Thursday, June 29, 2017

Language of Confusion: -Tude, Part I

I thought that the suffix -Tude would be an interesting thing to look at this week. Then I realized just how many words end in it and I was like, damn it. Damn it all. People just shove it at the end of words all the time because it’s a word forming element that appears in abstract nouns. It’s from the French -ude and classical Latin -udo, and here’s a bunch of words that end with it.

Attitude showed up relatively recently in word terms, sometime in the mid seventeenth century, where it meant a position of a figure in a statue or painting, although it could mean a “mode of regarding” when it was short for the phrase attitude of mind. Apparently from there it morphed to the “posture of the body supposed to imply some mental state” and then in the nineteenth century behavior reflecting an opinion. It wasn’t until 1962 that it took on the arrogant, insolent connotation as a form of slang. Anyway, the word itself comes from the French attitude and Italian attitudine, disposition or posture. Before that it was the Late Latin aptitudinem, which, well, it looks like aptitude for a reason.

Which leads us to our next word. Aptitude showed up in the early fifteenth century from the Late Latin aptitudo, fitness, which is related to the abovementioned aptitudinem. That in turn is from the classical Latin aptus, suited or fitting. How...apt.

Gratitude showed up in the mid fifteenth century from the Middle French gratitude or Medieval Latin gratitudinem, thankfulness, which can be found in the classical Latin gratus, grateful. But looking at grateful and gratitude lets you really see how different the suffix can make a word. Grateful is something you are, while gratitude is something you have!

We have an exact year for this word: 1812, where it showed up meaning dullness. Really! It’s from the French platitude, which literally translates to flatness and comes from the Old French plat, which means flat. And is the origin word for plateau. Plat- is actually a Proto Indo European root word meaning to spread and actually shows up in a lot of words (pretty much anything with flat, plat, or plane in it, as well as more that we’re not getting into today). As for why platitude is another word for cliché, well, you know how dull those sayings are.

That’s it for this week. But don’t worry. There are many more -tude words to look into!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

From The Spamfiles

Ha ha, I don’t want to have to think up a real post.

Revelation 1: Tarot reading doesn’t work over the internet. Revelation 2: Tarot reading doesn’t work, period.

Sixty-forty in your favor? The cancer widows offer way better deals!

Honestly, I’m just impressed that they used the right discreet. I don’t even use the right discreet.

Looks like I’m at a higher risk for danger signs.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Language of Confusion: Full Stop

And now, to complete our sorta trilogy on speed related etymology, here’s stop words.

Stop showed up as a noun in the late fourteenth century (where it meant a plug before stopping in general) and as a verb sometime before that. It comes from the Old English stoppian, stop or close, which is a West Germanic word that’s popped up in other Germanic languages. As for before that, it might be from the Vulgar Latin stuppare (to stop or stuff with tow) and classical Latin stupa, tow. Um, that’s tow like rope fiber. No, I had never heard that before either. Nor is it related to the other kind of two.

Stall has kind of a funny history. It showed up in the fifteenth century, coming from the Old English steall, a place to catch fish or an animal stall or the Old French estale. Steall comes from the Proto Germanic stal and Proto Indo European stel-, to put or stand. The funny part’s coming up, I swear. See, it’s in the way stall evolved in English. In the late sixteenth century it became to distract someone so a pickpocket could steal from them (like a decoy), and then later in the nineteenth century that evolved into a story to avoid doing something, like stalling someone. Come on! That’s funny!

Break, which I alluded to last week, showed up as a noun in the fourteenth century and a verb sometime before that. It comes from the Old English brecan, to separate into two or more pieces, as well as things like shatter, destroy, and smash. It comes from the Proto Germanic brekan and Proto Indo European bhreg-, to break. Of course, the break we’re looking at is supposed to be the one that means resting. Well, that definition didn’t show up until 1861, meant an interval between lessons at school. So…school gave us breaks. Was it worth it? No. Definitely not.

Halt had several definitions over the years. The stop version didn’t show up until the late sixteenth century, and weirdly enough it doesn’t seem to be related to the two other versions of the world, which means lame or to limp (ever heard someone having a halting gait? That’s where it’s from). Stop halt comes from the French halte, halt, which then came from the Old High German halten, to hold. The origin word for hold. And it’s definitely not related to the other halt, which has a totally different history. What the hell.

Stay is another one with a lot of meanings that we don’t use anymore that may or may not be related. There was one that was a support or brace, which is related to another one that is a rope on a ship’s mast, both of which come from the Proto Germanic stagaz and Proto Indo European stak-. There’s also another one that’s more relevant to the subject this week, showing up in the mid fifteenth century from the Old French estai-/estare, to stay or sand. It comes from the classical Latin stare, to stand, and before that the Proto Indo European sta-, stand or make firm. Which might be related to stak. They aren’t sure, but it would make sense considering they both have stand definitions.

