Saturday, October 23, 2021

Overtaken

My mom has had some... concerns lately.
Seriously, there’s a ton of them this year. Better than spiders, I guess.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Language Of Confusion: Mortal Thoughts, Part II

No reduxes on these ones. All brand new. Well, probably. I do random words sometimes and I’m definitely too lazy to double check.
 
There are some weird words related to mer-, the Proto Indo European root word that means to rub away or harm and is the origin for mortal and other death related words. The words we’re looking at this week, however, aren’t death related in the slightest. And maybe not related to mer-, but let’s look at them anyway.
 
First is mortar—both the short cannon, the bowl for grinding, and the building material. The grinding bowl came first in the thirteenth century, shortly followed by building material, and then the cannon in the sixteenth century because it was apparently shaped like a bowl. All the mortars come from the Old French mortier, from the classical Latin mortarium, which just means mortar. It’s not definite, but it’s thought that it descends from mer-, probably in the rub away sense. Which, I mean, I guess makes sense.
 
Next is morsel—really. It also showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French morsel, and that’s from the classical Latin morsum, a bite, another word that’s supposedly descended from mer-. Of course it’s possible they aren’t related, but considering how many words are related that don’t make sense, it probably is.
 
With that sense, we go to look at remorse. It showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French remors and Medieval Latin remorsum, which literally means a biting back. It’s from the classical Latin remordere, to torment, with re- meaning again and mordere meaning to bite, another word thought to be from mer-. So how did biting back come to mean remorse? Apparently there’s a Medieval Latin phrase remorsus conscientiae, remorse of conscience. If your conscience is biting back at you, you’re feeling remorse. Obviously people wanted to shorten that, so it’s just remorse now.
 
Another word you’ll never expect: nightmare. The word showed up in the fourteenth century meaning an evil female spirit (eyeroll) afflicting men in their sleep with suffocation (major eyeroll). In the mid sixteenth century, it dropped the female spirit part and just meant the sensation of suffocating, and it wasn’t until 1829 that it meant a bad dream. A mare—not the female horse, which is unrelated—was a word for a night goblin or incubus, so basically the same thing as a nightmare. It comes from the Old English mare, nightmare, and Proto Germanic maron, goblin. Now, that word is from the Proto Indo European mora-, incubus, which is thought to be from mer-. Crazy, right?
 
Finally today, we’re looking at smart, which I’m pretty sure I’ve etymologized before, but just have to do it again because it’s so wild that it might be related to all these. Smart showed up sometime around the thirteenth century. Now, there’s a couple of definitions of smart, one meaning a sharp pain and one meaning intelligent, and yes, they are related, as in addition to pain, smart also originally meant something done with vigor or being quick and clever. Smart comes from the Old English smeart, painful or smarting, and that word comes from the Proto Indo European smerd-, pain. And that’s yet another word that people think comes from mer-, but who knows at this point? I suppose we have to blame all this on the fact that not a lot of people recorded where they came up with words. Especially back before there was writing.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Old English-English Dictionary
Dictionary of Medieval Latin

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

From The Spamfiles

How are people trying to scam me this week?

That’s an awful lot of exclamation points. They’re really excited about getting my fund to me. I’m sure all I have to do is send them some money for the taxes.

Oh wow. Literally burst out laughing at this one. Yes, that is absolutely what Montezuma II was famed for, that and nothing else.

Frankly, I found it annoying when the name in the email address doesn’t match the name—or address—they say I have to contact to get my money. You seriously expect me to compose a new email and copy paste that address in instead of just hitting reply? What am I, your servant?

Wait, so she’s a Sister, but she’s married??? Or did she become a nun after her husband died? Either way, you should stop saying “I am married” because you’re definitely not anymore.

“Very interesting blog”? Now I know you’ve never even looked at my blog.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Horror

You either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain.

Well, I think it’s horrifying.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Language Of Confusion: Mortal Thoughts, Redux, Part I

Way back during the first Halloween I decided to etymologize words related to mortality because it felt vaguely Halloween related. And now I’m doing it again.
 
Mortal showed up in the late fourteenth century, meaning deadly or destructive to life, coming from the Old French mortel and classical Latin mortalis, which is just mortal. It’s from the Proto Indo European root mer-, to rub away or harm, the origin of a bunch of other words, some of which are related to death, some of which are not. That’s the reason this is going to be multiple parts. There are some weird ones in here we definitely need to look at.
 
Mortify showed up in the late fourteenth century as mortifien, to kill or destroy the life of. Yeah. In the fifteenth century, it took on a religious sense of “subdue the flesh by abstinence and discipline” (yikes), and then by the seventeenth century it started to mean humiliate. Which… I can kind of see that evolution. Anyway, it comes from the Late Latin mortificare, put to death, from the classical Latin mors, death, and that’s from mer-. Mortify—embarrassed to death!
 
Morbid showed up in the mid seventeenth century meaning the nature of a disease, then referring to mental states in the mid nineteenth century. It comes from the classical Latin morbus, disease, and that is thought to be from mori, to die, which is from mer-.
 
Murder is unsurprisingly old, having shown up in the fourteenth century. It comes from the Old English morรพor, great sin or crime. That’s from the Proto Germanic murthran, which is from mer-, meaning murder came to English through its Germanic family instead of its Latin one. How appropriate.
 
Now we’re going to look at a word that I didn’t do last time, probably out of laziness. Mortuary showed up in the late fourteenth century, but back then it meant a gift to a minister on the death of a parishioner. It then meant a funeral service in the mid fifteenth century, and then by 1865 a place where the dead were kept, because that was fancier than what they used to call it: deadhouse. Mortuary comes to us from the Anglo French mortuarie, Medieval Latin mortuarium, from the Late Latin mortuaries, and classical Latin mortuus, dead, and that’s from mori, which is from mer-. Seriously, they paid the minister? I mean, I get it if it’s to pay for the funeral. They’re not just giving the priest money because someone died, right?
 
Finally today, the word I’m sure you’ll all be thrilled to see: mortgage. It showed up in the late fourteenth century, although back then it was just morgage because we never pronounce the T anyway. It’s from the Old French mortgage, which literally meant “dead pledge”. The mort- is from mori, while the -gage is from wage. Never has a word felt more accurate.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Old English-English Dictionary
Dictionary of Medieval Latin
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

From The Spamfiles

Let’s see how people have tried to scam me this week…

Now, she doesn’t say she’s a widow, but she does have cancer and wants to give me her money. As well as her body to science “as an offering to humanity”. Yeah, sure, good idea.

My unread message from Contact says they’re waiting for my answer about their party. That’s how you know it’s not for me, because no one I know would ever think I’d want to go to a party, crazy or otherwise.

If this message is in your spam folder, it’s because of your ISP, not because this is an obvious scam, beneficiary.

I love it when I get messages for accounts I don’t have from email addresses that have nothing to do with the place supposedly contacting me. Bonus points for saying my account ends in all X’s. That’s super legit.
 
Another new follower. I’ve got to say, the staring at the wall away from the camera is vaguely creepy. Makes me think the Blair Witch is going to jump out at me or something.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Shouldn’t Have Asked

This is why people don’t ask me questions. You’d think my mom would have learned that by now. She’s lucky I didn’t go back further. Comics have story lines more ridiculous and complicated than soap operas.
What do you mean none of this is necessary for watching the movie? I don’t see how that could possibly be relevant.