Word Talk

If you’re a crossword solver, you’re bound to be a word lover…

So we know you’re going to enjoy exploring Word Talk, where we look at many of the Words and Phrases in our fascinating English language, what they mean and where they came from. Filling The Gaps provides the story behind some of the people, places and events used in Lovatts crosswords.

Keep your shirt on!

Have you ever wondered why it is thought that impatience leads to undressing?

This exclamation comes from a time before modern manufacturing technology allowed clothes to be mass produced.
A shirt was a much more expensive item than it is today and so if someone were to get into a fight, it made good economic sense [more…]


The history of the word PAGAN is an interesting example of how the language changes over time to suit the needs of society.

PAGAN comes from the same source as the word ‘peasant’. The Latin word pagus referred to a stick fixed in the ground as a landmark and came to also refer to the [more…]


You can sound posh, look posh, come from a posh family, visit a posh restaurant or go to a posh school. We all know what it means but where does POSH originate from?

We usually associate POSH with the British upper-classes and it has gained the wider usage to describe, sometimes pejoratively, ‘smartly-dressed, well-groomed, looking [more…]


If a physician is described as a quack, he is to be avoided, but how did the term come about?

The word has nothing to do with ducks, but comes from the Dutch quacksalver, from quacken meaning prattle and salf meaning a healing ointment. 

A quacksalver then was someone who prattled on about the efficacy of [more…]


You may be interested to know where the ‘&’ symbol on our keyboards came from and why it is called the ampersand.

Well, in medieval times the symbol & derived from the Latin et, meaning ‘and’.

The & appeared on every child’s hornbook as part of the alphabet; the 27th symbol after Z. It was [more…]

Chinese New Year

On February 10, 2013, Chinese New Year will be celebrated and it will become the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese horoscope. 

In the build up to New Year, houses are cleaned and newly painted and gifts, food and clothing are bought. Paper cut-outs of words such as happiness, wealth and longevity are used to decorate houses [more…]

Christmas Day

What is the significance of December 25? We all know that it is Christmas Day, the celebration of the birth of Jesus and a time of families, presents and laughter, but why is it celebrated on that particular day?

In Armenia it is January 19 and in some eastern countries it is January 6 — [more…]


Cupid is usually depicted as a naked winged boy holding a bow and arrows.

In Roman mythology Cupid is the son of Mercury and Venus. His name comes from the Latin cupido meaning ‘desire.’ 

An episode of The Golden Ass, a story told by the Latin satirist, Apuleius recalls the story of Cupid And Psyche. Psyche [more…]

Mad as a hatter

Most people remember fondly the Mad Hatter from Alice In Wonderland, but the phrase mad as a hatter was around before Lewis Carroll created his crazy character.

Felt hats were very popular in Europe and North America from the 1500s to the 1800s, particularly top hats, the best of which were made from beaver fur.

In [more…]