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Word for the Wise April 12, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Sent to Coventry

You've got to admire the plucky British city of Coventry. Coventry's earliest claim to notoriety dates back to the 11th century, when Lady Godiva was said to have ridden naked through its streets to protest her husband's onerous tax policy. Almost a millennium later, the city suffered serious damage during a second world war blitz when its famous 14th century cathedral was nearly destroyed. St. Michael's has since been rebuilt and Coventry hosts an annual month of Peace. (来源:http://www.EnglishCN.com)

But there's no getting around the fact that Coventry is most famous as a byword for "a state of exclusion or ostracism." Although its precise origin is uncertain, the phrase sent to Coventry—meaning "ostracized" or "excluded"—is believed to have its beginning in one of a number of events associated with the English Civil War.

Perhaps the Coventrians didn't welcome soldiers being billeted with them during the conflict; perhaps the young women of the town were forbidden to talk with Royalist soldiers posted there; or perhaps the city folk were notably hostile to the prisoners held in Coventry during the war; in any case, that inland outpost gained a reputation as a place people just didn't want to be.

 
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