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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: Sobriquet

Sobriquet: noun – an epithet,  nickname.

Sobriquets are nicknames that most people know when they come across them; common examples are:

‘The Big Apple’ for New York City.
‘The Iron Lady’ for the disastrous former British Prime Minister, Margaret thatcher.
‘The Bard’ for William Shakespeare, possibly the world’s greatest playwright.
‘The Big Yin’ for Billy Connolly, a very funny Scottish comedian.
‘The Boss’ for Bruce Springsteen, a great US musician
‘The City’ for the City of London, which is the central business district of London or for San FranciscoCalifornia
‘The Dark Continent’ for the much neglected and exploited continent of Africa
‘The Fab Four’ for The Beatles, possibly the most famous pop band ever.
‘The Golden Bear’ for Jack Nicklaus, the American golfing hero
‘The Great White North’ for Canada; no surprises here, especially for those who live there.
‘The Holy Land’ for Israel / Palestine; possibly the least appropriate sobriquet, given the determination of its inhabitants to continue an unholy fight that could have ended decades ago with the application of tolerance and common sense.
‘Joltin’ Joe’ for Joe DiMaggio, USA Baseball player and former husband of Marilyn Monroe
‘The King’ for Elvis Presley, a very popular rock artist from the States.
‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’ for New Zealand; a meteorological reference to possibly the world’s most picturesque collection of islands.
‘Madge’ for Madonna; a singularly terse name for one of popular music’s most enduring and creative artists
‘Old Nick’ for Christianity’s Devil; a mythical creation developed to frighten the gullible by those who wish to have power over them.
‘Pommy’, ‘Pom’ for an English person; Australian name, vaguely affectionate except when preceded by ‘whingeing’ or succeeded by ‘bastard’
‘The Red Planet’ for Mars; a result of the planet’s appearance when viewed through a telescope
Satchmo’ for Louis Armstrong; possibly the greatest jazz musician to come out of the USA
‘The Smoke’ for London; and no longer appropriate, since the pollution has largely disappeared
The Sultan of Swat’ for Babe Ruth, a Major league Baseball player from USA
Tinseltown’ for Hollywood, California, USA, where triviality and superficiality reign supreme
‘Tricky Dicky’ for Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States, after his involvement in the Watergate scandal
Westminster’ for the British Parliament, because of the location of the Houses of Parliament.
Yankee’ for an American of European ancestry unsympathetic to the South, originally only from those states that fought the Confederacy in the Civil War but now from any non-Southern state. Used outside the USA for any American, along with ‘Yank’ and often derogatory.

2 August 1911 Einstein urged all scientists to refuse to do military work.

Pic: A track just outside North Dalton, East Riding of Yorkshire.
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