Thursday, January 31, 2019

Language of Confusion: Get -Rect, Part IV

Today we’re looking at -rect words that are related to ruling, because the “moving in a straight line” part of the Proto Indo European origin word is taken very seriously.

Rule showed up in the thirteenth century from the Old French riule (noun) and riuler (verb). They come from the Vulgar and classical Latin regula, rule, from regere, to rule. Royal showed up in the mid thirteenth century from the Old French roial and classical Latin regalis, which just meant royal, so not a huge stretch here. I guess French is the language responsible for getting rid of all the Gs.

Reign and regent have similar origins, with the former showing up in the early thirteenth century as a noun and later on as a verb. The noun is from the classical Latin regnum, kingdom, and the verb from regnare, to rule. Regent showed up later, in the fifteenth century, from the Medieval Latin regentem and classical Latin regens, which just means regent. At least we still pronounce the G in this one.

Finally today we’re looking at rank. But not the rank that has to do with a division or class, because that comes from a completely different place. No, I mean the rank like something you smell. It comes from the Old English ranc, which meant bold, courageous,showy, or mature. That’s from the Proto Germanic rankaz, which is thought to be from reg-, although that’s not sure. It’s thought that it went from showy to excessive to unpleasant to loathsome, but I have no idea how the straight/direct line thing is worked in there. It would actually make more sense if the other version of rank was related, but of course it’s not.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

From The Spamfiles

Still haven’t found a good site to start up a new blog on. Every time I look I find something else disappointing. But that’s a post for another day. Right now it’s more of the stupid stuff that keeps getting caught in my spam filter.

This is an advertisement? You mean I don’t get a free flashlight? I bet it doesn’t even blind bears. The last flashlight offered to me blinded bears.

Hello, I’d like to report criminal use of emojis? Not a crime, you say? How about an assault? Because I definitely feel assaulted.

A “free* cell phone” at “no charge*”. Usually they don’t make the fact that they’re lying quite so blatant.

Wold You Date A Brazilian?

My name isn’t Greg Smith, I don’t live in the Lake Stevens area, and nothing extraordinary has happened to me ever in my life.

I mean, I guess if it’s outlawed you’re not going to be getting it by prescription, as drug dealers don’t generally take prescriptions.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Language of Confusion: Get Rect, Part III

There are a lot more of these words. It’s quite surprising how many words trace back to reg-, especially words you’d never think of. For example…

Arrogant first showed up in the late fourteenth century, with arrogance also coming about around that time. Both words have Old French versions spelled exactly the same, and both come from the classical Latin arrogantem, proud, although arrogance comes via a noun form of the word (arrogantia). In Latin there’s also a verb form of the word, arrogare, which means to usurp or claim, a mix of the prefix ad-, to, and rogare, to ask. So it went from “to ask to” to usurp to… arrogant? It’s even more confusing considering rogare is from reg-, to move in a straight line. It’s thought to be figurative—I mean, obviously. It shouldn’t be too surprising that arrogate is from the same place. It showed up in the sixteenth century from the classical Latin arrogatus, which is also from arrogare.

Surrogate showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin surrogatus, substitute, from the verb subrogare (also spelled surrogare), to substitute or replace. Sub- means under or in the place of, and rogare is to ask, so it’s… to ask under? I guess they’re going for “to ask in the place of” here, which makes more sense than “to move in a straight line in place of” I guess.

Derogatory showed up in the sixteenth century, which means it might’ve showed up after forms we don’t use any more like derogate (early fifteenth century) and derogative (late fifteenth century). It comes to us through the Late Latin derogatorius, from the classical Latin derogatus and its verb form derogare, which means to detract from (or derogate). The de- means away here, so it’s “to ask away”. Or maybe “ask away from” since ask away has a different connotation these days. Asking away from detracts from someone’s credibility, I suppose.

Prerogative—which I’m just now learning is spelled “prero”—showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French prerogative and classical/Medieval Latin prerogative, all of which had roughly the same meaning as today. The verb form is praerogere, which meant something like to ask before others. The prae- is where pre- comes from and means before, so it’s to ask before.

Finally, interrogation showed up in the late fourteenth century, about a century before interrogate. It comes from the Old French interrogacion and classical Latin interrogationem, a question. Its verb form is interrogare, to ask, a mix of inter-, between, and of course rogare, to ask. To ask between. Well, it makes more sense than most of the origins today.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Here’s something neat that I thought people might be interested in. It’s a personality quiz that claims not to be based on junk science. I mean, that probably isn’t true, but it’s still neat.

How it works is you answer a few question and it rates you on five qualities: Openness to experience, Extraversion, Negative emotionality, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness. Each of those five qualities also has three sub-qualities, although I’m not going to get into all of them myself. Take the quiz yourself if you want to see them.

The average is that people end up with a kind of pentagram shape showing how much of each trait they embody, although the comparisons they gave show that the national average ends with most people having one much shorter side—the negative emotionality. I, on the other hand, had only a four out of a hundred in extraversion while my negative emotionality was off the charts.

I was not surprised by this.

I doubt something so short can really demonstrate the complexities of a human personality, but I found it amusing nonetheless. And accurate. If any of you guys want to try it, I’d love to hear what you think about it.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Well, It Does

Don’t act like you haven’t done it.
I never did figure out what she was doing.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Language of Confusion: Get -Rect, Part II

We’re back! As you’ll recall from last week, the -rect words come from the Proto Indo European root reg-, which means move in a straight line. It has a lot of word-descendants, and this week we’re going to look at words that still have reg- in them.

