I’m still on the morbid etymology kick. What can I say? It’s October.
Death comes from the Old Englishdeað, which is just death with a thorn in for the th sound. It comes from the Proto Germanicdauthuz and Proto Indo Europeandheu-, to die. Which is appropriate, as that’s where die came from, by way of the Proto Germanic dawjan. PS, the die that is the plural of dice is not even remotely related, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Kill showed up in the early thirteenth century as a word for strike or hit. It didn’t mean to death-ify someone until a century later! Unless it comes from the Old English word cwellan, which means to kill or murder. I mean, that would make sense, but it’s one of those ones that they aren’t sure of. What they are sure of however is that cwellen is the origin word for quell though. Because you know that makes so much sense.
Hurt also showed up in the early thirteenth century not just meaning to injure but also to bump/knock into. Sure. Why not. It comes from the Old French hurter, ram or strike, so apparently it was English that switched things up. Its earlier origins are less certain. It would make sense if it came from the Frankish hurt, which means ram, but it might be Celtic in origin, too. Basically, it’s a really hard to pin down word.
Another cheery entry! Agony first showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning only mental suffering. It comes from the Old French agonie/agoine, anguish or terror, and Late Latinagonia, which is just taken from the Greek agonia, anguish. It originally meant a mental struggle for victory or a struggle for victory in the games, coming from agon, which could mean struggle or game. Well, I guess struggling to win a game is agony…Or maybe that’s just for kids who were bad at Physical Education.
Wow. I’ve been talking about death a lot lately. Welp, here’s more!
Corpse has kind of an unusual story. It showed up in the mid sixteenth century. Originally the P was silent and it didn’t used to have an E at the end. Kind of like the word corps. Which happens to be where corpse comes from. Really. Corps showed up in the late thirteenth century—before that it was cors, an old word for body. It comes from the Old Frenchcors, body/person/corpse, and classical Latincorpus, also body (it’s where corporeal comes from, obvs). And they used to pronounce the P, so we can blame French for getting rid of it for some dumb reason. Although I think the silent S might be on us.
Cadaver first showed up in the early sixteenth century from the classical Latin cadaver, which means…cadaver. Okay, not much imagination in this one. It’s origins before that are unclear, but it’s thought to come from cadere, fall, which kind of makes sense since a dead body is a fallen one. So we finally got one that’s not totally frigging weird and it only took eight words.
Wow. We have a lot of words for dead body. Carcass showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Anglo French carcois. Before that it’s the Old French charcois (roughly the same meaning) and Anglo Latin (that’s the first time I’ve mentioned that language on this blog) carcosium, dead body. So yeah. This one just kind of popped up from nowhere.
Back to scary stuff! I’ve already told you about some creepy games, so now it’s time to look at some creepy comics. There’s some pretty good ones out there!
First of all, Emily Carroll is really the best when it comes to horror related comics. Most of them are fairly quick reads, and more on the psychological end of the horror spectrum. His Face All Red is very popular, and I really like Margot’s Room, where you click on the different pieces of the first image to read the different parts of the story. Out Of Skin is full of freaky imagery, and The Groom is pretty intense. My personal favorite is probably Some Other Animal’s Meat which is just so unsettling…well, read it, you’ll see.
I also really like The Dreaded Question by Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon, and I have a feeling other writers will like it, too. It’s very creepy and gothic, and the ending is just perfect. Don’t you wish writing was that easy? ; )
And hey, if you want to check out something from Asia, check out the Korean comic The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost and prepare to never sleep again. It’s translated into English, so don’t worry. About that, anyway. Just watch out for the jumpscare.
So that’s it for this week. What did you think? Are there any scary comics you enjoy?
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably gotten bored of my constant complaining about the crickets in my house being so loud that they keep me awake at night. It’s pretty awful. Both the crickets and the fact that I won’t shut up about them. But they’re just SO LOUD. Definitely a horror story if I’ve ever heard one.
I don’t remember them being this bad last year. It’s like they’ve all moved into my walls and want to drive me insane. They’re conspiring together. Plotting.
Coffin showed up in the early fourteenth century,
where it meant a chest or something that held valuables. It comes from the Old Frenchcofin, which meant sarcophagus or basket (or coffer, actually), and before that the classical Latincophinus, basket.
So yeah, coffin used to mean a basket until the sixteenth century. Also, not
making this up, it once meant a pie crust. This is just gold.
Cemetery first showed up in the late fourteenth century,
coming from the Old French cimetiere,
graveyard. Before that it was the Late Latin coemeterium and Greek koimeterion,
which itself is actually from koiman or keimai, put to sleep or lie down. That
word in turn comes from the Proto Indo Europeankei-, rest, lie, or bed. That kei
happens to be part of tons of words, by the way, meaning that cemetery is a
distant relative of hide,
Hindu god Shiva?! What?!
