Saturday, March 31, 2018

As Things Are Known To Do

I have this problem a lot.
It should be called the “Never afford it in a million years” List.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Language of Confusion: Beginnings

Have I really not etymologized words related to beginnings? I would have sworn I had. It probably isn’t a good sign if I’m hallucinating etymology posts.

Begin comes from the Old English beginnan, which was just begin with a soft G sound. It actually wasn’t used that much; the word onginnan was used instead, and now I want to know why we switched! But that’s going to have to stay a mystery because I didn’t see a reason why. Anyway, beginnan is be- + -ginnan. The be- is like how you’d call something “besotted” or “bedeviled”,  while -ginnan is West Germanic in origin, although it’s another mystery as to where it comes from. -Ginnan is one of those suffixes that is part of words but never exists on its own.

Start showed up as a noun in the late fourteenth century and as a verb sometime before that, but back then it only had to do with jumping suddenly. It didn’t start meaning to begin until the seventeenth century, and it’s thought that it comes from the idea of startling an animal out of its lair. As to its origins, start comes from the Old English steortian/stiertan/styrtan (it depends on which dialect you look at), which comes from the Proto Germanic stert-, which might be from the Proto Indo European  ster-, which means… stiff. No, I have no idea how that happened.

Birth showed up in the thirteenthcentury and it’s thought to be Scandinavian in origin. It’s related somehow to the Old Norse byrðr, which is pronounced something like “birther” and comes from the Proto Germanic gaburthis, which is actually the origin of the Old English word that birth replaced, gebyrde. Gaburthis, which is a funny word to say for some reason, can be traced back to the Proto Indo European bhrto, the past participle of bher-, or to bear.

Initial showed up in the sixteenth century meaning relating to a beginning (initial as in short for a word came a century later). It comes from the Middle French initial and classical Latin initialis, which is just initial and is the past participle of inire, which is something like to begin or to go into. The in- is in (duh) and the ire means to go here although it’s more commonly known as anger. Ire can also be traced back to the Proto Indo European ei-, to go, another word piece that shows up in everything. I’m not getting into it all right now. Just trust me on this one.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

From The Spamfiles

It’s spam time! Because there was a good few days where I got quite a bit of spam to share. Then it tapered off again. Where are you, spammers? Don’t you care about me anymore?

Ignoring the fact that they call themselves two different names, how the hell did they get a sideways S? I want one.

Look at this perfectly normal follower I got on Twitter. They said no games and lies, so they must be telling the truth. Serously.

It just wouldn’t be a Spamfiles post if I didn’t have a cancer widow thrown in there somewhere.

Most people don’t know that FedEx’s website is actually Hambers at

I have been getting sooooooo many of these. Sometimes I’m blocking them on Instagram, sometimes it’s Whatsapp. And you know what? If I’m blocking you, suck it up, you big babies.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Every Time

Anyone else get their best ideas while falling asleep? It can be a problem.
Not exaggerating even a little.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Language of Confusion: Vehicles

Sometimes I have trouble thinking up new words to etymologize. I think I have a good one and then I check my list of words and of course it’s there. But I haven’t done cars yet!

Vehicle showed up in the early seventeenth century, and back then it meant “a medium through which a drug or medicine is administered”. Can you believe it? It’s from the classical Latin vehiculum, which is vehicle and from veher, to travel. That word is from the Proto Indo European wegh, to move or transport. That also happens to be the origin word of wagon, if by a different means. See, wagon showed up in the late fifteenth century from the Middle Dutch wagen and Proto Germanic wagnaz, which is what comes from wegh-.

Car actually showed up in the fourteenth century, although back then it was just a wheeled vehicle. Because, you know. No engines. It comes from the Anglo French carre and Old North French carre, which is then from the Vulgar Latin carra, related to the classical Latin carrum/carrus, which mean handcart and vehicle, respectively. It can actually be traced all the way back to the Proto Indo European kers-, to run, and is related to words like carousel, carriage, chariot, and charge. Also carpenter. But that’s a story for another day.

