Today, July 4, is Independence Day in the United States, and our words this week will relate to the event commemorated. We begin, as is customary, with a word that also fits last week’s theme.
unremitting – never relaxing or slackening; persistent
– Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence
(Congress’s redraft changed this to “repeated”.)
¹ Jefferson’s recall differed. Interestingly, their careers had repeatedly intersected, not always amicably, and they even died on the same day – on the 50th anniversary of the original July 4th.
manumission – release from slavery
[from Latin manus hand + mittere to let go, send]
– New York Sun, August 30, 2006
[Alexander] Hamilton was one of the most ardent abolitionists of his generation. … He even proposed recruiting slaves to fight in return for their freedom. Hamilton was a driving force behind the New York Manumission Society, and in 1785 issued a then-radical proposal for gradual emancipation.
– Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2008
Here's a word we've used before, several years ago, but it fits this theme so well that we'll repeat it.
John Hancock – a person's signature
John Hancock was the first signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence (image can be enlarged). He made his signature there very prominent: large, bold, and florid, right in the top-middle of the signature block.
– Sacramento (California) Bee, Nov. 17, 2003
Purchasing Agent Sharon Page requested commissioners affix their signatures to the purchase order, and Ware was only too quick to offer his John Hancock.
– Amarillo (Texas) Globe News, Oct. 29, 2003
[Israel's Declaration of Independence:] Space was left by the 25 signers for the 12 council members stuck in besieged Jerusalem, or overseas. But when Warhaftig came to Tel Aviv three weeks later, he put his John Hancock not in the reserved spot, but next to Ben-Gurion's name.
– Elli Wohlgelernter, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 1998
More from the US Declaration of Independence.
Adams’ later comment on the Declaration of Independence:
– letter to Timothy Pickering, 1822
[Did it have the same meaning as of 1822?]
Etymonline says as early as the 1300s.
"Haca's or Hook's Island" became "Hackney" where they raised horses. (Now within London city.)
Horses, often hired out, became a by-word for overused and a substitute for taxicab.
Re-applied to over-used phrases.
From memory, Hackney is still the official term for a taxi or cab in London, although it's not used by the lay public.
Again from memory, the name "taxi" came from "taximeter", the device that calculated the charge for the hire. Many years ago I heard a record entitled "The taximeter cab" and assume that, before WW1, that was the full name for what became a taxi or a cab.
"Cab", of course, is an abbreviation of cabriolet, a type of two-wheeled horsedrawn carriage.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
sufferance – absence of objection rather than genuine approval; patient endurance (esp. of pain or distress)
Again, from the Declaration of Independence:
Interestingly, most dictionaries don’t list today’s term as a “word”. At most they consider it a reference to the historical person, who was U.S. General in the Revolutionary War. He planned to surrender West Point to the British for 20,000 pounds, and he fled to England when his plot was uncovered.
Benedict Arnold – a traitor
The key phrase in today’s quote is John Kerry’s term, though the earliest reasonably-full quote I can find comes from the month of his spokesman.
– CNN/Money, Feb. 25, 2004