Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
If beauty is only skin deep, glamour is thinner yet. The attraction of glamour reached its peak in the 30s and 40s and had been in decline ever since, until it started to return to favour at the end of the last century. It now appears to be . On the surface, the word glamour is a Scottish alteration of E. grammar. Wiktionary traces the line economically from Middle English gramarye, gramery, from Old French gramaire (“classical learning”), from Latin grammatica, from Ancient Greek γραμματική (grammatike, “skilled in writing”), from γράμμα (gramma, “line of writing”), from γράφω (grapho, “write”), from Proto-Indo-European * gerebh- (“to scratch”).
But it is in Scots that things get interesting. Grammar as “learning, skill” gets tangled up with a Scots words for noise, light, and visual deception, . The result is evident in this account of beguilement by glamour of a young woman ravished by gypsies, in 1833:
The unfortunate lady was also assailed by the powers of glamour, which the stoutest chastity found quite unable to resist, if unaided by a morsel of the mountain ash tree, an amber necklace, a stone forced by stripes from the head of a live toad, or the prudent recollection of keeping both thumbs close compressed in the hand during the presence of the malevolent charmer.
Glamour, according to Scottish interpretation, is that supernatural power of imposing on the eye-sight, by which the appearance of an object shall be totally different from the reality.
http://books.google.com/books?id=8qw9AA … 22&f=false
There is a romantic echo of this transformation present in contemporary confusion of glamour with “glimmer”. The sense seems to be that a glamour of hope is a faint sign.
Edit: A better interpretation of a glamour of hope would probably be “an (attractive, or maybe sometimes superficial and deceptive) appearance of hope”.
Last edited by burred (2011-05-13 15:30:10)