Truck didn’t show up until the seventeenth century—there’s another version of it that means barter or exchange that came several centuries earlier, but it’s not related to this one. The vehicle one is thought to be from the classical Latin trochus, an iron hoop, which of course was taken from the Greek trokhos, wheel, and trekhein, to run. So truck was originally a wheel, then it was the thing that the wheels were on.

Van didn’t show up until 1829, although that’s because it’s short for caravan. Caravan is older, having shown up in the late sixteenth century from the Middle French caravane, Old French carvane, and Medieval Latin caravana. The word was picked up during the Crusades from the Arabic qairawan and Persian karwan, a group of desert travelers. And now it’s the soccer mom’s vehicle of choice.

Sedan showed up in the midseventeenth century meaning a covered chair on poles. I think I remember a sedan being a chair in something I’ve read over the years, although I can’t remember what. Anyway, it’s thought to be from the Italian word sede, which means seat, which is from the classical Latin sedere, to sit, and can be traced to the Proto Indo European sed-, also to sit. As to why it became a word for a type of vehicle… because you sit in them?


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Epic Saga Continues

More conversations with my mom that I’m somehow not making up. This time we were talking about weekend plans and how she supposed to have lunch with one of her friends.

Her: I half expect her to cancel on me. I told her it was her birthday, I’d pay for it, but still she was all wishy-washy.

Me: Oh, it’s her birthday? That’s nice.

Her: Yeah, but her daughter’s birthday is the same day and she said on Facebook they were doing something.

Me: That doesn’t mean she’ll cancel lunch. Are their birthdays really on the same day?

Her: Yep. Her daughter had the decency to be born on the same day as her, unlike some people who came four days too early.

Me: Five days.

Her: Five days too early.

Me: …Are you really yelling at me for not having the same birthday as you?

Her: Yes!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Winter Forecast

Spring is almost here! Not that you’d know it where I live.
Okay, really it happened over an entire day. But STILL.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Language of Confusion: Proper

[whoops didn't set the time properly on this one; well here it is, a bit later than usual]

Proper being related to private of course got me thinking about that word, so here we go.

Proper first showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French propre and classical Latin  proprius, which can mean proper or individual. That word is actually taken from a phrase, pro privo, which could mean things like to deprive or private, because yes that privo is from privus, the origin word for private. Interestingly enough, while proper showed up in English meaning apt, it morphed into meaning “pertaining to oneself; individual” and then separate or distinct, which as we all know is very appropriate for a word related to private. Even though we don’t generally use proper that way anymore, that individual definition is where we get proper name from and probably proper noun, too.

Next, property also showed up in the fourteenth century as properte and it meant a quality before it meant something that was owned. It comes from the Old French propriete, individuality or property, and classical Latin proprietatem, property. That word comes from the above mentioned proprius, which means that it’s also related to private, so at one point the phrase “private property” would have been redundant.

Appropriate showed up in the early fifteenth century, first meaning to take possession of (like to appropriate something) before meaning suitable or apt. It comes from the Late Latin appropriatus, the past participle of appropriare, to make one’s own. The a comes from ad-, to, and the rest is from proprius. Appropriate is… to proper? To individual? I guess appropriating something is taking it to an individual. As to why appropriate now means proper, I guess that’s just because the word’s just intertwined in there, even in English.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Another Game

Didn’t I used to do regular posts full of distractions? I should start doing that again. And I am. Here’s another game, Planaris.

I like the creativity of this game, taking something familiar and going in another direction with it. It’s like Tetris in a way, both in the shapes of the pieces you’re given and the fact that you’re supposed to gain points by clearing lines. But the pieces don’t fall down and when a line is cleared it doesn’t drop down, which also means that you don’t lose when you hit the top.

Instead, you can move the pieces anywhere and when you clear a line, everything stays where it was. You don’t lose until there’s no spaces left for you to fit a piece into. Also the fact that everything doesn’t drop down means that if you clear a single line along the bottom, then you’ll have a hard time getting pieces that can fit in there.

