fount » font

Chiefly in:   font of knowledge , font of wisdom

Classification: English – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

  • “She was a font of wisdom and good sense.” (American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed.)

The noun “knowledge” in the heading stands in for a variety of abstract nouns.

Treated at some length in my Language Log piece of 28 March 2005, “Chomping at the Font”. The noun “font”, as in “baptismal font” and “type font” and as a variant of poetic and metaphorical “fount” ’source, repository’, has been steadily gaining on metaphorical “fount”; this is a replacement of a less frequent and more specialized word by a more frequent phonologically similar word that makes sense in the context.

| 2 comments | link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/03/29 |

gird » girdle

Chiefly in:   girdle one's loins

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “President Bush, he must have guessed, was girdling his loins to continue the Grand Game with Iraq, after goading it into the long war with Iran” (link)
  • Civil liberties groups in the US are girdling their loins fo[r] battle with processor giant Intel over an encrypted ’security code’ (link)
  • And the odd, male things grouped down yonder by the auger, the giant twist of fate, fist of uncertainty and fount of gestation, are scattered about and girdling their loins for a late summer finale giant in its summation. (link)

Reported by Michael Siemon on soc.motss, 19 January 2005. The [first] example above I found via Google.

[2005-08-23, CW: more examples added.]

| 1 comment | link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/03/15 |