What is the meaning and origin of ‘roll up one's sleeves'?

(S. Bhanumathi,

Srirangam)

The literal meaning of the expression is to roll up the sleeves of one's shirt and expose one's arms. The expression has a figurative meaning as well. In informal contexts, it is used to mean to get ready for a fight or to do some hard work. When you wear a full-sleeved shirt, you usually roll up the sleeves before beginning any work. This is to ensure that the sleeves don't get dirty or wet. It is also possible to say, ‘roll one's sleeves up'.

*When the students saw the dirty park, they rolled their sleeves up and got busy.

*If you want to succeed, you need to roll up your sleeves and take on the world.

What is the word for the fear of dogs?

(Christie, Vellore)

The word that is normally used to refer to the irrational fear of dogs is ‘cynophobia'. The first syllable ‘cyn' sounds like the word ‘sign' and the following ‘o' sounds like the ‘a' in ‘china'. The word is pronounced ‘sign-e-PHO-bie' with the main stress on the third syllable. ‘Cyno' in Greek means ‘dog', and we all know what ‘phobia' means. People generally say that the opposite of dog is cat. A person who has a morbid fear of cats is said to have ‘ailurophobia'. The first syllable is pronounced like the word ‘eye', and the following ‘lu' sounds like ‘loo'. The ‘o' is like the ‘a' in ‘china'. The word is pronounced ‘eye-loo-re-PHO-bia' with the main stress once again on ‘pho'. This is one way of pronouncing the word.

What is the difference between ‘leave behind' and ‘forget'?

(Ramesh Dixit, Delhi)

When you ‘forget' to take something, you fail to remember to take it along with you when you go somewhere. This act of not remembering is unintentional; you have not deliberately chosen to neglect doing something. Like ‘forget', when you ‘leave something behind', you do not take the object with you. There is, however, a subtle difference in meaning. In this case, you may have deliberately chosen not to take the object with you. You may have decided to leave it behind intentionally. The expression ‘leave behind' can also be used in the sense of ‘forget' — you neglect to do something unintentionally. Books on English usage suggest that it is all right to mention the place with ‘leave behind'. For example, it is okay to say, “I seem to have left my phone behind at home”. It is not okay to say “I've forgotten my phone at home.”

*Although Vyomekesh reminded me several times, I forgot to take the umbrella.

*I have no money. I seem to have left my wallet behind at home.

How do you pronounce the ‘lieu' ‘in lieu of'?

(G. Chandrasekhar,

Chennai)

‘Lieu' rhymes with the words ‘dew', ‘few', and ‘cue'. It comes from the Old French ‘lieu' meaning ‘place'. The expression ‘in lieu of' is mostly used in formal contexts to mean ‘instead of something' or ‘in the place of something'. In English, ‘lieu' occurs only in this phrase.

*On the trip, Sudha chose to use her debit card in lieu of cash.

*The family decided to feed the poor in lieu of spending money on rituals.

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