The description for this game says it’s “easy to learn but difficult to master.” And while most of the time I think that’s overstating things, in this case it’s perfectly accurate. If you want something really challenging, then this is the game for you. It might also be good if you want to kill five minutes, and I wouldn’t call it super addictive, but that’s a YMMV thing.

That means Your Mileage May Vary. I’ve been on TV Tropes recently and they use that a lot. Don’t click that link though. You’ll never leave. I shouldn’t have even brought it up but it was on my mind.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Time To Write

There was a bad storm last week and I’m not even kidding this is exactly what happened.
The power was out for almost two days! It was cold! And boring!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Language of Confusion: Privates

I feel like I deserve credit for not naming this post Private Parts. But that I lost it all by mentioning it here.

Private first showed up in the late fourteenth century, coming from the classical Latin privatus, which in a revelation that shouldn’t shock anyone means private. It also comes from privare, to deprive or separate, and privus, individual (not like a person, like each separate thing). That word can be traced back to the Proto Indo European prei-wo-, separate or individual, and the prei- is what gave us per-, you know, like one per customer. As well as a billion other words that I’m not getting sucked into right now.

Then there’s deprive, which showed up in the mid fourteenth century. It’s from the Old French  depriver and Medieval Latin deprivare. It’s basically just privare with a de- in front, but this time the de- means entirely, which I think is weird because de usually means undoing something. Separate entirely…deprive. Also related is privy, which actually showed up more than a century before private. It came to English from the Old French privé, intimate, private place, but that just came from the Latin privatus, which means private and is related to privare and privus.

That’s it for this week. I must still be exhausted from the leg- thing. Which reminds me that as I revealed a few weeks ago, privilege the leg- word is related to private, too. It’s private + leg (technically legal). There’s no escaping leg! Although even weirder is how private is somehow related to proper. I’m not making that up, although I totally could because it’s one of those etymology things that’s so weird it has to be true.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

March Goals

Well, it’s March. And the world is still an endless nightmare from which there is no waking. But maybe that’s implied by calling it an endless nightmare. Anyway, let’s look at last month’s goals.

February Goals
1. Keep up with my writing and make it to 40K on my new WIP. I actually might make it!
And I did! Plus some more! I really love this story!

2. Maybe do some editing on my old WIP that I swore I’d finish last year.
This I didn’t do as I was focused more on the above and I really had no other free time that wasn’t spent sleeping. Oh, sleep. I wish I was sleeping now.

3. Finish all the stuff I couldn’t get to last month. Double ugh.
Yes, thankfully. Hopefully it stays finished. I wouldn’t put it past the universe to rewind just to make me have to do February all over again.

Not bad, I guess. Yay for achievable goals. Now for this month…

March Goals
1. Get to 70K on my WIP, which should bring me to the end. This one I might not reach, but I’m going to try!

2. Update my etymology page. I think I have three months of -leg posts to put in there.

3. See if I can think up something fun to do for blog posts. I’ve been running low on ideas lately.

And finally, winter’s going to be gone. I hope. There was that surprise April snowstorm last year. So what are you up to this month? Any fun plans?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Clean Up

This seems to happen a lot.
 This time it was Peaches. And it was also quite gross.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Secret Origins: September

Honestly, I’m just relieved that I don’t have to do any more -leg posts. It got kind of exhausting after a while.

September, the ninth month, is of course named after the word for seven. I get that the Romans started their year in March so it would have been the seventh month then, but why is it still September?

Maybe we’ll find out today! But probably not because etymology is not a field of satisfying answers.

September comes from the classical Latin September, which is translated into English as… September. The first part comes from septem, which, obviously, means seven, while the -ber part is thought to be from the suffix -bris which doesn’t really have a meaning but was thought to be adjectival. Or it could be from membri, which in turn is from month []. It’s another one of those we don’t actually know things.

That’s kind of boring. Back in Old English, September used to be haerfestmonað or haligmonað, the former of which means harvest month and the latter of which means holy month. Both of which are way cooler than boring old September. Why aren’t we still using those? Stupid Romans, making everyone use their stupid calendar.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English