Thursday, April 15, 2021

Language Of Confusion: Strict, Redux

Yeah, doing another one of these. I have a lot of old posts that irk me.
Strict, without any prefixes, showed up in the early fifteenth century, where it meant narrow or small. Its meaning shifted when it started to be used in a legal sense—a narrow reading of the law became a strict reading of it, and from there it came into common usage that way. Strict comes from the classical Latin strictus, which means narrow, coming from the verb stringere, to draw tightly, and before that the Proto Indo European streig-, to rub or press. And that’s actually the origin word for strain, which showed up in the fourteenth century from stringere (by way of the Old French estreindre). It first meant to tie or fasten as well as to put through a filter, then to tighten or make taut, and then overexert yourself, then to exert something to its limit. Yeah, quite a journey on that one, although it does make sense.
Constrict showed up fairly late, in 1732, though constriction actually showed up in the fifteenth century, while constrain actually showed up much earlier, in the early fourteenth century. Actually, constrict actually comes from constriction, which is from the classical Latin constrictionem, restraint, from constringere, to tighten. And that word is where constrain comes from, too. The con- means together, and stringere is to tie. Constrict is to tie tight. And so is constrain.
Restrict showed up in the early sixteenth century, about the same time as restriction did. The words come from the Late Latin restrictionem, which is from the classical Latin restringere, to restrict. Restrain showed up earlier, in the mid fourteenth century, also from restringere. Not really a lot changed about these words. Anyway, the re- means back, so to restrict/restrain is to tie back.
Finally today, district. It showed up in the early seventeenth century, meaning a territory, from the French district and Medieval Latin districtus. That comes from the classical Latin distringere, which actually means distrain, which I didn’t know was even a word, but it is, and it means to seize someone’s property if they owe you a debt, a bit like a lien, I guess. The dis- means apart here, so the word literally means to draw apart. No, I don’t understand it in the least, but that’s how it is.
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Dictionary of Medieval Latin
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

From The Spamfiles

This should be fun, right?

I love how reminder is in quotes. Is this some sort of ironic reminder? Is it?

Yes, diplomats are always in charge of outstanding payment bank drafts converted into ATM Master/Visas. Not a single thing suspicious about this.

Aw. He will like to be my friend.

I guess the International Monetary Fund World Regulatory Office International (how redundant can you get) does not believe in lower case letters.

Is this the same SUPPORT TEAM from before? I mean, I guess so since that was the “third reminder” and this is the “fourth reminder”. And it’s still apparently very ironic.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November. 2017, when Saudi authorities arrested dozens of the kingdom’s royal whatevers. We all know this is the opening line to a scam, right? It’s like telling someone you have a gold mine to sell them. Obviously it’s fake. Though sometimes you want to go along just to see just how stupid they think you are. Spoiler alert: insultingly so.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Language Of Confusion: Pulse, Redux

Time for another redo! This one’s pretty old, so it could definitely use an update. It bothers me when old things aren’t done up to my current standards. I’m sure by the time I finish updating them, I’ll have a whole new way of doing these.
The core word, pulse, showed up in the early fourteenth century as a noun (well, actually, there was a pulse in the thirteenth century, but it means peas, beans, and lentils and is totally unrelated to this pulse) meaning a throb, beat, or stroke. It comes from the Old French pous/pulse and classical Latin pulsus, which means drive, beat, or push. That’s from the verb pellere, to beat or to drive, which can be traced to the Proto Indo European root pel-, to thrust, strike, or drive. It actually makes sense, right?
Impulse showed up in the early fifteenth century, coming from the classical Latin impulsus, which means things like to push, to urge, or even to shock. It’s verb form, impellere, is really just to impel, or to push against, with the first part coming from -in, in, and the rest coming from pellere, obviously. To impel is to drive in—an inward drive. Sounds about right.
Repulse showed up in the early fifteenth century, as did repulsion, coming from the classical Latin repulsus (take a guess what that means) and its verb form repellere, to drive back. The re- means back, and pellere… well, obviously. It also might be obvious that this is the origin word for repel. That word showed up at the same time as repulse, although it did have the influence of the Old French repeller. To repel is to drive something back, and really, that’s what repulse means, too.
The rest of the words are pretty similar, although they don’t really have pulse forms. Compulsion and expulsion showed up in the early fifteenth century, though compel and expel showed up a bit earlier in the fourteenth century. Propulsion was a bit later, showing up in the early seventeenth century, and back then it meant driving away, not meaning driving forward until 1799. Propel is also a bit later than its -pel counterparts, having shown up in the mid fifteenth century, and again, meaning drive away. But then sometime in the mid seventeenth century, it started to mean drive forward, which obviously spread to propulsion. It’s actually weird when you realize pro- means forward, so propel literally means drive forward, we just weren’t using it that way for a while. As for the others, com- means with, and ex- means out, so the words are to drive with (yeah, I kind of see it) and drive out (I definitely see it).
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

