Saturday, 2 December 2006

Etymologies are sweet

[Middle English etimologie, from Old French ethimologie, from Medieval Latin ethimologia, from Latin etymologia, from Greek etumologiā : etumon, true sense of a word; see etymon + -logiā, -logy.]

Ha! *feels clever*

I was downloading some Avenue Q tracks off MySpace tonight (God, I love Avenue Q) and rediscovered the joy that is "The Internet is for Porn." So I got that stuck in my head and went to bed, only to be still humming it to myself several hours later. Which led me to wonder about the roots of the word "pornography." So I got my Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon out, and, guess what, it's "pornos" (fornicator) plus "grafe" (drawing), so, literally, "a drawing of a fornicator." Pretty accurate!

This led me onto Facebook's etymologies group, and look what I found:

Utopia = "nowhere" (Greek)
Khaki = "dusty," seems to fit the colour (Middle Persian)
Eccentric = "out of" plus "centre" (Greek)

And "jaded" comes from the word "jade" (c. 1386) for "worn-out horse." c.1386, possibly from O.N. jalda "mare," from Finno-Ugric (cf. Mordvin al'd'a "mare"). As a term of abuse for a woman, it dates from 1560. Jaded "dulled by continual indulgence" is from 1631.

Assassin: from the Latin "assassinus," from Arabic "hashshashin," pl. of "hashshash," literally "one who eats hashish." The original assassins were a secretive medieval cult that believed the drug gave them mystical powers.

Also, untranslatables:

Hakamaroo: to keep borrowing things until the owner needs to ask for them back.
Tingo: to borrow things from a friends house, one by one, until there is nothing left.

Both are from the Pascuenes language. Says a lot about the Pascuenes, whoever they were.

Gosh, I need to get a life. See what happens when you don't sleep?

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