The Hoisted Petard

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A 'petar d ' was a machine used to blow a hole in an enemy fort; the explosion would 'hoist' anyone nearby into the air.

What is a petard and how do you get hoist by your own?

A petard was an early form of demolition charge, consisting essentially of a container full of gunpowder with a fuse. The sense in which petards 'hoisted' their targets was that, like other kinds of demolition charges, they blew things up into the air, particularly if, as was common, they were placed in a mine or tunnel dug underneath the target.

Early fuses and explosives being less reliable, there was always a risk of setting them off prematurely, in which case the engineer laying the charge might be 'hoist with [in the sense of by] his own petard'. A petard is an old siege device, which consisted of a hemispherical metal shell containing an explosive charge, and a pole. In some versions the pole was fixed to the metal shell. The hemispherical shell was placed against whatever was to be blasted, and the pole was used to brace it in place.

The engineer lit the fuse, and braced the pole. In use, two outcomes are possible: either the wall breaks, or it doesn't.

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In the latter case, the explosive force is taken by the pole, and through it, the engineer, who was thereby hoist into the air. The name comes from the sound it made, when it was used at the end of a tunnel. From the safe end of the tunnel, it sounded like the breaking of wind. A petard was a primitive explosive device used in the Middle Ages. It was shaped like a bucket or pot, to which was affixed several chains ending in sharp hooks, filled with gunpowder and closed with a stout wooden lid. During the night, soldiers who were called "petardiers" , would sneak up and place the device against the wooden gate of the besieged castle, light the fuse and run.

If the soldier was not fast enough in his getaway, he could be blown up by his own petard. Shakespeare in "Hamlet", used the phrase "hoisted on his own petard" to describe someone caught in his own trap. A petard was a small medieval bomb often used to breach castle gates. Poor quality fuses often led to premature detonation usually to the detriment of the bomb setter who was then hoist on his own petard.

A petard was an Elizabethan explosive mine that was detonated by means of a normally slow-burning fuse, used at low level to blow open barricades. Anyone caught in the blast would be literally hurled or hoist into the air, including the person who set the mine if it went off prematurely - i. To be "hoist by one's own petard" is to have your plot against someone backfire on yourself.

During sieges in the Middle Ages, it was common practice to dig an underground gallery beneath a castle wall and then blow it up, collapsing or at least weakening the wall. The countermeasure was to dig another gallery under it from inside the castle and then blow it up along with the men and explosives in the original mine.

The mine was known as a petar or petardfrom the French verb peter - "to break wind". In medieval warfare a petard was a large metal container filled with gunpowder that was frequently raised alongside defences in order to destroy them when the petard was detonated. This was a risky business and it was not unknown for the engineers hoisting the petard into position to be killed by its premature detonation. Hence the expression we still use today to describe someone whose own strategy or device turns against them.

The French used petard from pet: to fart , "a loud discharge of intestinal gas," for a kind of infernal engine for blasting through the gates of a city. As far as I can imagine, "yonks" is an abbreviation of a horrible spoonerism "yonkeys' dears" that is, "donkeys' years" , which implies that either donkeys live for a long time, or they in fact have long ears, and when you say "donkey's ears" it sounds like "donkey's years". But that's a cockneyism of a cockneyism of a cockneyism.

The term is a sort of abbreviation of the term "Association Football" which was adopted to distinguish between the two codes when rugby and Association football soccer parted ways in and the the world's first football association was formed - The Football Association of England. This was simply formalising the sport and standardising it's rules which, in many different forms, all over the world, has been played as early as the 3rd century BC in China.

Soccer was originally known as football in England until the advent of rugby which led to some confusion over the names of the different ballgames. The London Football Association was formed in to promote the game that emphasised only the kicking of the ball. The game soon became known as 'association football' to distinguish it from rugby, but it was the students at Oxford University who gave the sport its popular nickname.

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It was common for students to shorten the length of words and at the same time add -er to the end of a word to form a colloquial or 'in' word. The second syllable in association added to -er gives the word soccer. The two ball games played on campus became known as "rugger" and "soccer". Do the strawberries go rotten faster in the middle of the punnet or are the dud ones put there by the packers? Undoubtedly, the latter is true as the packers devour the prime strawberries at an alarming and somewhat sickening rate.

In this fruitful feast, many edible strawbs are flung to the storeroom floor and then hastily crammed back into the middle of the punnet for the consumer to find and reluctantly label a dud. No, people did not make paper planes before aeroplanes but they did make paper gliders and other styles that did not resemble aeroplanes. The Chinese made paper kites years ago. It is almost inevitable that they also chanced to make paper planes at about the same time.

No single sheet of paper can be folded more than 7 times so its not rocket science. People are murdered in hot blood, but it's usually referred to as a "crime of passion".

"Hoist by your own Petard" : etymology

Why does long term failure to win a particular trophy entail the imposition of a monkey on one's back? Most of us would recall the time when we were strapped to the floor with a tap dripping on our forehead for days on end. It puts a dampener on things. All that grass must give them the world's biggest case of the "munchies", so I think they're sneaking out for pizza when we're not looking! If you have ever spent any time with cattle, you will know they are copious producers of methane with associated flatulence [farting]; their corpulence is due to the amount of gas in their digestive system.

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As a teenager on a farm, I was often given the job of lancing cows that had spent too much time in clover paddocks and had "blown-up" internally due to excess methane from digestion of the clover - not a pleasant experience. I respond to previous writers who seem to get a great deal of pleasure out of looking down their noses at American English:. We have retained the original pronunciation of "herb", which is derived from an old English spelling of the French word : erb. It was usually spelled this way until the sixteenth century, when the h was added, again under French influence.

The old pronunciation was kept in Britain until the nineteenth century, when British speakers began pronouncing the h, whereas the Americans continued on the same road they had been on before. I feel the differences across countries only make English a richer language and I hope they never go away. It would be a shame if we all sounded alike. What does this mean? What is a petard and how do you get hoist by your own? The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Hoist by your own petard

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