April Goals

Well, March 2021 definitely gave March 2020 a run for its money. Ugh. I can’t even remember what I was supposed to be doing this month.
March Goals
1. Actually work on those damn notes!
Ha ha, no. This was not a successful month in a lot of ways.
2. Work on some non-writing projects to try and recharge my creativity.
I did do this, although my creativity and desire to write still seem to be at a nadir.
3. Work on some new ideas I have floating around.
I did this, too, although I’m not sure when I’m going to actually work on them.
Goodbye, March, and get the hell out, no one wants you here. Now for April…
April Goals
1. Work on one of my project ideas. I have so many, it shouldn’t be this hard.
2. Update my etymology page. It’s been months!
3. Actually work on those notes! I think we can all guess how this is going to go.
Fingers crossed I can actually get something done this month. What about you? What do you want to do for April?

Saturday, April 3, 2021


 This is an exaggeration, but I won’t tell you if it should be more or less.

Still haven’t gotten that achievement, though.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Language Of Confusion: Tracts, Part IV

Last one! Finally! None of these words actually have tract in them, but they are all from the Proto Indo European tragh-, to draw or drag something along. Let’s see how they got from there to here.
First of all, trait. Yeah, as in a characteristic. It showed up in the late fifteenth century meaning… shot or missiles. Seriously. It morphed from that into meaning a short line in drawing and somehow from there began to mean a characteristic in 1752. No idea how it got from a line in drawing to a characteristic. It just did. Trait comes from the French trait, which yes, can mean characteristic, but can also mean line, stroke, or feature. It’s from the classical Latin tractus, which I’ve mentioned before as meaning drawing something along, from the verb trahere, to pull, and that one’s from tragh-. I guess because a line is a feature of a drawing, it’s now just a feature in general? Oh, and for the record, traitor is not related to these words at all. It’s from treason, not trait.
But you know what is related? Train. When it first showed up in the early fourteenth century, obviously it didn’t mean a train that people rode on. It meant a delay—like drawing something out—and then a train like an article of clothing that trails out behind you (i.e. a bridal train). In the late fifteenth century, it meant a progression or continuous course, and then in the early eighteenth century, a locomotive with a series of cars “training” after it was a train. Plus there’s also to train something or someone. That version of the word showed up in the mid sixteenth century, in the sense that training was “drawing out” a desired outcome. At least these versions of train are related. They come from the Old French train, tracks, the trail of a gown, or the act of dragging. It’s from the Vulgar Latin traginare, from the verb tragere, which is from trahere. Things dragging after something are trains.
And as I mentioned trail, it’s time to look at how that word is somehow from tract. It showed up in the fourteenth century, where it meant something similar to train, as in clothing that trails/trains behind you. It wasn’t until the late sixteenth century that it meant a track left by an animal. It comes from the Old French trailer, which could mean to tow or to track prey, from the Vulgar Latin tragulare, to drag. It’s from the classical Latin tragula, which actually means javelin—specifically a javelin thrown by a strap. I don’t know how that would work, but something being pulled along by a strap makes sense for these words. Tragula is (probably) from trahere, and that’s why we have that.
Next, distraught. It showed up in the late fourteenth century as another way to say distracted, which we already looked at. Originally, distraught was the past tense of distract, but for some reason people gave it the -ght sound instead of -ct, and then people started using it slightly differently from how they used distracted. Distraught came to mean distressed, while people started saying distracted for the past tense of distract, which is much more sensible—almost too sensible for it to be etymology. As I mentioned with distract, the dis- prefix means away, and the rest is from trahere, to pull. Distraught is pulled away.
The last tract word we’re going to look at is retreat, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise since treat was here a few weeks ago, although a retreat is something quite different from a treat. Retreat showed up in the fourteenth century meaning a step backwards, and a little later withdrawing. It’s from the Old French retret and its verb form retrere, and that’s from the classical Latin retrahere, which meant things like withdraw or draw back. The re- means back, and trahere is draw, so there’s nothing unexpected about this one. Though it is related more closely to tract than it is to treat. That’s typical etymology weird.
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Encyclopaedia Britannica