Sunday, November 25, 2007

To boot

It has been a while since I had a random thought. It seems I'm too busy to have many random thoughts anymore, or at least time to entertain those thoughts and write about them.

So, onto today's random thought: to boot. Have you seen or hear this lately? "That purse is cute to boot." What in the world does this mean? Where did the phrase "to boot" come from? Why has it caught on so quickly? It makes absolutely no sense when you think about what you are saying.

Perhaps this is an old phrase, but it seems only this year I've heard it or seen it and it usually is in reference to how cute or great something is. The American Linguistic Society has a conference each year where they pick a word of the year. I want to offer the phrase "to boot" to the ALS. I know it isn't a word, but can some exception be made?

Curious me, I Googled "to boot". (Funny how the word google has become a common verb in our vocabulary) This is what Google says about this strange phrase:

To boot
Moreover; in addition to.

This term has nothing to do with footwear. The 'boot' is thought to be a derivative of the earlier 'bat' meaning 'good or useful'. This is also the root of the word 'better'.

Forms of 'to boot' in Old English date from around 1000AD. Robert Manning of Brunne included a version of it in Langtoft's Chronicle, 1330:

"A hundreth knyghtes mo... and four hundreth to bote, squieres of gode aray."

OK, it means moreover; in addition to. So, "That purse is cute to boot" becomes "That purse is cute moreover." Well, in my mind, neither sound good, but it makes sense now. I think it is a phrase that will quickly become abused because I don't think the general population knows really what it means or how to use it. Well, this is one phrase I will avoid to boot.


SLC said...

ML - you are funny to boot!

Anonymous said...

I was looking up the meaning of 'to boot' and I heard something faintly in the background. "What is that?", I thought, with slight unease. Then.....MORROWIND!

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone thanks for

good information.

Melissa Velez said...

My friend sent me an email and used the phrase cute to boot- from what we were talking about I understood what she meant but I've never heard this. Thanks for the info...
I can't see myself using it..