STENT, FABIAN, GROG? – DR DAWN GOULD

There is always some aspect of the English language about which one can learn. One may know the everyday meaning of a specific word but not the underlying history that caused it to be so called. Interest and enthusiasm poring over the pages of a modern dictionary will shine light on unknown details.

 

There are many people who have been to hospital to have a STENT inserted into a blocked body part. The stent is a tube and takes its name from a dentist, Charles R Stent, (1845-1901) who came up with a compound to create better molds for dentures. Later this same material was used when needed for various other body parts.

 

FABIAN an adjective meaning cautious  or a delaying tactic refers to Quintus FABIUS Maximus a long, long ago Roman general who when he came up against Hannibal used delaying tactics to wear out the enemy and thus avoiding direct confrontation.  The word also has another meaning when it was used for the gradual introduction of socialism. The Fabian society was founded in 1884 for this reason.

GROG an alcoholic drink perhaps leading to unsteadiness on one’s feet.  It is said that the name comes from the grogram cloak of Admiral Vernon who in 1740 made sure that rum officially issued to sailors should be mixed with water.

Grogram is a mix of wool and silk but being a somewhat scratchy material lost much of its earlier usage.