Next on our list is tomb, which showed up in the early thirteenth century from the Anglo Frenchtumbe and Old French tombe. That of course comes from the
Late Latintumba and (again) Greek tymbos, which is just tomb.
The what-the-hell part of this one also comes from the Proto Indo European.
Tymbos comes from the root word teue-,
swell. Which is somehow the origin word for thigh.
Mausoleum showed up in the mid sixteenth century meaning “magnificent tomb”. It comes from the classical Latin mausoleum which means mausoleum. Okay,
I’ll give you a minute to wrap your head around that before we continue.
Anyway, that word is traced to the Greek (because all grave related words have
to be apparently) Mausoleion, which means
mausoleum but is also the name of a tomb built for a guy named Mausolos. So
because of some guy’s name we have mausoleum.
You might be noticing that this is going up a week late.
That’s because in my excitement over it being Halloween month, I completely forgot to do my goals post.
No exaggeration. I didn’t realize until last Tuesday, well after my scheduled
post went up.
Oh well! I guess the scary thing for today will be that I’m getting old and forgetful.
1. Get back into the grind. Ugh.
2. Look through some of my old stories and see if they need
any work done.
Hey, I did this. And found out
that one of my stories that I really liked was gone. So that kind of sucked.
3. Try to come up with a brand new idea for a story. It’s
been a while…
This one I completely failed. I
just didn’t have any inspiration! I’ve had a couple ideas for old works,
though, so that’s a minor victory.
Kind of a meh month. I’m still really disappointed about
that story missing!
1. Update my etymology list so I don’t ignore it for a year
and then have a huge amount to put in.
2. Find some time to write! It’s going to be a busy month…
So that’s the plan. It’s going to be a fairly busy month, so
hopefully I’ll be able to find time to write. And what are you up to this
month? Anything fun or interesting?
Well, it’s hard to make etymology scary. The best I can do is etymologize scary things. That’s almost like being scary, right?
Maybe not. Anyway, this week: disposing of the body.
Grave had more than one definition of course. You’d think they’d all be related, but they’re not. You know the serious grave? Yeah. Not related to a dead body grave. Unlike engraved. I’m not kidding. Dead body grave comes from the Old Englishgraef, grave, which is from the Proto Germanicgraban and Proto Indo Europeangrebh, dig or scrape. Apparently because you scrape dirt out of the ground for a grave and also scrape when you engrave. Sure. The serious grave on the other hand comes from the Middle Frenchgrave and classical Latingravis, serious, and before that the Proto Indo European gwere-, heavy. Being the same as grave is just a coincidence.
Maybe this one will make sense. Bury comes from the Old English byrgan, which means bury or hide. You might be wondering how it got from byrgan to bury—it’s because Y used to have the oo sound. While we don’t say “boory” (although that’s a good spelling for this month), it’s a lot easier to see how it got from that to bury. As for the g…G has always been stupid. Don’t get me started on G. Anyway, before it was byrgan, it was just the Proto Indo European bhergh-, hide or protect. Well, burying something is hiding it, I guess I can declare this one not-stupid. Mostly.
Cremation showed up in the 1620s, while cremate didn’t appear until 1874—it’s practically a baby. It came from the classical Latin cremationem, which is obviously cremation, and cremare, to burn. It can be traced even further back to the Proto Indo European krem-/ker-, heat or fire. It’s actually the origin word for Carbon, by the way.
I guess that’s it for this week. Don’t worry. More grave related stuff next week!
Since it’s October, it’s time to share all the spooky things I’ve come across! I’ve found two really good game series and hey, both are horror based, so this is the perfect time to play.
The first is called Cube Escape by Rusty Lake. There are a total of nine games where you play a protagonist trying to, well, escape. The cube part comes from the fact that you’re generally confined to one or two rooms and you have to solve puzzles and put clues together in order to proceed. However small it sounds, it’s really bigger than you think. For example, in Seasons (arguably the best one) you’re only in one room, but through a sort of time-travel, you’re really exploring four different places.
For the most part, I’d say you’d be able to play through them with no problem, but I used a walkthrough to get through three of them (The Mill, Harvey’s Box, and Case 23) as they were a bit…dense, you could say, with the puzzles, occasionally even requiring passwords from previous games. But they are really fun, creepy, and hey, they’re free, so it’s not like it will cost you anything.
The second series I found is only two games, and it’s actually text based. In Playing With Letters and its sequel, A Sweet Typing Thrill, you have to figure out what word to type in in order to move on. The title of each “level” gives you a hint for a code you need to crack. Sometimes it’s an anagram, sometimes it’s a riddle, and in the second one, you have to use a lot of the Rotate 13 cipher (do yourself a favor and google it right away to make things easier). Both also have a secret ending you get by cracking a code from the song used (it’s mentioned right below the author’s name) and in the second, the title itsef. Well, if you need help with that, thankfully there are walkthroughs.
But be warned, the storyline is very dark, full of death and murder. Even if it’s only text, if that’s not you’re thing then you should give it a pass.