Monday, July 16, 2007

Disappearing Words: Margarine

According to the Margarine and Spreads Association, the name margarine comes from the Greek word margarites meaning "pearl". And yet margarine isn't made out of pearls - oh no! It's made out of fat.

We still consume, I imagine, around 18 tonnes of margarine per head every year, and a further 2 tonnes per foot. That's despite the raging success of spreadable products named after cries of disbelief. And yet it's very rarely that you hear the word "margarine" in your local cawfee shop. Nor does it crop up much in hi-level debate about the "special relationship" between the UK and the US.

"Margarine" appears only once in the works of Shakespeare:

Would that this margarine o'erleapt th'very bounds of reason;
Aye, there wouldst see a pretty coxcomb for a quivvering.
- Two Spots For A Picnick, or The Comedie Of Terrors (Virgin, 1599)

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