TL;DR: What the hell stop words. I had hoped you would make sense. You disappoint me.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More Weird Searches

It’s been a few months since I’ve done this so why not?

I’m sensing a pattern here.

Because they’re morons.

Dude. Buddy. Pal. You need to set up your calendar alerts before the holiday.

I looked up despacito to see what it was and then saw it had to do with Justin Bieber and I deleted my history then burned my computer.

…Why is Caillou bald? Frig. This is going to keep me up all night.

Ever searched for anything  and had something  funny come up?

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Sometimes cats can sneak out of the house.
Just pretend that that window has always been there.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Language of Confusion: And Slowly

Well, I did fast. Might as well look at the other side of things. Although I had a harder time coming up with words related to moving slowly. Isn’t that weird?

Slow showed up as a verb in the mid sixteenth century, and as the adjective we more commonly know it as sometime before the thirteenth century. It comes from the Old English slaw, which means slow, and before that it was the Proto Germanic slaewaz. Nothing particularly surprising here. Let’s go look at some other words related to slowing down.

Inert showed up in the mid seventeenth century meaning without force or with no power to respond. It comes from the French inerte or the classical Latin inertem, which could mean unskilled,inactive, or indolent. It also happens to be a mix of the prefix in-, meaning “the opposite of” here, and ars, art. Inert is being the opposite of art.

Brake showed up in the mid fifteenth century as an “instrument for crushing or pounding”. Which…is that how car brakes work? Apparently the word used to be used to refer to the ring through the nose of an ox, and was influenced by an Old French word, brac/bras, an arm. The arm was a lever, which became a brake, which became a word for bridle or curb before becoming a “stopping device for a wheel” in 1772. Anyway, brake comes from the Middle Dutch braeke, flax break, related to breken, to break. And that’s related to break, just kind of distantly.

Slug is kind of a weird word. It’s a bug, a piece of metal, a punch…What the hell? Oh, and the word for the thing that slithers on the ground? It didn’t mean that until the eighteenth century. Three hundred years earlier it was a lazy person, coming from sluggard. That word comes from the Middle English sluggi, which in addition to being the most awesome possibility for a plural of slug meant sluggish or indolent, and is believed to be Scandinavian in origin, although no one’s sure exactly which word it might be from.

Speaking of lazy, that word showed up in the mid sixteenth century as laysy, referring to people who were, well, lazy. Before that…no one really knows. Some people think it’s from the word lay, some think it’s from a Germanic word, or maybe Norse…It just kind of showed up one day.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Time Enough

I’ve talked about XKCD before, and how it’s not only the best stick figure comic of all time (it certainly puts mine to shame) but also one of the best comics period. And almost as if to prove why, creator Randall Munroe occasionally posts unique…well, they’re a lot more than comics. For example, there’s a long history of the temperatures of Earth, a gigantic scrollable comic, and a straight up hoverboard game.

One of the best, though, is Time, a comic that takes place over, well, time. Every thirty seconds, there was a change in the comic displayed, sometimes subtle, sometimes more major. There was something like a hundred in total, a comic book in its own right, gathered together here to click through one at a time, chronicling the story of a nameless man and woman first building a sandcastle, then going on a journey to discover what’s going on with the ocean near their village.

There’s a lot more going on than just that, and it’s honestly one of the more creative stories I’ve come across. It shows Earth during a different time period accurately, to the point where the stars displayed during the gorgeously rendered night scenes are accurate to the time period and the location.

Anyway, check it out if you’d like a little…I guess you’d classify it as some sort of speculative fiction? You’ll see.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


They say April showers bring May flowers. But I think they mean May showers. Also June showers. It never stops raining, is what I’m getting at.
Eh, what do I care? I never go outside anyway.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Language of Confusion: Speedy

This one’s for Liz, who last week mentioned she was wondering where the word fast came from. Just don’t expect an explanation that makes sense!

Speed comes from the Old English sped/spedan, which means success or prosperity. Actually, that’s what speed meant when it first showed up in English, too. It didn’t start meaning a rate of movement until the thirteenth century and it didn’t mean moving fast until the sixteenth century. Before it was sped, it was the Proto Germanic spodiz, and earlier the Proto Indo European spo-ti-, which is from the root word spe-, thrive or prosper. Speed didn’t even mean speed. How crazy is that?

