Words That Confuse - 1


Brigade / Brigand 

A brigade is a large group of soldiers that forms a unit of an army. It is under the charge of a Brigadier.
The brigade is also a group of people who share the same opinions, such as the anti-smoking brigade. This extended, non-military meaning of ‘brigade’ can be traced back to William Drummond’s History of the Five James’s ( 1640). It refers to “ a brigade of papists.” (‘Papists’ is an offensive word for Roman Catholics, used by some Protestants.)

Now, ‘brigades’ and ‘brigadiers’ have their origin in ‘brigands.’ Brigands are a group of criminals who steal from people for their living. They specialize in attacking travellers for robbery. They have been notorious criminals from medieval times.

The ‘brigand’ connection of ‘brigade’ indeed heightens the effect of Drummond’s offensive remark of ‘papists’.

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