Black Friday, Explained

What is Black Friday?

What is Black Friday?

Just what is Black Friday?

To understand it, we need to look at the American national holiday of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday of November and marks the beginning of the holiday season in the U.S.

First Coined

The term “Black Friday” was first coined in Philadelphia by the State Police Department there and was used to originally describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday had been used before the 1960s and its use spread throughout the U.S. around 1975 and onward.

Another Explanation

It had been seen as busy shopping day during the 1960s and stretching into the 2000s. Thus, over the years, another explanation was offered: retailers operated at a financial loss from January through November or “in the red” as it was known. And “Black Friday” indicated when they turned a profit or “in the black”. A term that started off with a negative connotation eventually went on to become a positive. This is the “Black Friday” we’ve come to hear about as we browse online stores.

Shopping Craze

Many retailers in the States were commonly known to open as early as 06:00 in the morning. But since 2011, stores such as Macy’s, Walmart, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Bealls went even further by opening as early as 05;00, even 04:00! Offering deals and promotions to early shoppers hoping to grab bargains for Christmastime has become something of a tradition in America. Even UK and Irish retailers, both on the streets and online have adopted this shopping experience craze.

Have you been affected by “Black Friday”? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.

The STAR Team

Sales Executive Jobs in Ireland – You’re Hired!

Sales Executive Wanted

Sales Executives - We Are Hiring

We’re looking for hard-working, competitive and self-motivated individuals who have some sales experience already and are interested in selling translation services.

We help companies do more business worldwide by providing the translation services they need for their brochures, documents and websites.

This is a great opportunity to be part of one of the largest translation companies in the world selling translation services in the B2B marketplace.

In this role, you will:
•    Prospect, qualify, develop and close leads
•    Interact with prospects via telephone, email, and face to face occasionally.
•    Sell translation services to new customers over the phone.
•    Sell using the complete sales cycle (Cold Calling, Quotes, Sales, Closing, Follow Up)
•    Make contact and generate new leads through research, networking and cold-calling.
•    Complete proposals and quotations

•    Manage your sales pipeline and attend our daily report meetings.
•    Target clients in Ireland, UK and the USA
•    Successfully manage and overcome sales objections
•    Build rapport with prospects to be a trusted resource
•    Achieve monthly and quarterly sales targets
•    Deal with sales queries in an efficient, accurate and professional manner using excellent customer service and selling skills
•    Excellent communications skills both verbal and written.

•    SALARY: c. €22k basic + Commission.
•    Receive sales training from our team as well as training on the translation business.
•    20 days holidays per year
•    Work close to city centre – Dublin 3
•    TaxSaver scheme in place for employees for reduced travel costs.
•    Bicycle Scheme in place.
•    Free tea and coffee (and occasionally croissants)

Email your CV directly to Damian Scattergood at info @

or reply to our ads our  social media channels.

-No agencies please.

Spelled v. Spelt — What’s the difference?

Spelled v Spelt

Spelled v Spelt

English language tenses are relatively straightforward compared to other European languages. Although some verbs are regular, there are many irregular ones.

Take for instance, the irregular verb “spell“. Its past tense and past participle are both “spelled” and “spelt“. But how do you know which one to use?

Well, both words are interchangeable. You can choose either one!


Spelt has more than one meaning: it’s a hardy wheat grown mostly in Europe and it’s also the past participle of “spell”. In this case, we’re talking about the verb “spell”, which means to form words letter by letter in the correct sequence and to spell something out i.e. ‘He will spell out the problem again.’

It is chiefly British but had been widely used in American English until the early 1900s when “spelled” became more common.


This spelling of the word is both past tense and past participle.

Conjugation of ‘to spell’
Base Form Spell
Past Simple Spelled / Spelt
Past Participle Spelled / Spelt
3rd person Singular Spells
Present participle / *Gerund Spelling

*Gerund: A verb which functions as a noun, in English, ending in ‘-ing’ (e.g. ‘asking’ in ‘do you mind my asking you?”)

