Thursday, June 21, 2018

Language of Confusion: The Sun

Just a short one this week since these posts have been getting pretty long lately.

The word sun comes from the Old English sunne, which means sun. As you can see, it had more letters back then, as well as a slightly different pronunciation (it would have been more like sunny). Plus because of how Old English works it would have been a feminine word, which I just like. It comes from the Proto Germanic sunnon, which can be traced back to the Proto Indo European sawel-, the sun.

Solar showed up in the mid fifteenth century, which means it probably came after sun did. It’s from the classical Latin solaris (solar), from sol (sun), which happens to also be from sawel-. So solar and sun happen to be from the same place, just by completely different routes.

Helio- is a prefix we use to things related to the sun, like heliocentric, or the astronomical words anthelion and aphelion. It’s also related to the plant heliotrope and the gas helium. Helio is from Helios, the Greek sun god and is yet another word descended from sawel-. No, I don’t know where the S went.

TL;DR: the old word for sun is everywhere because the sun is pretty important and it makes sense that the word for it wouldn’t change much.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

More Weird Searches

It’s been several months since I’ve done one of these and boy to I have some things to share.

I guess it makes sense that people would wonder what it’s like to live in other places. But seriously just ask your frigging spouse what it’s like to be married to you. WORDS EXIST.

More queries into what something is like. The riot one may have been from me. It was for research!

Do people seriously wonder what it looks like they do for a living? Is this a normal thing people ask themselves and my brain is just not able to comprehend it?

The abbreviations I can understand. There are a lot of them and sometimes it’s hard to keep track. But “why does mean”?

Apparently people are just grammatically wrong so often that Google knows how to predict it in advance.

And as a bonus, what popped up on my home screen a few months back:
I’ve never done anything online related to basketball in my life. For a company that steals our personal information to sell it for advertisers they really aren’t doing a good job.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

That Would Be My Neck

It’s getting hot out, so this is what it feels like.
It was like sawing through a rope, but eventually I got it all shorn off. Not all that different from a sheep.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Language of Confusion: -Ment, Part VI

I tell myself that I’m not going to do any more long series, but then I realize that doing a long series means I don’t have to come up with new ideas for a while. So, you know. There are benefits.

Anyway, this is the last one!

Implement showed up as a noun in the mid fifteenth century, but not a verb until the early eighteenth century. Oh, and back in the fifteenth century it meant “amount needed to complete repayment”, and when the verb first showed up it was mostly used in Scottish English law, where it meant fulfillment. The noun did quickly become a synonym for tool, but it’s still quite a departure from its original meaning. It comes from the Late Latin implementem, filling up, from the classical Latin verb implere, to complete or fulfill, a mix of in- (in, unsurprisingly) and plere, to fill, from the Proto Indo European pele-, to fill. So I guess an implement is something that fulfills some purpose?

Sentiment showed up in the late fourteenth century as sentement, which apparently we just had to tweak from the Old French sentement. It can be traced to the Medieval Latin sentimentum and classical Latin sentire, to feel, the origin word for sense. Well, at least this one was straightforward.

Torment showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French torment (torture) and classical Latin tormentum, which could mean conflict, torture, or anguish. It’s from the verb torquere, to twist, from the Proto Indo European terkw-, which also means twist and I can’t look at without thinking of twerking. Is twerking torture? Perhaps.

Lament showed up in the mid-fifteenth century as a verb and in the late sixteenth as a noun, from the Middle French lament and classical Latin lamentum, which means wailing. Lamentation actually showed up earlier, in the late fourteenth century, from the Latin lamentationem, which also means wailing. The la- part of it is Proto Indo European meaning shout or cry, and it’s thought to be imitative. You know how we say a cat meows because that’s what the noise they make sounds like? That’s what imitative means. So apparently wailing people sound like “la”.

Moment showed up in the mid fourteenth century from the Old French moment and classical Latin momentum. Which, yes, is also where we get momentum. Momentum is actually a contraction of the word movimentum, which is from movere, to move, and that’s where move comes from, along with a bunch of other words that I’m not going to get into. Movere can be traced back to the Proto Indo European meuǝ-, to push away, so the origin of all movement is apparently trying to get away from something.

Rudiment showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Middle French rudiment and classical Latin rudimentum, which could mean beginning or raw materials and other rudimentary stuff like that. It’s from the word rudis which means raw or… rude.

TL;DR: Latin liked the suffix -ment so now it’s everywhere in English.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Do you like art? Do you like parodies? What about parodies of art? Will that work for you?

Over on Newgrounds there’s a guy named Munguia who makes games where you look at a caricature he drew of a well-known painting and try to guess which painting it’s from. Some of them are easy. I mean, you’re not going to have any trouble figuring out when it’s supposed to be the Mona Lisa. And if you really need help, there’s also a button so you can look at the real version of the painting. Or just, you know, google it.

Anyway, it’s a nice way to go look at some paintings for a few hours. And more importantly, I don’t have to think up a real post! Win-win. Here’s the links:










Saturday, June 9, 2018


My bedroom faces to the west, which is good for sleeping in the morning. But the door opens to an eastern facing hallway…
Because of the way everything is angled, this is really only a problem for a few weeks at this time of year. But man, is it annoying.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Language of Confusion: -Ment, Part V

This is the fifth one, right? I’m too lazy to check so I’m going with yes. Only one more after this.

Element showed up in the fourteenth century, but back then it only referred to earth, air, fire, and water because old timey people didn’t know how matter worked and it wasn’t until 1813 that elements were called elements. It’s from the classical Latin elementum, which it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it means element, and that was a translation of a Greek word (stoikheion, which I’m not sure the definition of), so they didn’t come up with the concept. Also, since “element” roughly means “first principles”, that’s why elementary is like saying basically or rudimentary (don’t worry, we’ll get to that word, too).

Testament first showed up in the late thirteenth century basically meaning a will, coming from the classical Latin testamentum, which is also just will []. It’s related to testari, which can mean testify, witness, or make a will, and testis, a witness. It’s from the Proto Indo European tri-st-i-, which means “third person standing by”. That tri- is where we get three from! So because a witness is a third party, that’s why we have testament. And in regards to the Bible, the reason the two parts are called testaments is because they were called vetus testamentum and novum testamentum (Old/New testament) in Late Latin, which was a translation of what they were called in Greek, palia/kaine diatheke. Diatheke can mean testament (like will) when translated into Latin, but it can also mean covenant or dispensation, which was what they were actually going for there.

Monument showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French monument and classical Latin monumentum, which means… monument. No big surprise there. It’s related to the word monere, to warn, in the sense that a monument is supposed to be a reminder. Monere comes from the Proto Indo European moneyo-, from men-, to think. A monument is something you’re supposed to remember to think about.

Ferment showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French fermenter and classical Latin fermentare, to ferment. It’s origins beyond that are muddy, but it might be related to fervimentum and fervere, seethe or boil. Which would make sense, but come on. When does this ever make sense?

Segement showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the classical Latin segmentum, asegment, strip, or cutting. It’s related to the verb secare, to cut. So a segment is something cut from something bigger.

Augment showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning “to become more severe” before it meant to make larger/greater. It’s from the Old French augmenter and Late Latin augmentare, to increase. That’s from the classical Latin augmentum, growth, and augere, to increase. The aug- is a Proto Indo European root meaning to increase and is where we get the wonderful month of August from, too.