Thursday, February 8, 2018

Language of Confusion: Legs, Part V

Yes, this is still going on. Will this be the last part? (checks word list) Holy crap, no? How many of these words are there?

A lot. This week, words with -logy or -logi in them.

Apology showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning a defense or justification, not what we know it as. It comes from the Late Latin apologia, which in turn comes from the Greek apologia, which means apology or plea—like one would in a defense, and is from apologos, which could mean logic or a story. So it does kind of make sense how an explanation for a wrongdoing could turn into regret for it. The apo- part means away from and logos is discourse or speech. That means an apology is…speaking away.

Homologous showed up in the mid seventeenth century from the Greek homologos, which means… homologous. But with more letters. Homo- means same, as I’m sure you’re aware, and one of the many other definitions of logos is reason. So it’s the same reason?

Next is trilogy, something we writers are very familiar with. It showed up in the sixteen sixties from the Greek trilogia, which was three interrelated works, in particular tragedies performed at Athens during the festival of Dionysus. As we all know, the tri- means three and since logos can mean story, it’s three stories. And another word we should all know is anthology, which showed up in the sixteen thirties as a collection of poetry! It’s from the classical Latin anthologia and Greek anthologia, which was a collection of “poems and epigrams by several authors”. But here’s where it gets weird. The first part of the word comes from anthos, which means flower! An anthology is a collection of flowers!

Now we’re going to shift tracks a bit and look at syllogism. That word showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French silogisme, classical Latin syllogismus, and Greek syllogismos, all of which mean syllogism. The syl- part is actually from syn-, together (like in synthesize). Logos means reason here, so in this case it’s a “reasoning together.” There’s also the word neologism, which showed up in 1772 from the French néologisme. That word combines neo- (new) with logos (word). It’s a new word.



  1. Poetry can be flowery in words I guess.

  2. When do the dinosaurs come into this?

  3. I've never even heard of syllogism until now. It's true! You do learn something new every day.

  4. Well, neologism is a new word for me.

  5. I bet it started as a collection of flowers, and then they used the word for a collection of other things.

    One of my crafty blogs (it may have been an email newsletter) talked of mending and the etymology of that word. An idea for when the leg series ends. So, 2019?


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