers and piecers. [first citation]
4. Chem. A substance or species which scavenges free radicals or other species. (from 1955):
1970 Financial Times 13 Apr. 20/4 Manganese is probably the most important ‘minor’ metal used in the steel industry, being used as a de-oxidiser and scavenger to combine with sulphur.

Scavenger hunt is originally American:
1940 Sun (Baltimore) 1 Nov. 7/3 Eight young persons on a scavenger hunt sponsored by a Westport High School sorority went to the Sixty-third street police station willingly to obtain signatures of policemen. [first citation]
1977 Times 24 Dec. 10/2 The outdoors scavenger hunt is a good exercise after overeating.

'ANGEL' (courtesy of the Oxford English Dictionary)

Etymology: via early German from Latin angelus, Greek angelos = messenger. It was used to translate Hebrew mal'āk, in full mal'āk-yĕhōwāh ‘messenger of Jehovah’; whence the name and doctrine of angels passed into Latin and the modern languages. An evangelist is someone spreading good news.

I.1a: a ministering spirit or divine messenger
The first citation is in the Gospels of Matthew and John in the Lindisfarne Gospels, written c.950 and on display in Durham three years ago.
a1616 Shakespeare Macbeth (1623) iv. iii. 23 Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.

1712 Pope Spectator 18 June Man seems to be placed as the middle Link between Angels and Brutes.

d. a person who resembles an angel in attributes or actions (from 1597):
1808 Scott Marmion vi. xxx, When pain and anguish wring the brow, A ministering angel thou.
III.6: An old English gold coin, called more fully at first the angel-noble., being originally a new issue of the Noble, having as its device the archangel Michael standing upon, and piercing the dragon (from 1488):
1602 Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor i. iii. 48 She hath all the rule Of her husbands purse. She hath legians of angels.
7. Angels on horseback – oysters rolled in bacon, first described by Mrs Beeton in 1888
8. A financial backer of an enterprise, esp. one who supports a theatrical production (originally US), from 1891:
1953 Economist 28 Mar. 853/1 That increasingly rare being, the ‘angel’ who will risk his money in a theatrical venture.

9. An ‘unexplained’ mark on a radar screen (from 1947):
1958 Listener 30 Oct. 691/1 A Swiss biologist, working with British radar equipment at Zurich airport, proved that ‘angels’ were the echoes from small birds on migration.

Hell’s Angel: originally a B-17 bomber, then from 1956 one of a motorcycle group (originally Californian) notorious for disturbing public order:
1971 New Scientist 11 Feb. 331/2 The Hell's Angels created rather than prevented disorder when Mick and the Stones were dispensing their magic.

Angel-face: term of address to a person with an innocent face (sometimes ironic):

1913 P. G. Wodehouse Little Nugget i. i. 14 ‘Ogden, darling..stay by me, *angel-face.’ ‘Oh, shush!’ muttered angel-face. [earliest citation]
1881 F. E. Owens Cook Bk. 161 *Angel's food. In other words, White Sponge Cake.