The STAR Team

Rosetta Spacecraft to Make Historic Landing — Its Meaning Unearthed

Rosetta & The Comet Landing

Separation of Philae Lander from Rosetta Spacecraft

Separation of Philae Lander from Rosetta Spacecraft. ©2014 ESA

What’s happening now?

At 08:30 GMT on the 12th of November 2014, the Philae (spacecraft) (lander) separated from the Rosetta Mission spacecraft. The Rosetta spacecraft left Earth 10 years ago to make its journey to a distant comet known as Comet 67P/C-G.

This has never been achieved by humans before! But what’s its significance? It’s all about discovering the origins of our solar system. Scientists hope to be able to study the oldest building blocks of such systems: comets.

So why did the ESA — European Space Agency name it Rosetta?

In 1799, archaeologists found a volcanic basalt slab of rock near the Egyptian town of Rashid (Rosetta to us). Thus, the stone was named Rosetta and it helped revolutionise our understanding of an ancient civilisation.

There were three carved inscriptions on the stone, all written in two forms of Greek and Egyptian. The mysterious hieroglyphics — the written language of the ancient Egyptians, as they became known —  were eventually deciphered by historians. It was a breakthrough for scholars and linguists around the world and enabled the history of an almost forgotten culture to be pieced together.

The Rosetta Stone was the key to an ancient civilisation. The scientists at the ESA named their intrepid Rosetta mission so, as it will allow them to unlock the mysteries of all comets alike. And to better understand our solar system’s formation.

The lander is scheduled to rendezvous with comet 67P /C-G at 15:30 GMT on the 12th of November 2014.

Join the conversation on Twitter: Use #CometLanding

The STAR Team

Mo-tache-tic: Origins of the Mo & Movember



November. Known for the no-shave event “Movember”, were men across the world stop shaving their moustaches, even beards, to raise awareness of men’s health issues. The charity refers to all men involved in the event as “Mo Bros!”

Movember is a *portmanteau of “mo”, the diminutive word for “moustache”, and “November”. The charity organisation was originally set up in 2004 in New Zealand and Australia. Hence the word “mo” being an Australian-English word of origin. Since 2007, events were launched in Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Ireland, Israel, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and the United States.

Etymology of the Tache

It can be spelt “Mostache” or “Moustache” in both British and American English. “Moustache” first appeared in French in the early 1580s and possibly derived from the Italian word “mostaccio” or the Medieval Greek, “moustakion”.

In ancient Greek, “mastax” or “mystax” meant “jaws; mouth” while the genitive “mystakos” meant “upper lip”. As a verb, mastax literal meaning was, “that which one chews.” Some linguists have traced these words back to the PIE root “mendh-”, “to chew.”

*Portmanteau [as a modifier]: Consisting of or combining two or more aspects or qualities.

For more information on Movember and the charities involved, visit:

Online Etymology Dictionary

Moonwalker — The Making of a Video Game

Moonwalker Video Game Screenshot

Moonwalker Video Game Screenshot

What was it like working for Michael Jackson?

Damian Scattergood, our director, actually wrote the Moonwalker video game back in 1988. The game was based on Michael Jackson’s anthology film of the same name. A dance technique: Moonwalker was one of Jackson’s trademark moves. The name was actually dubbed by the media and not Jackson himself.

The Interview with Retro Game Geeks:

Watch Damian’s recent interview with Retrogames about his work on Moonwalker.

“A game like no other”, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker video game was a success.

A full transcript of the interview is available to read on

Moonwalker Video Game, 1988

Moonwalker Video Game, 1988

STAR Halloween Party

The lobby at our Dublin office was kitted out with the usual spooky paraphernalia. The staff from our production team did a great job or it; it really added to the atmosphere of it all. All the staff got together for a celebratory lunch, Halloween-style. Not all the staff were brave enough to don costumes, but the ones who did certainly made an impact. We chatted and relaxed while we waited for the pizzas to arrive.

Our special guests that afternoon were Batman, Dracula, a witch, Bananaman, a Victorian gentleman (with a Bowler hat) and Bat Girl!

Our Managing Directors in full costume

Our Managing Directors in Full Costume

Staff Fancy Dress

Staff Fancy Dress

Batman meets Bananaman

Batman meets Bananaman: Damian & Eoin respectively

Our Project Managers

Our Project Managers: Fabienne & Lucie

Power Ranger

A Power Ranger on the loose!

