If you want to stay within your budget, a budgie is the pet to ...

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A WORD IN THE HAND: BUDGET

If you want to stay within your budget, a budgie is the pet to get

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Deputy features editor: Sunday Times

“Budget” sounds like a cosy little word. It puts one in mind of a favourite cushion you’d cuddle up with while watching TV, or something you’d use to stuff things in, like those fabric pouches used for storing abominable plastic bags bought from supermarkets when you’ve forgotten to take your own.

As it happens, budget does come from similar squishy and benevolent places. It entered the English vocabulary in the early 1400s, when it referred to a leather pouch or small bag or sack in which to keep things (except obviously not plastic bags, because dastardly plastic had not yet been invented).

Before the English converted them into the more pronounceable “budgets”, these handy storage receptacles were known as “bougets”, in line with their French forebears. In Old French, a bougette was a miniature bouge, which was a large wallet or handbag, perhaps reminiscent of those ostrich-skin monstrosities “curated” by the former US ambassador to SA...

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