Fiona Grant March 7, 2006, 7:57 p.m. (Message 44533)
RE: swotting, swatting not just dances
Becky writes about swotting and its misuse as a word. I'm not sure I follow her down the "wrong" track. Most people I know have at one time or another swotted up on dances, and most appropriately given the word's origin! From the O.E.D.: intr. To work hard at one's studies; to bone up. Also trans., to get up, mug up (a subject); more rarely, without up. [Dialectal variant of SWEAT n. According to a contributor to N. & Q. 1st Ser. I. 369/2, the term originated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in the use on one occasion of the expression It mades one swot (= sweat) by the Scotch professor of mathematics, William Wallace.] 1860 Slang Dict. (ed. 2), Swot,..to work hard for an examination, to be diligent in one's studies. Army. 1866 [see prec. 2]. 1899 E. PHILLPOTTS Human Boy 120 He was swatting like anything in play-hours for a special Old Testament history prize. 1901 Chambers's Jrnl. July 445/2 Dick was swotting blue china for all he was worth, at the British Museum and elsewhere. 1908 Athenæum 25 July 93/2 It is the case that boys deliberately set themselves to slack or swot for longer or shorter periods. 1913 Wireless World I. 37/2 There will be a chance for fellows like me, who have been swatting up Fleming's books. 1931 R. CAMPBELL Georgiad i. 18 All who..of despair have baulked the yawning precipice By swotting up his melancholy recipes For happiness. 1955 Times 26 May 13/2 Mr. Forester must have swotted up the subject of wartime Atlantic convoys just as he swotted up the subject of the Navy in Nelson's time. 1967 K. GILES Death in Diamonds vi. 114 Been swatting the maps, I see. 1977 N.Y. Rev. Bks. 23 June 8/2 Our culture hound..swots up in the Encyclopedia before distinguished guests arrive. Taken from our trusty friend, the Oxford English Dictionary. Fyi and edification. Was first edited by a Scot, James Murray More details: http://www.aidanbell.com/html/hkbell/Murray.htm Fiona Still being pedantic in Bristol, UK.