The Red Ranger from the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers made a cameo appearance.

The STAR Team

Trick or Treat! Give us something nice to eat

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Halloween — its origins in history and language

All Hallows’ Eve, a time when the dead are remembered and the veil between the mortal and spiritual realms is at its thinnest. Spirits, ghouls and fairies and other creatures from the netherworld are said to visit mortals in a night of trickery and devilry. Explore the darker depths of Halloween as we uncover the truth of its origins.

What Lies Beneath!

Halloween, sometimes spelt Hallowe’en, is a contraction and comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve: the evening before All Hallows’ Day. Een or E’en was a shortening of even (for evening) — quite typical in Scotland! Known by many other names like Hallow’s Eve or All Saint’s Eve, the words date back to 1745 and its roots are predominantly Christian. Although some scholars have stated that it has more Celtic pagan origins than Christian.

Albeit, etymologists found a similar phrase for All Hallows’ Day in Old English (‘ealra hālgena mæssedæg’ or ‘all saints’ mass-day’), it wasn’t first seen again until 1556.

While some people attend vigils at graveyards and light candles over loved ones’ graves, children and adults alike dress up in costume as creatures from the underworld (i.e. goblins, witches, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, spectres, fairies and so forth). Knocking on neighbours’ doors in a spectacle of ‘trick or treat’ shenanigans. Most western cultures that observe Halloween are Ireland, Scotland, Britain, France, the USA, Canada, parts of Italy, Romania while China, Japan and Singapore are newcomers to the celebrations. 

Trick or Treat! Give us something nice to eat

The whole idea of dressing up and playing trick or treat has its origins in the medieval practice of mumming. Mummer plays were seasonal folk plays performed by troupes of actors. The mummers, as they called themselves, would dress up and act out in festival-style mockery. ‘Trick’ was a euphemism for a ‘threat’. If no homeowner treated the trick-or-treaters to goodies, they would play prank or mischief…

In medieval times, local names for mummers consisted of guysers (guisers), rhymers, peg-eggers, galoshins and tipteerers. Disguised and ready for action, many mummers performed on the streets but were keen on going house-to-house or in public houses to make audiences giggle. Some guisers charged for a show!

The old revelers of Halloween would also recite verses and plays in exchange for money or food whilst carrying lanterns made from turnips, mangold or mangelwurzel to light their way in the dark evenings. The faces of ghosts were carved into them and acted as a form of protection from malevolent spirits.

It wasn’t until this custom spread to England in the 19th century that they were called jack-o’- lanterns.

Halloween became a modern tradition adopted by Americans in the early 19th century. Although the Puritan colonists of the 16th and 17th centuries knew of All Hallows’ Eve, they did not recognise it as a holiday.

With many candy companies using it as a marketing stunt to sell more, the holiday grew in popularity in the 20th century.

Pumpkins became the new turnips — they were easier to carve and their ranges of colour made them more decorative pieces. The American tradition of pumpkin carving was first recorded in 1837 and was only originally associated with harvest time. Not until the mid-to-late 19th century was pumpkin carving more specifically associated with Halloween.

What will you be mumming this Hallowe’en? Let us know in the comments below.

The STAR Team


ICYMI: A Slew of New Words Enters English

New Words Enter the English Dictionary

New Words Enter the English Dictionary

Each year many new words enter the Oxford English Dictionary

This year sees a slew of  “cray” words being entered into the Oxford English Dictionary. You may have heard or read them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Oxford University Press

The Oxford University Press has one of the largest language research programmes in the world. Their most important resources are the Oxford English Corpus and the Reading Programme.  Their Corpus consists of large documents sourced from the World Wide Web, while the Reading Programme is electronic and gathers information from a collection of sentences, song lyrics, extracts taken from a variety of literary fiction and non-fiction and also scientific journals.

International Community

It is held together by the contribution of an international network of readers who sift through these sources on the lookout for new words, their meanings and other language changes. The Reader research is all put forward for the Oxford English Dictionary.

