Peter wrote As an aside, I have a feeling that the word "garden" has something to do >with "guard house", in the days of castles and fortified houses. It would, >perhaps,have been the area between the inner and outer defended walls of a >dwelling? Not very recently if at all. Both "garden" and "yard" are descended from Old Germanic "gart" 'enclosure', but "guard" (and "warden, etc.") come from Germanic "wart-" meaning "(keep) watch." That's why "guard" in English has a "u" in it; "guard" and "ward" form what philologists call a doublet, being two words from one ancient source that have entered a language at different times. Incidentally, the old British and current US unit of measurement "yard" is traced to "gart" 'stick', but I wonder if 'enclosure' may have been an extension of 'stick' because of the ancient practice of setting up stockades. One would have to go back farther than Germanic to find out. Peter, if this is an ongoing interest, you can subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary under OEDOnline. It's expensive, so I don't have a current subscription, but I had free access when I was working directly for Oxford UP. It's all to easy to get "lost in the web of words," the title of a book about the founding editor of the OED. You would also have fun reading "How to Kill a Dragon" by Calvert Watkins. Jane McGary Portland, Oregon, just starting to thaw.