Word of the Day

small beer \SMAWL-BEER\
noun1 : weak or inferior beer 2 : something of small importance : trivia
The money we spend on cable is small beer compared to the mortgage payment we have to come up with every month.

“The main drink was ‘small beer’, which had a low alcohol content—just enough to preserve it—and was drunk by almost everyone, from children to old men, instead of water.” — From an article by Alex Fensome in The Dominion Post (New Zealand), January 13, 2014
Did you know?
“Small beer” dates from Shakespeare’s day. The Bard didn’t coin it (he would have been just a child in 1568, the date of the first documented instance of “small beer”), but he did put the term to good use. In Henry VI, Part 2, for example, the rebel Jack Cade declares that, when he becomes king, he will “make it felony to drink small beer.” In Othello, Desdemona asks Iago to describe a “deserving woman.” Iago responds by listing praises for ten lines, only to conclude that such a woman would be suited “to suckle fools, and chronicle small beer”; in other words, to raise babies and keep track of insignificant household expenses. Desdemona quickly retorts, declaring Iago’s assertion a “most lame and impotent conclusion.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s