Thursday, May 31, 2018

Language of Confusion: -Ment, Part IV

Probably another two weeks left after this one, so strap in. Today’s are all…things. They’re physical things. They’re tangible. They exist. That’s the only connection they have other than their suffix.

Filament showed up in the late sixteenth century, although of course back then it wasn’t used to refer to what’s in a lightbulb but “fine, untwisted thread”. Which I guess a lightbulb filament looks like. It comes from the Latin filamentum, filament, and before that the Late Latin verb filare, to spin or draw out in a long line (like you would a thread), and is from filum, wire or thread. That word can be traced back to the Proto Indo European root gwhi-, which meant thread or tendon and is the origin word for words like file and fillet. But not all definitions of file. Just the that means to file papers.

Ligament showed up in the late fourteenth century from the classical Latin ligamentum, which could mean ligament or ligature, bandage, or tie. It’s from the verb ligare, to tie, from the Proto Indo European leig-, tie or bind. That one’s related to a lot of other words, too, which I’m sure I’ll get into someday.

Sediment showed up in the mid sixteenth century coming to us from the Middle French sediment and classical Latin sedimentum, which, yeah, just means sediment. That’s from the Proto Indo European root sed-, to sit. Oh man, so many words are related to this one…

Tenement showed up in the fourteenth century from the Anglo French/Old French tenement, land, fief, or property. That’s from the Medieval Latin tenementum, with roughly the same meaning, from the classical Latin verb tenere, to hold. Once again we can trace this back to Proto Indo European, this time to the word ten-, to stretch. That one’s related to seemingly every word with -ten in it.

One of every writer’s favorite words, document showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning teaching or instruction, and not meaning something written down until the early eighteenth century. It comes from the Old French document, lesson or written evidence, and classical Latin documentum, lesson or example. The verb form is docere, to teach, derived from the Proto Indo European dek-, which is… take or accept? What?

Parchment showed up in the fourteenth century as parchemin—no T??? Is this just one big coincidence? See, it’s from the Old French parchemin (no T there either), which was taken from the Late Latin pergamena, which just means parchment but has a freaking G in it now. Latin took the word from the Greek pergamenon, which means “of Pergamon”, referring to a city that’s now called Bergama in Turkey where parchments were supposedly first used in place of papyrus. And because English speakers confused it with the suffix -ment, now it has a T.

Damn it, English. You can’t just translate things properly, can you?


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Concert

This is another absolutely true story, even though it seems like something that was taken from a sitcom. It doesn’t actually involve me, but my mom, but I can assure you that it was recounted to me right after it happened via text.

This all happened when she and her friend went to see Tom Jones in concert. Yes, he’s still alive. I was surprised, too. They drove down to the casino where the concert was located, had dinner, did some gambling. And then…

My mom: We should go make sure we know where the theatre is so we can find it when it’s time for the concert.

Her friend: Sure. Let me get the tickets. Maybe we can find our seats.

My mom: Orchestra, right?

Her friend: Right, but… I thought the concert was in the Grand Theatre but it says it’s in the Hippodrome. Where’s the Hippodrome?

My mom: There’s no Hippodrome here.

Her friend: Here, look for yourself.

My mom: …Why does this ticket say it’s for the ninth and not the fifth?

Her friend: Um…

My mom: And also that it’s in Baltimore?

Yeah, that was kind of a bummer for them. Apparently no one bothered to check the tickets before they actually got there. Or maybe they did and because they’re both sixty year old women and looked without their reading glasses on, they just didn’t notice.

It was about then that my mom texted me, because she just had to share what happened. There were still tickets available, but they were way in the back, not the orchestra seats they had purchased. I think they got their money back for them at least.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


The weather’s finally warm enough for me to open the windows!

This happens, like, once a day. A bird flies by or an animal walks by and she jumps up to the window only to realize she can’t get through the screen. Thankfully she hasn’t realized how flimsy they are because she absolutely would tear through it.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Language of Confusion: -Ment, Part III

Today’s -ment words are physical objects. That’s almost like a theme that ties them together, because the origins of the words sure as hell won’t.

Cement showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French ciment, also cement, and classical Latin caementa, which… yeah, is also just cement. It comes from the verb caedere, to cut down, hew, or hack, evolving from the sense that stones were “hacked” into chips or powder for use in cement. Also, caedere is from the Proto Indo European root kae-id-, origin of words such as decide, precise, and homicide. Okay, I’m going to have to look into that at some point.

