Starve comes from the Old English steorfan, which actually means to die, believe it or not, coming from the Proto Germanicsterban, to be stiff. It didn’t mean die from hunger until the sixteenth century, where “starve from hunger” was a phrase for several centuries. I guess they eventually dropped the last part, which makes sense. We have plenty of words for die but no other one specifically related to dying from a lack of food.
Bludgeon, a word I don’t get to use nearly enough, showed up in the 1730s with no real known origin. Some think it might be from the Dutch blusden, but they aren’t really sure. I posit that someone said it by accident once and it was so fun to say that everyone picked up on it.
Poison showed up in the thirteenth century as a noun and a century later as a verb. It’s from the Old Frenchpoison/puison, which was a drink, usually medical but sometimes also in the magic potion sense. Before that it was the classical Latinpotionem, medicine, which, I mean, yeah, obviously that’s where potion is from. Anyway, potionem comes from potare, to water or to drink, which is from the Proto Indo European root word poi-, the origin of a weird number of words that you wouldn’t expect. Like, you’ve got imbibe on that list, and beer, and also symposium. And finally, fun fact of the day: in Old English the word for poison was ator!
More Halloween spooktacular fun! This week: movies.
Hell House LLC
This is pretty standard found footage fare, but it does manage to bring with it some genuinely creepy moments. A group of people are documenting their creation of a Halloween house, which happens to take place in a notorious hotel. Creepy stuff starts happening, obviously. There’s nothing new here, but I liked it and would suggest giving it a try if you’re having a scary movie night.
This movie is pretty bad in terms of story, characters, acting, and pretty much everything else. Its one shining asset is the amazing special effects used to create the monsters. I would recommend this only because it’s watchable enough to endure so you can enjoy some really cool monsters. If you like eighties horror movies, this will be right up your alley.
Okay, if I’m being honest, I put this movie on the list because I have no idea what the hell it was about and I’m hoping that if someone else watches it, they’ll be able to figure it out. If it had more focus, it might have actually been good. The basic plot is that a couple discovers that a man living out in the woods is a mysterious artist who sends creepy figures to random people, something which is never really explained. Which…yeah, “never really explained” sums up most of the movie. You get some hints and some speculation, but not nearly enough. I’m not someone who needs every little thing explained in great detail, but something would have been nice. So skip it unless you want to see some creepy imagery.
Probably the movie here that I most enjoyed. It’s a typical alien abduction story, this time involving a whole family, and it has some of the usual horror movie tropes, i.e. the dad refusing to accept that it’s true after everyone else has. But it’s still enjoyable and genuinely creepy at times, and everything about it felt well done. Definitely try it out.
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House
This Netflix original is about the caregiver of an elderly writer, but it’s also about the writer’s most famous novel, about a ghost that might very well live in the house. It’s, well, atmospheric. I guess that’s the best thing I can say about it. I liked it, but it’s probably not something I’d watch again, and I have to say I doubt a lot of people would enjoy it. If you want a gothic ghost story in the modern era, this is definitely it.
One of my least favorite words, anxiety showed up in the early-mid sixteenth century from the classical Latinanxietatem, anxiety. Anxious didn’t show up until a century later, coming from the Latin anxius, worried, which is related to angere, writhe, and anguere, snake. Um, the verb snake, not the reptile. Although I think that’s where the name for the reptile comes from. Anyway, the word can be further traced back to the Proto Indo European angh-, which is where we get anger, and also angst. Speaking of which...
Angst is a very young word, having shown up in 1944. It started as a term in psychology that came from the German word angst, which just means anxiety. And as I said, it can be traced to angh-.
Nervous showed up in the fifteenth century, where it meant “affecting the sinews”, which apparently can mean a tendon or asource of power (I’ve heard that word but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it used). Of course it’s related to nerve, coming from the classical Latin nervosus and nervus, which means sinew. That word seems to be popping up a lot here.
Not so much scary as it is psychological, this game is a text based adventure, where you type in words and the game responds almost like a story. Except in this case the game hates you. There are a few puzzles, but they are very simple. Mostly it’s just typing “look” and the game yelling at you. Anyway, it’s a fun, if weird, way to pass the time. Be warned, there is some swearing in this.
In a twist on the escape the room genre, in thesethreegames you want to be locked in as securely as possible. They’re a mix of time management and point-and-click, and manage to be both tense and enjoyable. Go check them out when you have some time.
I’ve actually mentioned this game and its sequel before, but now the third and final game is out and you can play through theentireseries. They are very atmospheric games, Lovecraftian almost. You know, without the racism.
You doing anything Halloween-y this month? Anything scary you want to share?