The letters signified by the signal ( . . . — . . . ) prescribed by the International Radiotelegraphic Convention of 1908 for use by ships in distress.
SOS was chosen as the universal distress signal because this combination of three dots followed by three dashes followed by three dots (…—…), was easy to send and easily recognized, especially since they were usually sent as a nine-character signal, which stood out against the background of three-character Morse Code letters.
The letters themselves are meaningless. SOS does not stand for Save Our Souls, Save Our Ship, Stop Other Signals, or Sure Of Sinking.
thick, sticky dark syrup made from partly refined sugar; molasses. cloying sentimentality or flattery.” enough of this treacle—let’s get back to business
Middle English (originally denoting an antidote against venom): from Old French triacle, via Latin from Greek thēriakē ‘antidote against venom’, feminine of thēriakos (adjective), from thērion ‘wild beast British
1: a: of or relating to the alphabet b : alphabetically arranged 2: rudimentary
Did You Know?
The history of abecedarian is as simple as ABC—literally. The term’s Late Latin ancestor, abecedārius (which meant “alphabetical”), was created as a combination of the letters A, B, C, and D, plus the adjective suffix -arius; you can hear the echo of that origin in the pronunciation of the English term (think “ABC-darian”). In its oldest documented English uses in the early 1600s, abecedarian was a noun meaning “one learning the rudiments of something”; it specifically referred to someone who was learning the alphabet. The adjective began appearing in English texts a few decades after the noun.
Examples of ABECEDARIAN
The children recited an abecedarian chant,
beginning with “A is for apple” and ending with “Z is for
“Aficionados of Sue
Grafton’s popular detective novels starring Kinsey Millhone will not be
disappointed by S is for
Silence, Grafton’s 19th book in her abecedarian series launched in 1982 with A is for Alibi.”
— Jan Collins, The State (Columbia, South
Carolina), 11 Dec. 2005
Minioncomes to us from Middle French and has a somewhat surprising cousin in English:filet mignon. The two words are connected by way of Middle Frenchmignon, meaning “darling.”Minionentered English around 1500 directly from Middle French, whereasfilet mignonarrived significantly later by way of a modern French phrase meaning “daintyfillet.” The earliest uses ofminionreferred to someone who was a particular favorite, or darling, of a sovereign or other important personage. Over time, however, the word developed a more derogatory sense referring to a person who is servile and unimportant.