In addition to having to do with speed, fast also means to not eat. So do you think those two words are related? Well, it doesn’t seem like it. Speed fast is somewhat uncertain in origin. It was in the lexicon by the thirteenth century and is likely from the Old Norse fast which could mean firmly as well as to be quick. That firmly definition is still in English (like, to hold fast to something) but it’s not used much anymore. It showed up in Old English as faest/faeste, stable, which is related to the word faestan, to fast. Or fortitude. The whole not eat thing is from the religious aspect of the word, which comes from the Proto Germanic fastan, hold fast or religious abstinence. So while I couldn’t find a definite connection between the words, the fact that the Old Norse version meant firmly makes it seem like it has to be related.

Quick comes from the Old English cwic, which…I’m not sure if that spelling makes more sense or less. Anyway, cwic used to mean alive, living, or animate. And the title “The Quick and the Dead” has just taken on new meaning for me. Anyway, it’s from the Proto Germanic kwikwaz, which can be traced back to the Proto Indo European gwei-, to live. I know I’ve mentioned that word before, although I’ll be damned if I can remember when. As for the whole fast aspect of the word, well, most corpses aren’t very quick, if you catch my drift.

Rapid showed up in the mid seventeenth century, fairly recently, probably from the modern French rapide, fast. It’s related to the classical Latin rapidus, rapid, and its verb form rapere, to carry off, plunder or… rape?! This…this took a very dark turn. Um, apparently the “carry off” part became “carry off quickly”, and so that’s how the word got its meaning. But now you’ll never be able to look at it the same way again.

Haste showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French haste, which is from Frankish haifst, violence. Now, Frankish is actually a Germanic language, and haifst comes from the Proto Germanic haifstiz, which I think has the same meaning. Apparently the violence part became the “need for quick action”, which then gave us haste. And fun fact, there’s an Old English word haest that means violent or fury and also comes from haifstiz, but is not where we get haste from. For some reason.

Tl;dr: Words relating to speed are surprisingly dark in origin and have nothing to do with speed.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June Goals

It’s June already?! But it’s still cold! And rainy! I’m telling you, it’s still April! Oh man. I did NOTHING this month…

May Goals
1. Write at least 5000 more words. I’d like to have more, but I also want to do some minor editing to make sure the whole thing is working right.
I didn’t manage to get all of it, only about three thousand words. All in the last week of the month. Yeah, it was not a productive month.

2. Check out some old projects and see if any of them are worth working on.
Did not do this. Maybe if one of them seemed exciting enough, but I’m just not feeling it.

3. Now that it’s warm enough, spring cleaning.
When I wrote this, it was actually warmer than it was now. And not raining all the time. Seriously, there’s been an hour of sun in the last week. Anyway, I was not able to do as much as I would have liked!

Welp, not awful, but not great either. I probably would have been more productive if I wasn’t so anxious all the time. Mostly about republicans trying to take away my healthcare. Anyway, this month.

June Goals
1. Get to 50K on my WIP (so about six thousand words).

2. Start organizing the outline for abovementioned WIP. This is actually pretty early for me.

3. Get to all the stuff this month that I didn’t do last month. If it ever stops raining!

That’s what I’m doing for June. What are you up to?

Saturday, June 3, 2017


Another true story.
Seriously, best waffles I ever had. Really pleased with how I screwed that up.

Totally Awesome Waffles Recipe
3 cups flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar

1 ½ cup milk

2 eggs

4 tablespoons melted butter (but I used margarine)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Language of Confusion: -Cuse

Excuse, accuse, recuse. While not the biggest suffix I’ve ever come across, I’d still like to know where they come from. You know, for funsies.

Excuse showed up in the mid thirteenth century as a verb and then a century later as a noun, both with basically the same meaning we know it as. They come from the Old French escuser, apologize, pardon, or exonerate. As usual, they come from the classical Latin excusare, to excuse. Nothing shocking here. But it’s put together from the prefix ex-, out, and causa, which looks like cause with an A. Because it is. And yes, this is where cause comes from. Anyway, it makes this word cause-out. Out-cause. I don’t know. Something.

Accuse showed up in the early fourteenth century meaning charge with an offense/error, impugn, or blame. So not far off. It’s from the Old French accuser, which meant to accuse but early meant report or disclose. Before that it was the classical Latin accusare, where it could mean accusation or charges. That word is actually from a phrase, ad causa, the cause, a mix of ad, with regard to, and the already introduced causa. So it’s “with regard to cause”, kind of fancy. Which makes sense since it was often a legal term.

Finally today, recuse. It’s the youngest one, having shown up in the late fourteenth century meaning to reject another’s authority as prejudiced. You can tell it’s another legal thing because of the fanciness. It’s from the Old French recuser and classical Latin recusare, refuse or object against. The re- means against, while causa…you know. I guess having cause against something is a way to refuse it.