By Maeve Maddox
A reader asks,
Could you discuss Halloween words such as jack-o- lantern vs jack o lantern and Trick-or-treat vs Trick or treat?
Ill include the word Halloween to the list. If all that is wanted is a guide to spelling and hyphenation, heres how the words are managed in my 2 primary dictionary recommendations:
Oxford English Dictionary
jack-o- lantern, reward or jack-a-lanterntrick (offered under the entry for technique); trick-or-treating (verbal noun and present participle adjective). Hallow-e en.
jack-o- lanterntrick or treatHalloween.
jack-o- lanternWhy a “jack”- o- lantern” and not some other provided name?
Since the Middle Ages, a diminutive of the continually popular guys name John has actually been Jack. Since of the universality of the name, it pertained to represent any guy in basic, discovering its method into a range of expressions such as jack-of-all-trades, and jack-in-the-box.
Prior to jack-o- lantern, we had jack-with-the-Lantern (1663 ), meaning, “night watchman.”.
In addition to its literal significance of “male bring a lantern,” jack-o- lantern was used to describe the ignis fatuus or will-o- the-wisp. Its most common significance nowadays is “a hollowed vegetable carved with a face and lighted with a candle put within.” In the US, the pumpkin is the veggie of choice, however in Ireland, turnips are utilized.
technique or treatThe earliest documented use of the term “trick or treat” dates from 1927, in a Canadian publication, but the custom of demanding food treats on October 31 stemmed in the pagan Celtic past.
The time was marked by the fire festival Samhain, observing a liminal time when a weakened border in between this world and the other permitted spirits, those of fairies and of the dead, to cross. In time, the practice shifted from leaving food outside for the spirits to giving it to people who went from door to door. In the Middle Ages, poor people would go to the houses of the abundant to receive pastries in exchange for praying for the house owners dead relations.
The noun is trick-or-treating.
HalloweenThe word is a shortening of All-Hallow-Even, the eve of the Christian festival of All Hallows, in remembrance of all departed saints. Initially, the Christian feast was kept in May, however was relocated to November in the eighth century, where it subsumed the still-popular pagan celebration.
Hallow obtains from the Old English word for holy. As a verb, hallow ways, “to make holy.” Lincoln utilizes the word in the Gettysburg Address: “But, in a bigger sense, we can not commit, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground.”.
Note on pronunciationMany Americans tend to pronounce Halloween as if the Hallow were spelled Hollow, a propensity that causes misspellings of the word Hallows. The a in both hallow and Halloween is noticable as a brief a (as in at).
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In addition to its literal meaning of “man bring a lantern,” jack-o- lantern was used to refer to the ignis fatuus or will-o- the-wisp. In time, the practice shifted from leaving food outside for the spirits to offering it to individuals who went from door to door. In the Middle Ages, poor people would go to the houses of the rich to get pastries in exchange for hoping for the property owners dead relations.
Hallow derives from the Old English word for holy. Lincoln uses the word in the Gettysburg Address: “But, in a bigger sense, we can not commit, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground.”.
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