New Word Sources

Many words that have made frequent contribution to the OED come from online communication, i.e. social media and internet slang, pop culture, film and literature, and even new ones typically churned out by tech-savvy reviewers. If there is sufficient evidence to back up a word’s prolonged usage [a new word used by more than one writer] then the Readers at OED investigate to give a clear definition and origin of this word. Once a word has been selected, it becomes a candidate for inclusion into the OED.

It’s all part of keeping the English language modern and alive.

We have always been interested in new words in the Oxford English Dictionary, as we’ve used a number of them in our blogs and social media posts. Here’s the latest collection of new words that found a home in the OED:

New Word Definition New Word Definition
acquihire the instance of hiring a company to acquire the skills & expertise of its staff hot mess a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered
adorbs arousing great delight; cute & adorable hot mic a microphone that is turned on, in particular, one that amplifies or broadcasts a spoken remark that was intended to be private
air punch the act of thrusting one’s fist into the air, typically as a gesture of victory humblebrag an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud
amazeballs impressive; extremely good or amazing hyperconnected characterized by the widespread or habitual use of devices that have Internet connectivity
anti-vax opposed to vaccination e.g. ‘anti-vax parents’ ICYMI abbreviation: In case you missed it (used in electronic communication to draw attention to something noteworthy)
baller extremely good, impressive or excellent in silico (of scientific experiments or research) conducted or produced by means of computer modelling or computer simulation
bare very or rarely: used as an intensifier e.g. that boy’s bare bold listicle an article on the Internet presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list
bedroom tax (Welfare Act in the UK) amount of housing benefit paid to a claimant is reduced if the property they are renting is judged to have more bedrooms than necessary live-tweet to post comments about (an event) on Twitter while the event is taking place
binge-watch watching multiple episodes or films in rapid succession mansplain (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing
brick cause (a smartphone or the like) to become completely unable to function on a permanent basis nailed on constituting a certainty; guaranteed to happen or definitely the case
bro-hug [another term for man hug] a friendly embrace between two men neckbeard a growth of hair on a man’s neck, especially when regarded as indicative of poor grooming
catfish to lure someone into a relationship by adopting a fictional online persona olinguito a small nocturnal tree-dwelling mammal living in cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador; first described in 2013, it is the smallest member of the raccoon family
clickbait (on the Internet) content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular Web page pharmacovigilance the practice of monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licensed for use, especially in order to identify and evaluate previously unreported adverse reactions
cord cutter a person who cancels a television subscription or landline phone connection in favour of an alternative Internet-based or wireless service pogonophobia extreme dislike of beards
cotch to spend time relaxing side boob side part of a woman’s breast, as exposed by a revealing item of clothing
cray short for ‘crazy’ side-eye a sidelong glance expressing disapproval or contempt
doncha short for’ don’t you’ SMH shaking (or shake) my head (used in e-communication to express disapproval, exasperation, frustration, etc.)
douchebaggery obnoxious or contemptible behaviour spit take (especially as a comic technique) an act of suddenly spitting out liquid one is drinking in response to something funny or surprising
dox / doxx to search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent subtweet (on Twitter) a post that refers to a particular user without directly mentioning them, typically as a form of furtive mockery or criticism
e-cig another term for electronic cigarette trackback an automatic notification sent when a link has been created to a person’s blog post from an external website, allowing a reciprocal link to that website to be created
fandom fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture trigger warning a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc. alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material
FML F**k my life! (used to express dismay at a frustrating or irritating personal situation) vape inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device
fratty characteristics or a student fraternity or its members vax a vaccine or vaccination
hench (of a man) being strong, fit, and having well-developed muscles WDYT abbreviation: What do you think? (used in electronic communication)
hexacopter an unmanned helicopter having six rotors YOLO abbreviation: You only live once (expressing the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future, and often used as a rationale for impulsive or reckless behaviour)
hot diggity used to express excitement or delight at a situation zonkey the hybrid offspring of a donkey and a zebra

WDYT? The majority of them are pretty new new to us, but fun to use. Leave us a comment below on your favorites…

The STAR Team