Revamping your vamp

I don’t like to get too political or delve into economics of which I have only limited knowledge, but in the midst of a recession, and at a time when the wealth divide is increasing, reducing tax for wealthy people did seem a bit nonsensical. So I welcomed the announcement last week that Prime Minister Albanese was going to revamp the controversial tax plan.

But social equity is not the purpose of today’s post. What I was really interested in is the word “revamp”.

The mean of revamp

Revamp means: to give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to something. Similar to renovate but with zhoosh!

And like a lot of verbs, while we might commonly revamp something we never vamp it! Well not in the same sense as revamp, anyway.

So what does vamp mean?

So what does vamp mean? There are a few meanings that don’t relate to revamp so lets just get them off the table (I( have included the dates they were first used to show how long this word has been around):

  • A vamp is a seductive woman who exploits men. It was first used in 1915 as a shortening of vampire—which has had the figurative sense of “person who preys on others” from 1741.
  • Vamping supposedly also means to ad lib on the piano and has been used for more than 200 years.

However, the relevant meaning, to us, of vamp is the upper part of a shoe or boot (ca 1650). It came from a word for a stocking that covered the foot and ankle (ca 1200). The word evolved from the Anglo-French vaumpé, a shortening of the Old French avantpié from avant in front and pié for foot.

So literally to revamp a shoe was to replace the vamp, which of course made the shoe look renewed. Today we tend to re-sole shoes to replace the soles that wear out. Voila!

Other shoe related words

There are quite a few other shoe-related words hidden in our vocabulary.

The Australian opposition is sure to try to sabotage the changes to the tax legislation that the government is making. Sabotage comes from a sabot, a wooden clog, being thrown into a machine to make it breakdown.

You may be thinking to yourself, that my post is a load of cobblers. This is, I suppose obvious (once you know) Cockney rhyming slang. Cobblers is short for “cobblers awls” which rhymes with “balls” (testicles) and is an exclamation of disbelief. So when you say cobblers you are suggesting that something is not true.