General English


  • noun an investor in a company in its early stages, often looking for returns over a longer period of time than a venture capitalist


  • noun a person who provides backing for a stage performance, such as a play or musical, and receives a percentage dividend when the start-up costs have been covered


  • noun cocaine. The term was recorded with this sense among clubbers in the UK in 2000.
  • noun a passive male homosexual. These are slang terms used by homosexuals themselves and (usually pejoratively) by heterosexuals. The words may originate as terms of affection, as feminine nicknames, or possibly from an earlier slang usage denoting a (female) prostitute.


  • A financial backer, especially a major one, of a play or othertheatrical entertainment. The term, first heard in America in the1920s, originally referred to someone who donated money to a politician'scampaign; it was soon picked up by theater people and became so commonplaceon Broadway that it lost its political meaning.

    The first known financial backers of drama were the choregoi(see choregus), or rich patrons, of the ancientGreek theater, who underwrote the expenses of the drama festivals.

Origin & History of “angel”

In a sense, English already had this word in Anglo-Saxon times; texts of around 950 mention englas ‘angels’. But in that form (which had a hard g) it came directly from Latin angelus. The word we use today, with its soft g, came from Old French angele (the ‘hard g’ form survived until the 13th century). The French word was in its turn, of course, acquired from Latin, which adopted it from Greek ángelos or ággelos. This meant literally ‘messenger’, and its use in religious contexts arises from its being used as a direct translation of Hebrew mal’ākh ‘messenger’, the term used in the scriptures for God’s intermediaries. The Greek word itself may be of Persian origin.