In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros


A More Feminine You

The term "bread and butter" has provided us with our "livelihood" ever since the early 18th century. It has also defined our roles as men and women — literally creating a "slice of life."

Hlaf was Old English for a "loaf of bread." In a somewhat mean cut, it created the hlaefdig, "the loaf-kneader" — from dey, a "worker" or "server," and by simply dropping the "f" made a Lady out of her.

The hlaefwerad, the "keeper or guardian of the loaf," (also now without the "f") made him her Lord. This was in keeping with the longstanding notion of man as the breadwinner, from the Anglo Saxon winnan, to "toil."

Because "toil," i.e. hard work usually pays off, winning eventually came to mean, "striving with positive results."

Not all men, however, are winners. Some strive without positive results. Some strive not at all. Sometimes it takes the prospect of some dough to get the breadwinner off his duff, (mid 20th C.) — the gh in dough once having been pronounced like an "f," the word itself meaning the "soft or spongy part of anything."

The failure to address bread and butter issues at home often calls for drastic action —requiring nothing less than milady getting off her duff ...and kicking some buns.