Wade in

Why do we swipe left?

Beau Brummell, denouncing the fashion for a vegetable diet, was asked if he had never tried it himself: ‘Oh yes, I remember I once ate a pea.’ His remark sounded funnier then, because the normal way of talking about the little green spheres was as a collective, pease, as in pease pudding. Brummell was not the first to talk of one pea. Robert Boyle, the natural philosopher, wrote in 1666 of a bud the size of a pea. Alternatively a single example was called a pease. I mention peas because their harvesting was done in the 18th century with two implements: a pix (shaped like a pickaxe, I suppose) to pull

How weighing in became wading in 

The Sun reported that a woman sold a pair of rings which, if worn on two fingers, spelt out NTCU. Or they might be swapped round, with ruder consequences. When someone objected, the maker’s followers on TikTok apparently ‘flocked to the comments to weigh in on the situation’. In a report on some other matter, the BBC mentioned an Australian who ‘has form for wading into sporting rows’. So do people weigh in or wade in? Have they weighed in or waded in? The earliest citation given by the OED for wade in, meaning ‘intervene energetically’ is in a poem from 1863 called ‘How are you, Sanitary?’ The title is