One of the things I've been trying to do as I am editing is to check any words I am feeling iffy about in terms of period-appropriateness on M-W.com, which helpfully lists the first known usage date and origin of words. Among my greatest disappointments, the first known use of empathy, which we today take to have a nuanced difference compared with sympathy, was in 1850. That means no using the word in my Regency-era stories, argh!
One I just had to look up was "shuttling," because a character refers to another character "shuttling about the country," and I said, "wait a minute, isn't a shuttle a modern invention, like an airport shuttle?"
I was forgetting this shuttle:
In Derbyshire, which was in the midst of a goodly amount of industrialization at that time, I think it's a pretty likely word for our characters to know of, and effective at describing a person going hither and thither all the time, so I got to keep it in. But it also made me realize that this is likely where our modern shuttle came from -- something that moves quickly back and forth between two points. I'm pretty sure I'll be thinking about a weaving loom the next time I take an airport shuttle.
There's one final Mistress blog post out today! I'm at Catherine Curzon's blog talking about writing Elizabeth as a widow.
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