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Episode Info: A few stolen minutes out of your day to talk words and communication. Let’s talk language tips for the curious or confused. Welcome to episode three of season three. The Irish author Samuel Beckett once wrote, “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” I love this idea, in talking about communication skills as well as so many other areas of life. People can be so scared of failure or doing something incorrectly. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. But what can we achieve if we don’t try? Season 3, Episode 3: The origin of “compete” and “boycott” & is “lineup” / “line up” one or two words anyway? Approximate transcript: Tied into this idea, today’s question for you is what’s the Latin origin of the word “compete”? Is it to be the best? Is to work hard? Is it to strive together? Is it the physical collision of two bodies? Only one of those is correct. Think on that. And while we’re thinking about competition, consider the word (or should I say words?) “lineup” / “line up.” Kindergartners line up with their classmates. A football team’s lineup is set before the game begins (and hopefully if you’re playing fantasy football, yours is too). It’s one of those words that baffles and people tend to have their thumbs hovering over that space bar, quivering, nervous about that space or no space, or hyphen! Yes, that’s it, hyphen! No, wait, it’s just one word… I get it. It’s the little things that are sometimes never explained. We’ll dive into that one to. But before I get to that answer, let’s talk about another word origin story. Since we’re talking about competitions and lineups today, let’s also turn to the fascinating background of the word boycott. Have you ever boycotted something? Do you know where this word came from? In the fall of 1880, the Irish Land League was working to help tenant farmers better their conditions during the Irish Land War. Here’s where the Englishman, Captain Charles Boycott, enters the scene. He was one of many land agents in this time who was targeted by a non-violent strategy of public ostracism. Not only did his laborers leave his fields, but reportedly, shops would not sell to him, nor would his mail be delivered. All of his supplies had to be shipped from England, because no Irishman would deal with him. Only a few months after the boycotting of Boycott, his name was first used as a verb, to “boycott” something, as in to no longer do business with, buy from, or spend time with. And the rest is history. This season of the Words You Should Know podcast, we’re going to explore a number of people whose names became entries in the dictionary, whether they appreciated it or not. I’m guessing Charles Boycott didn’t appreciate it. But we’ll see how other folks in our lineup might have felt. And there’s that word again “lineup.” Should I say, “how do you like them apples” in this lineup? Thi...
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