Saturday, March 26, 2016

A little nugget about "shuttling"

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.

Taking the cure

Hello, dear readers, it's been a while! But I'm back with a new Austen Authors post about the history of drinking spa waters in En...