Having words, calling names: Steak and mistake

By YEDIDYA P. ALAVRAS
July 13, 2018 13:38
4 minute read.
A view of the Ashkelon beachfront

A view of the Ashkelon beachfront. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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If it didn’t involve death, you could die laughing.  Read the following quote from a blog I happened upon:   [Queen Mary]  “burned countless Protestants at the steak…”  Recalling the autos-da-fė (the so-called “acts of faith”) in which “heretics” were burnt at the stake in Spain and Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries, it just isn’t funny. 

“Stake” has many meanings.  It is usually a length of wood or metal used for marking an area (“staking a claim”); or to use stakes to put up fencing (“a stake fence”), to burn at the stake (the pole to which the so-called heretic was tied).  A trickier one is “to raise the stakes,” which I found as possibly referring to the stake or little stick that bettors used to hang their betting money on.  It’s a possibility, but I wouldn’t stake any money on it.

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