What do the following words/expressions mean? a) staked a claim "He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel." b) take a switch to you "Now go, or I'll take a switch to you." c) ether "He should have told us that the ether in which this little earth floats, in which we move and have our being,..." d) enheartened "...but I am enhearted to make the suggestion..." e) Commencement "In 1922, you delivered the Commencement adress at Salem College,..." f) at scratch "...people who must start at scratch..."
Jul 10, 2019 10:38 PM
Answers · 11
a) in the old west of Canada and the USA people could go out into the wilderness and look for gold. When they found a good place they would "claim" it (through a legal process) and by driving stakes (wooden pegs) into the ground to define the boundary. Everything within these "stakes" defined the "claim". In modern English, to "stake a claim" means to assert your rights to something. b) a switch in this context means a thin and flexible branch from a tree. "Take a switch to you" means to whip someone with a thin branch. c) "ether" (in this context) - early physicists did not believe that space was empty, because they assumed that light from the sun could not travel through a vacuum. They couldn't see this mysterious material, but they gave it the name "ether". Eventually two scientists (Michelson and Morley) demonstrated that there was no such a thing as ether. In modern English "ether" has come to mean something which is everywhere but it can't be seen or detected. d) to be "heartened" means to be cheerful and confident, to be "enheartened" means to be made to feel this way. e) a "commencement address" is a speech which is given during "commencement". A commencement is a school ceremony where they give out degrees and diplomas. f) "at scratch" (in this context) means to start to assemble or make something from the very basic elements. If I make a pie from "scratch" it means I used flour and eggs and sugar and fruit, and I assembled everything into a pie. If I say "it's not from scratch" it means I probably bought the pie dough at the store and a can of pie filling and I just poured the filling into the pie shell and baked it. Mother would not approve of this method.
July 10, 2019
In certain areas of the US owned by the Federal government, an individual could have the right to mine on a part of that land by "staking a claim". "Commencement" is the name given to a school (High School or College) graduation ceremony in the US, which includes speeches. It is at the end of school but the start of life outside of school.
July 10, 2019
a - In the US and Canada in the 1800s, there was a lot of land on the western sides of those countries that was unowned according to the governments of those countries.* Those governments allowed people to move from cities on the eastern side and "stake a claim." (Mark an area of land - sometimes by putting sticks ("stakes") into the ground - and then register it with a government office.) Then if those people followed certain rules (usually live or farm there for a certain amount of time), they would get to own the land. "Staking a claim" means that the person started down that path toward land ownership. b) a "switch" is a branch of a tree that you have selected to hit someone with (usually as a form of punishment). "Take a switch to you" means "I'll hit you." c) before we understood how planets and stars and galaxies (&tc.) work, some people had the theory that the earth moves through a substance called "ether." (It doesn't.) "ether" is still used poetically as a synonym for air or a synonym for space. d) when a person is "enheartened" it means that they have a very strong, positive feeling to do something. (Good feelings come from your heart.) e) A "commencement" is the graduation ceremony (usually for a high school or college). "Commencement" means beginning - and graduation is when you begin your post school life. (The ceremony at the beginning of school is often called "convocation.") A "commencement address" is a speech that someone makes during that ceremony. f) "from scratch" means from nothing. If you start "from scratch," it means you have very little or money or supplies. If you cook "from scratch" it means that you start with eggs, flour, raw vegetables, etc. instead of using a mix or something that is already somewhat prepared. ---------------------------------------------- * There were people who lived on and used the land. The governments ignored them.
July 10, 2019
Thank you! This was really helpful!😊 No, I've been reading "Think and grow rich" by Napoleon Hill (old literature). :D
July 11, 2019
To stake a claim describes an old practice of placing wooden stakes in the ground to mark an area of land you understood you had rights to use/exploit. It especially applied to prospectors who were involved in events like the various gold rushes of the 19th&20th Cs. Your quote suggests he placed his stakes then started digging for gold or something else. Take a switch to you - this is a threat to beat you with a strong thin stick. I think typically they were hazel or birch. It was in previous times a common form of punishment for children. Ether was a hypothetical substance thought to exist through out the universe to explain the propagation of light and other radiation before the understanding of modern electromagnetism. Enheartened is not a term I have ever heard before but it seems to be the opposite to disheartened - to be put off the idea of doing something- therefore to be enhearted would be to feel emboldened. More confident to try. A Commencement speech would be a speech to mark the beginning of something - presumably here of an academic year. To start at scratch - to start from the beginning again. It was once explained to me that it referred to old running races where competitors ran beginning behind a line scratched in the dirt. If there was a false start or other problem they had to return to the line to start again. Whether this is real I'm unsure but it seems plausible. Hope these help you! Robert
July 10, 2019
Show more
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!