Nosh, grub and bub

Post dated 19 June, copied from Facebook

Nosh, grub and bub

Finishing my translation, I decide it’s time for a healthy walk, combining business and pleasure by picking up the latest tranche from Amazon or Ad Libris from our postal centre, cunningly located deep down in the dock area in order to stimulate and challenge the aged and infirm. Being a super-efficient synergy type of person, I think I’d better ask whether Gunilla is eating at home this evening and imaginary DK formulates a question in Real existing DK’s head “do you want some nosh this evening?” The first question is whether she will understand “nosh” (probably). But wait a minute, that’s an interesting word where does it come from…..

According to http://www.etymonline.com

1957, from Yiddish nashn “nibble” from Middle High German naschen, from Old High German hnascon, nascon “to nibble” from Proto-Germanic *(g)naskon. Related: Noshed; noshing. Earlier as a noun (1917) meaning “a restaurant” short for nosh-house.

This is adorable. I love words which float around in the undergrowth of our language. I wonder whether it is related to “gnash” (perhaps related to Old Norse “gnastan” according to the Oxford Dictionary).

Not knowing Yiddish or Hebrew is a real gap in one’s education and I will definitely “nashn” a bit at this some time (I have a Yiddish and a Hebrew dictionary….). It’s as relevant as classical Greek and Latin but neglected (except by nineteenth-century well educated priests).

It also directs my attention to another foody slang word “grub”. I learn (also from Etymonline) that grub (usually “larva of an insect”) is early 15c., perhaps from grub (v.) on the notion of “digging insect” or from the possibly unrelated Middle English grub “dwarfish fellow” (c. 1400)…. The slang sense of “food” is first recorded 1650s, said to be from birds eating grubs, but also often linked with bub “drink.”
If ever I open a greasy spoon place, I shall call it “Grub and Bub”.

Nosh is much more chic though and I shall elect it to my personal academy of favourite words.

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