February 10, 2006

Pass the muster

There is some debate as to whether these posts truly are linguistics lessons or simply etymology lessons. I contend, correctly of course, that etymology is a part of linguistics.

In any case, today we will be discussing the phrase "to pass muster."

Muster, it turns out, is a noun meaning "a gathering for inspection, review or roll call." And "muster roll" is a military term, not a type of nigiri sushi. Thus, the phrase "to pass muster" means to meet a required standard.

3 comments:

Josh said...

At Safeco Field (Park?), they sell Ichirolls.

dl004d said...

And at Peppi's (in Pittsburgh), you can buy a Roethlis-Burger for $7. (The sandwich consists of ground beef, sausage, scrambled eggs, grilled onions and American cheese and is served on a portuguese roll. It weighs between 1 and 1.5 pounds.) Interestingly, cheese is seven cents extra.

But since the meat is loose and not in a patty, that means it's not really a burger. And that means it does not pass muster.

lal said...

muster is perhaps even more interesting if we note that the spanish :mostrar or french: montrer are both similarly derived from the latin : monstrare (to show)

of course this reveals their shared kinship with our english word : monster.