Pigment showed up in the late fourteenth century from the classical Latin pigmentum, which it’s pretty safe to assume just means pigment. It’s from the verb pingere, to paint, the origin word for paint. Amusingly enough, pingere is from the Proto Indo European peig-, to cut or mark with incision, which evolved to the sense of decorating with cut marks, then just decorate, then decorate with color. Therefore, paint, and pigment.

Ornament came about in the early thirteenth century meaning an accessory and not necessarily something decorative. It’s from the Old French ornement and classical Latin ornamentum, which could mean ornament or decoration, but also things like apparatus or kit. It’s from the verb ornare, to adorn, and ordo, which means… order. And yeah, that’s where order comes from.

Garment showed up in the fifteenth century, although it existed in the fourteenth century as garnement. That was taken from the Old French garnement (so that would explain the spelling), which is from the verb garnir, to fit out or adorn. It’s actually from a Germanic source, not Latin, can you believe it? But it can still be traced back to Proto Indo European, in this case the root word wer-, to cover. Origin of words such as garnish, warn, and cover because things are never weird enough.

Ointment appeared in the late thirteenth century from the Old French oignement, which was taken from the Vulgar Latin unguimentum and classical Latin unguentum, perfume or ointment. The verb of that is unguere, to smear with ointment, from the Proto Indo European ongw-, salve or anoint. And yeah, that’s where we get anoint from, as well as unction.

Words are so weird sometimes.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Spamfiles Classics

Yeah, time for this again. I mean, it’s easier than coming up with original ideas.


So can strangers on the internet.

Why is the w in writing replaced with an omega? And why is it only in one of the writings and not the other? I know it’s stupid but this kind of thing really bugs me.

If one of my cousins did that, there’d be no point in talking about them in the present tense anymore.

Honestly, it’s more surprising that any of my uncles had only one felony.

Has your lover really found booger today?

Saturday, May 19, 2018


I never get to talk about what I want to talk about.

 My mom has this irrational hatred of all things animated. It’s why there are very few shows that both of us like.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Language Of Confusion: -Ment, Part II

Back to the -ment words. These ones all have a c in them. A hard c, not that pain in the ass soft c.

Comment showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French coment and Late Latin  commentum, both of which meant comment. It’s from the classical Latin comminisci, to contrive, which means it was more like plan or devise than comment. It’s thought that the com- prefix is only intensive here, and the menisci is from meminisse, to remember, from the Proto Indo European men-, to think. Which. Yeah. Not related to the -ment we learned about last week.

Compliment showed up in the late sixteenth century as complement, and yes, that’s where complement comes from, too. Both are from the classical Latin complementum, completion—which makes sense for the latter, but the former? Apparently something that was complimentary (as in, free), was completing the obligation of politeness, and then in Italian that changed to “expression of respect or civility”, and that influenced nineteenth century English to make it saying something nice. Anyway, complementum comes from complere, to complete. The com- prefix is intensive again and the plere means to fill, from the Proto Indo European pele-, to fill. To complement (or compliment) is to really fill something. And the -ment is just a Latin suffix.

Compartment showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Middle French compartiment, a partition. That word’s from the Italian compartimento, compartment, which was then taken from the Late Latin compartiri, to divide. Once again, the com- is intensive, and the partiri is from partis, which is from the Proto Indo European pere-, grant or allot. I’m not even sure where the -ment showed up from here.

Finally today, we’re looking at inclement. It showed up in the mid seventeenth century from the French inclĂ©ment and classical Latin inclementem, which means merciless and now I’m disappointed that we don’t use this word more. The in- means opposite of and clementum has to do with things being nice or mild. It’s a mix of the Proto Indo European word klei-, to lean, and -menos, which I can’t really find much about but definitely isn’t related to the other -ment words.

TL;DR: If it isn’t a common word you know + -ment, it’s not related to anything else apparently.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Not, like, the genre. Just something weird. Last week I got an email that I first thought was spam, but then realized wasn’t:

1. I didn’t order any appliance repair.
2. I looked up the case number, and it’s for a top loading washer/dryer, which I don’t even have.
3. The company it came from is in New York City, like four hours away from where I live.

So, yeah. This isn’t for me. I don’t know why or how I could have gotten this. I don’t know if someone gave them a fake email address or maybe just transposed a character somewhere. Honeil4(at)gmail(dot)com could be wondering why their confirmation email never showed up.

