a measure of length. As with all such ancient measures, not well-standardised. The English ell was equivalent to 45 inches, the Scottish to 37.2 inches, the Flemish to 27 inches. The same “el” as in “elbow” and “ulna”, because the word derives from words for arm, the measure being notionally the length of an arm, or some portion of it.
an uncle. Recorded earlier than “uncle”, but not since the 19th century
variant of EVEN as in “evening” (poetic)
South African word for ‘a garden plot, usually containing about half-an-acre’ (plural ERVEN). From a Dutch root meaning “inheritance”, as found in “orphan”, not a eye-dialect spelling of “earth”
an aircraftsman. 1920s-1940s. A 1944 quote derives it: “a shortened pronunciation of the italicised letters in air mechanic (perhaps in the form of ‘air mech’)… Some airmen less convincingly maintain that it comes from ‘lower-deck hand’.”. However, there is an earlier citation from 1925: “Erk, a rating. (Navy). Lower deck colloquialism for any ‘rank’ not that of an officer”. Although military jargon is the most productive way acronyms become words, it’s still less common than supposed. I would be unsurprised if this originated as a variant of OIK.
An alternative philosophy and technique (Erhard Seminars Training, run in the 1970s-1980s) intended to raise self-awareness and ‘human potential’, involving philosophical and psychological means, including motivational theories from the business world. More fossilised woo. Woo hoo.
Scots and northern English dialect. To itch. Also YUKE, YOUK
Australian slang for evening. Comes after AVO
Australian slang for excellent. Not “executive officer”, does not take an S.
Back to some stand-out nonsense here. Editors, please remove:
EST – an acronym and obsolete
ECH, EIK, EUK, EWK – words from before the invention of spelling
ERK maybe gets a pass for another couple of decades, but we need some statute of limitations of temporally-localised slang like this, and “lifetime of speakers for whom this is idiomatic” seems like a reasonable one. I can imagine EMO and EEW being scorned as fossils within a few decades too, and letting things rotate out seems preferable to a lexicon forever increasing in density of obsolete slang.