WELSHING ON A BET
When someone refuses to pay a bet, we say that they have welched on it. This expression originated in the 1860s in English horse racing slang and very likely is an insult geared towards Welsh people, which resulted from the xenophobic mistrust of the people-group by the English. This ethnic tension hails all the way from the 400s CE, when the Anglo-Saxons, Jutes, and other Germanic invaders began displacing the Celtic tribes in what is now England. Their word for the Welsh, Wealh, literally meant "foreigner", despite the fact that they were, ironically, the natives of the land. Wealh comes from the Proto-Germanic word walhaz, which could refer to any Celtic group but earlier on was specific to the Volcae people, who probably had a name meaning something like "hawk" in Proto-Celtic.
7/28/2019 01:59:59 pm
Love the tie-in with yesterday's post. Similar to <welsh>, I grew up with people in my family saying "gypped" and "jewed down the price" without knowing how offensive these phrases actually were. Luckily, I learned before getting myself in any sticky situations.
6/7/2021 08:35:19 am
My first attempt
7/18/2022 10:22:55 am
Actually, “welshing out” or not showing up can be traced back much farther, to the year 935 and the Battle of Brunanburh when Welsh King Hywel Dda failed to show up on the battlefield to support English King Aethelstan’s invasion of Scotland, despite their avowed alliance.
11/15/2022 12:02:48 am
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11/28/2022 01:02:51 am
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.