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 Frenchmortier, from the classical Latinmortarium,
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.
morsel—really. It also showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French morsel, and that’s from the classical Latin morsum,
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 Latinremorsum, 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 Englishmare,
nightmare, and Proto Germanicmaron, 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
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
blog”? Now I know you’ve never even looked at my blog.
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 Latinmortificare, put to death, from the classical Latin mors,
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-.
unsurprisingly old, having shown up in the fourteenth century. It comes from
the Old Englishmorþor, great sin or crime. That’s from the Proto Germanicmurthran, which is from mer-, meaning
murder came to English through its Germanic family instead of its Latin one.
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 Latinmortuarium, 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.
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
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.
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.