I started this blog to increase awareness around the words we use in relation to conflict.
Last year, British Scholar Vivienne Jabri visited the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She says the violence we see in our world is just an expression of the violence embedded in our discourse.
In other words, it's in our words. Some people speak violently, think violently and then are surprised by violent outbreaks. They are really just demonstrations of what exists daily in the world around us.
I've intuitively felt that for years. How can the violence on the news, in video games and our language not impact our lives?
Jabri has the courage as a scholar to stand up and say, until we face the violence in our discourse we will never see it disappear in our lives. This website and blog is working towards that end.
Today's blog with "face" that challenge by talking about the face...or, rather, the nose.
This past week a friend told me about some car related expense, "it was terrible I had to pay through the nose to get it fixed"
Hmm. I stopped her and asked, "where do you think that expression came from?"
I thought a second and said, "it must be violent. I bet hundreds of years ago in Europe they cut off your nose if you didn't pay."
We looked it up and sure enough, that seems to be the most likely origin.
The origin seems to have been lost, but the most likely origin in circulation refers to 17th Century Denmark where non tax payers had their noses cut. Others seem to suggest there is some 'punching in the face' when payment has not been received (we've seen this in Mafia and gambling movies).
Below, the Oxford English Dictionary does not look violent until 1953. So, I suspect it had to do with getting beaten up or slashed in the face. I'm always on the lookout for violence in our language. Not to promote censorship, but to raise awareness of the kind of culture we are creating. What comes out of our mouth, not just our nose, could make a difference.
(Oxford English Dictionary's etymology)
1666 G. Torriano Piazza Universale 242/2 Oft-times rich men engrossing commodities, will make one pay through the nose, whereas they might sell the cheaper.
1672 A. Marvell Rehearsal Transpros'd i. 270 Made them pay for it most unconscionably and through the Nose.
1782 F. Burney Cecilia V. x. vi. 287 She knows nothing of business, and is made to pay for every thing through the nose.
1809 B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas I. i. ii. 27 But paying through the nose was not the worst of it.
1893 S. Baring-Gould Cheap Jack Zita I. ix. 136 Something for which the public had that day paid, and paid through its nose.
1953 H. Clevely Public Enemy xvii. 105 You're goin' to pay through the nose, an' you're goin' to go on payin'.
1988 Football Today Nov. 45/1 Crowds..are..prepared to pay, often through the nose, to stand on cold concrete throughout the misery of a British winter to watch their team play.