These words have no connexion with plagiarism (well... perhaps not no connexion, but one that – if it exists (the possibility depends on the putative relatedness of two supposed PIE roots, which is a bit obscure even for me) – is lost in the mists of etymological prehistory. A (Latin) plagiarius was a kidnapper or other underhand operator of some sort). It was Martial (first recorded user of another expression which I forget now, though for some reason wallpaper comes to mi.... got it! 'paper over the cracks') who first used it to refer to the literary sin discussed on the radio this morning.
'A plague/pox on...' was a popular curse in Shakespeare's time. Some time later (I have a feeling I first met it in Regency Buck [ – in my early teens I was led astray by the literary tastes of my older sister] a cuss-word with similar force was 'Zounds' (which I originally mentally misvocalized to rhyme with 'sounds'). It is derived by attrition from the expression used by Chaucer's Pardoner: By Goddes Wounds; but by the time the Regency Buck got hold of it any explicit reference to God, or even the wounds of Christ, had been ironed out: 'S 'ounds
In the 1970s, the UK committed the act of a plagiarius (keep up...a kidnapper or underhand dealer) in doing the Chagossians out of their birthright so that the Americans could build an airbase within easy range of the Soviet Union). And in 2010 the UK government (the smylere with the knyf under the cloke) established a marine conservation area in the archipelago (butter wouldn't melt...) which – with its no fishing law – would (gosh, fancy that) prevent the islanders from returning.
When that news broke in 2010 I wondered about the name of the archipelago. The colonizing powers (I'm thinking chiefly of Spain and Portugal, who had the appropriate religious background) were wont to name islands with religious references: Trinidad or Dominica , for example, the latter named after the Lord's Day– when Columbus 'discovered' it. Even El Niño refers to a particular Niño, whose official birthday is celebrated at the time of that meteorological phenomenon off the coast of the Spanish-speaking Chile.
So, feverishly I supposed that the Chagos Archipelago must have five islands (one for each hand – or wrist if the preacher was of the hell-fire persuasion – one for each foot, and one for the lance in the side). The atlas disproved this, so I moved on to a more numerous source of wounds: the scourging would have left hundreds of marks. But the fever of folk etymology passed: Goddes Wounds were not chagos but chagas. Another fine mess a little learning had gotten me into!
Onwards and upwards: OO...
Update 2013.08.21.13.30: Too late ‡
and ‡: Until the end of September 2013, V4.0's there now.
Mammon (When Vowels Get Together V4.0: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs – AA-AU, EA-EU, and IA-IU, and – new for V4.0 – OA-OU. If you buy it, contact @WVGTbook on Twitter and I'll alert you to free downloads of the forthcoming volumes; or click the Following button at the foot of this page.)
And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.
Freebies (Teaching resources: nearly 32,400 views**, and 4,400 downloads to date. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with 1570 views/700 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)
** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.