We’re back! As
you’ll recall from last week, the -rect words come from the Proto Indo European root reg-, which means move in a straight line. It has a lot of word-descendants,
and this week we’re going to look at words that still have reg- in them.
up in the late fourteenth century from the Old
Frenchreguler, although that
meant ecclesiastical—relating to the church.
That word comes from the Late Latinregularis, containing rules for guidance
(does seem like a church thing), from the classical Latinregula, rule.
In English it had the church-y meaning, too, basically meaning the opposite of
secular, but then in the late sixteenth century it meant things that followed
patterns, which is more similar to how it was used in Latin, really.
Region showed up
in the fourteenth century meaning “tract of land of a considerable but indefinite extent”, which I guess
is pretty much how we use it today. It comes from the Anglo
Frenchregioun, Old French region, and classical Latin regionem, which, yeah, just region.
It’s from the verb regere, to rule,
set straight, or guide.
That rule part
of regere is about to become significant. See, regime showed up in 1792 (yes, a specific year!) from the French régime,
which came from the Old French regimen
and classical Latin regimen, which
could mean regime or government.
That’s also where we get regimen from, although it showed up in the fifteenth century, also from
Old French’s regimen. And regiment is from there, too. It’s even older in fact,
having shown up in the late fourteenth century,
although back then it referred only to a government, not becoming an army unit
until the sixteenth century. It’s from the Old French regiment and classical Latin regimentum,
administration or rule,
so the government thing kind of makes sense. If anything, the fact that it’s a part
of the armed forces is the weird part.
started. I’m only surprised it took this long. Tumblr has flagged one of my old
posts. In particular, this one:
Yeah. A baby. It
must be a girl with female presenting nipples that are simply TOO SCANDALOUS
for people to handle.
Yes, there is
that “appeal” process where supposedly they’ll have an actual person look at
the post instead of a bot that scans for any form of skin (seriously, I’m not
the only one who’s had things flagged because they have flesh tones in them).
But it’s still a stupid, crappy process that flags way more than it should.
People can’t post sfw selfies without them getting flagged, and I feel like all
these so called appeals take away time that should be maintaining their stupid
Also, good news.
The porn bots are all still there. As are the white supremacists. Wouldn’t want
to ban those assholes or anything.
Now let’s look
at something less literal. Rectify showed up in the fifteenth century from the Old
Frenchrectifier, to make
straight. It comes from the Late Latin rectificare,
to make right, and rectus, The
-ficare part from rectificare comes from facere,
so rectify, to make straight. How sensible.
showed up in the mid fourteenth century meaning to set someone right by
punishing them for an error, and then later in the century meaning to bring a
text “into accordance with a standard or original”. It comes from the classical
Latin correctus, reformed or a
which is from the verb corrigere, tocorrect,
put straight, set right. The prefix is from com- and is thought to be intensive
the rest is from regere, to rule, set
straight, guide. To really set something straight is to correct it.
Direct showed up
in the late fourteenth century as directen, meaning to write a letter to someone or to point out a course. Its
history is similar to correct, and it’s from the classical Latin directus, which could mean direct,
success, or straight.
The di- is from dis-, apart,
which means this word, combined with regere is to set straight apart? I’m
really lost on this one.
Now it’s time
for the words that will make everyone giggle. Erect also showed up in the late fourteenth century,
from the Latin erectus, upright, from
the verb erigere, to lift up or set
and it’s the e- that gives the up part, although it’s I don’t think a common
prefix. Then there’s rectum. It didn’t show up until the early fifteenth
century, coming from the Latin phrase intestinum
rectum, which means straight intestine. Seriously, rectum just means
straight or right.
It was taken from a Greek phrase, apeuthysmeon
enteron, rectal intestine.
It was so called by Galen of Pergamum,
a Greek physician, for the lowest part of the large intestine in animals.
Because apparently some animals had intestines which were straight when
compared to humans.
posted October 23, 2010, with a much stupider title, this was the second etymology
post I ever did. I’m actually planning to do more posts involving the PIE
origin word for right, so this is a good refresher. As well as a good look at
how little I knew what I was doing.
Anyway! How about we look up some
more double meaning words? Today: right, right and right. As in, you are right,
you have the right to turn right whenever you want. Obviously, no one ever
mistakes the Bill of Rights as a law about right-hand turns. But how can three
words that mean mutually exclusive things all be spelled and sound the exact
Ah, English. I’d say it’s the most
confusing language, but I took German. Do you know how many words they have for
the? A lot.
First, let’s look at the right that
means correct, proper. It comes from the Old English riht, which itself came
from rekhtaz, a word from Old English’s ancestor Proto-German meaning good,
fair, proper. There are several other relatives including the Old High German
(prevalent around the sixth to eleventh centuries) reht, and from that the
German recht, the Old Norse (the language the Viking invaders to England spoke
in the Middle Ages) word rettr, and the Gothic (around 1000 CE) word raihts.
All the words stem from that rekhtaz. But whence rekhtaz?
Its parent is the
Proto-Indo-European (which is from a long time ago, as in 4000 BCE) reg-, to
regulate, make just, or reign. That word has more cousins (in that they’re all
descended from the same word) in the Greek orektos (stretched out, upright) and
Latin rectus (straight, right). Really, almost every European (and even Old
Persian as well) word for right descends from this reg.
Now let’s look at the right defined
as “the opposite of left.” I don’t know how many of you have heard of this, but
about fifty years ago, when my parents were in school, there was no such thing
as “left handed.” Children who favored their left hand were punished and forced
to use their right, which I bet resulted in a lot of messy handwriting.
For some reason, there was a lot of
stigmata associated with left-handedness. That is also the reason the word
right -> has a similar history to the proper-and-correct right. In around
the twelfth century, the opposite of left started to be called riht in Old
English, the good, fair and proper word.
Man, people did not like lefties.
Many of Old English’s Proto-Indo-European cousins also associated the right
hand with the word right (the French word, droit, comes from Latin
directus—straight). Except, interestingly enough, the actual Proto-Indo-European
word for that side is dek and from that, the Latin dexter (think of dexterity,
not straight and proper).
As for having rights, that most
likely comes from Old Irish recht, which also stems from the straight, rule,
put right reg. However, the Old Irish were the first to use it to mean law, so
they get the credit for that invention.
In the end, I guess you would have
to say all three rights do have something in common: they come from a word for
making something straight and good (although I obviously don’t think lefties
are bad and think the whole idea that they aren’t good is ludicrous). But laws
are attempts to make society correct (or right), aren’t they?
The holidays have past. It’s a brand new
year. And frankly, I’m exhausted. So while this post will be new, I think I’ll
do some reposts for the rest of the week so I can take it easy. Until I start
cringing over how badly written the old posts were.
Anyway, it’s time to figure out just
what I want to do this year.
1. Figure out some way to keep my yearly
resolutions in mind. Maybe I’ll put them at the top of the file I organize my
blog posts in.
2. Finish the first draft of my new WIP
and make my editing plan.
3. (Hopefully) finish my older WIP,
and at the very least keep making progress on it.
4. Write something new, but not
necessarily an entire book. Something smaller.
5. Start up a new spam blog. I know.
It’s the stupidest thing ever. I just think it’s hilarious.
6. Arm myself for the upcoming
7. Be nicer. To the people who are
nice. The people who are mean will learn new definitions of pain.
That’s my 2019 plan. Now let’s see
how it all goes to hell. Ugh, I made myself feel bad.