Anyway, I just thought that was weird. Have you ever gotten anything that was meant for anyone else? What did you do about it?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

It Gets Everywhere

It’s getting to be time to cut my hair again.
 Huh, I wonder if I could sell my hair for money to buy a new laptop…

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Language of Confusion: -Ment, Part I

Got another big multi-part series for you, because apparently I don’t learn. I’m not going to do every word that ends in -ment because that would take frigging forever. Instead I’m going to focus on the ones where I probably won’t be talking about as part of another group. Trust me, there are still A LOT.

The -ment suffix is a common one in forming nouns. It’s from French, and related to the classical Latin suffix -mentum, something added to verb stems to make it “the result or product of the action”, like how enjoyment is something that’s the result of doing something you enjoy. That follows for a lot of these words—payment is a thing you pay, treatment is how you treat, equipment is things you equip. But there are words where if you drop the -ment part, you’re left with something that’s rather confusing.

Take, for example, instrument. Instru- isn’t a word. Is it from instruct? Is an instrument a thing you instruct? That does kind of make sense…

Instrument showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French instrument/enstrument, which had the same meaning we use for it. It’s from the classical Latin instrumentum, tool, which is from instruere, which could mean to deploy or to build/erect, but also to arrange, set in order, or inform/teach. It’s a mix of the prefix in-, meaning on, and struere, which means to construct and is from the Proto Indo European stere-, to spread. And instruere is where we get instruct, although that word came to us through the past participle instructus.

So that’s one example.  There are many, many more to come.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Quality Over Quantity

Today I’m talking about a game which… kind of isn’t a game? It’s more of a visual novel that plays like a game in some places. There’s a bit of exploring, but mostly you’re walking around areas and experiencing narrative. So it’s like a book, but also like a game, which of course appeals to me on several levels.

The game I’m referring to specifically is called What Remains of Edith Finch, and involves the titular character’s return to her childhood home and unlocking the histories of her family, of which she is the last. You find different things around the house, letters, notes, even a comic book, that let you experience the last moments of Edith’s seemingly cursed to die young family. It’s an expertly crafted story that leaves you thinking about what you experienced.

In all, it takes under two hours to complete, which kind of makes the $20 price tag on Steam seem a bit hefty in spite of the beautiful visuals. However there are plenty of commentary-free play throughs on YouTube if you want to watch for yourself. Thoroughly recommended.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another

I… was in a dark place when I wrote this one. I blame the fact that it’s impossible to find a decently priced laptop that won’t start falling apart after a year of use.

 In reality I actually managed to fix it, although who knows for how long? How I wish I could afford a really nice one that won’t break the second I take it out of the package. But those are dreams for someone with actual money.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Secret Origins: 6

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, I think.

Six comes from the Old English siex, which is from the Proto Germanic sekhs and Proto Indo European sweks-. We also often use the prefix hexa- when there’s six of something and that too is from sweks-, just through the Greek hexa- instead. I guess they’re the ones to blame for changing it from an s to an h.

As for the numeral, the ones we use come from India and the Middle East. Both Brahmi and Hindi used curly-cues that look a lot like 6 with a little more flourish to them, but then when it went into Arabic they changed it so it looks more like, well, a 7. As the number migrated to western Arabia, it took on a more “six-ish” look, which then eventually migrated out to Europe (and probably helped along by the Crusades).

So that’s it. It still leaves the question of just why they chose the curly-cue to become the 6. Maybe they liked the way it looked?

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Goals

It’s May! Now every time I write “may” in a sentence it will try to autocorrect to the date. Good thing I don’t write it that much.

Now, let’s look at my goals for last month.

April Goals
1. Finish the book! If I haven’t already. As of this writing, I have two more chapters left. I may have already tweeted my victory, though.
WOOOOOO! I did it! The first draft was done! I was pretty vocal about it on Twitter, so most of you are probably already aware of this. Still could use more accolades, though.

2. Make a plan for editing!
Did this, too. It was pretty easy.

3. Start editing!
This was…well, not easy. Kind of tedious, really. And I would have completed my first major read through with notes if my stupid frigging laptop power jack didn’t break.

A pretty good month, laptops notwithstanding. Now, for May…
1. Finish the read through and all the editing notes that come with it.

2. Start working on the notes. I’m not so sure I’ll be able to finish them as it looks like there’s going to be around six hundred, varying from “change this word” to “change this whole section”.

3. Find something mindless and boring for me to do to recharge with. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

So that’s the plan for May. What are you up to this month?