Regular showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French reguler, although that meant ecclesiastical—relating to the church. That word comes from the Late Latin regularis, containing rules for guidance (does seem like a church thing), from the classical Latin regula, rule. In English it had the church-y meaning, too, basically meaning the opposite of secular, but then in the late sixteenth century it meant things that followed patterns, which is more similar to how it was used in Latin, really.

Region showed up in the fourteenth century meaning “tract of land of a considerable but indefinite extent”, which I guess is pretty much how we use it today. It comes from the Anglo French regioun, Old French region, and classical Latin regionem, which, yeah, just region. It’s from the verb regere, to rule, set straight, or guide.

That rule part of regere is about to become significant. See, regime showed up in 1792 (yes, a specific year!) from the French régime, which came from the Old French regimen and classical Latin regimen, which could mean regime or government. That’s also where we get regimen from, although it showed up in the fifteenth century, also from Old French’s regimen. And regiment is from there, too. It’s even older in fact, having shown up in the late fourteenth century, although back then it referred only to a government, not becoming an army unit until the sixteenth century. It’s from the Old French regiment and classical Latin regimentum, administration or rule, so the government thing kind of makes sense. If anything, the fact that it’s a part of the armed forces is the weird part.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

First Blood

Well, it’s started. I’m only surprised it took this long. Tumblr has flagged one of my old posts. In particular, this one:
Yeah. A baby. It must be a girl with female presenting nipples that are simply TOO SCANDALOUS for people to handle.

Yes, there is that “appeal” process where supposedly they’ll have an actual person look at the post instead of a bot that scans for any form of skin (seriously, I’m not the only one who’s had things flagged because they have flesh tones in them). But it’s still a stupid, crappy process that flags way more than it should. People can’t post sfw selfies without them getting flagged, and I feel like all these so called appeals take away time that should be maintaining their stupid crappy website.

Also, good news. The porn bots are all still there. As are the white supremacists. Wouldn’t want to ban those assholes or anything.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Less Than

This is far from the first time this has happened.
One time, more than a decade ago by now, I found a ketchup bottle in her pantry. It had turned brown.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Language of Confusion: Get Rect, Part I

This week we’re going to start looking at words with rect in them, either as a prefix or a suffix. And boy, are there a lot of them.

The origin for all these rect- words is the Proto Indo European root reg-, which means “move in a straight line”. That’s going to make a lot of sense for some of these words. And a lot less sense in others.

Rectangle showed up in the mid-late sixteenth century from the Middle French rectangle and Late Latin rectangulum. The rect- comes from the classical Latin rectus, which could mean things like correct, upright, straight, and righteous and the rest of course is the origin of angle. In Medieval Latin rectangulum meant a triangle that had a right angle, so as you can see things have changed a bit.

Now let’s look at something less literal. Rectify showed up in the fifteenth century from the Old French rectifier, to make straight. It comes from the Late Latin rectificare, to make right, and rectus, The -ficare part from rectificare comes from facere, to make, so rectify, to make straight. How sensible.

Correct first showed up in the mid fourteenth century meaning to set someone right by punishing them for an error, and then later in the century meaning to bring a text “into accordance with a standard or original”. It comes from the classical Latin correctus, reformed or a reformed person, which is from the verb corrigere, tocorrect, put straight, set right. The prefix is from com- and is thought to be intensive here, and the rest is from regere, to rule, set straight, guide. To really set something straight is to correct it.

Direct showed up in the late fourteenth century as directen, meaning to write a letter to someone or to point out a course. Its history is similar to correct, and it’s from the classical Latin directus, which could mean direct, success, or straight. The di- is from dis-, apart, which means this word, combined with regere is to set straight apart? I’m really lost on this one.

Now it’s time for the words that will make everyone giggle. Erect also showed up in the late fourteenth century, from the Latin erectus, upright, from the verb erigere, to lift up or set up, and it’s the e- that gives the up part, although it’s I don’t think a common prefix. Then there’s rectum. It didn’t show up until the early fifteenth century, coming from the Latin phrase intestinum rectum, which means straight intestine. Seriously, rectum just means straight or right. It was taken from a Greek phrase, apeuthysmeon enteron, rectal intestine. It was so called by Galen of Pergamum, a Greek physician, for the lowest part of the large intestine in animals. Because apparently some animals had intestines which were straight when compared to humans.



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

January Goals

Well, 2019 is here. I’d say it couldn’t get any worse than 2018, but I keep getting proven wrong when I say that so I’m going to keep my mouth shut.

December Goals
1. Hopefully get beyond 50K in the WIP.
I did! Yay!

2. Update my etymology page before it gets out of hand.
Yep, did it.

3. Ugh, now we have Christmas.
Thankfully, it’s over and done with.

Pretty successful. I wish I had gotten more written though.

January Goals
1. Get to 70K in my WIP.

2. Figure out if I can start up a new spam blog.

3. Do all the crappy adult stuff I have to do.

So that’s the plan. Now let’s just hope I can wake up enough to do it. I’m just so tired.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A Bit Late

Wow, I forgot about this one. While not the very first stick figure comic I did, this was the first one I think was actually funny, from September 6, 2014. Enjoy!

This is an honest to god actual account of something that happened over my vacation, when my mom asked me to help her get the music she downloaded onto her iPad.

I'm not even kidding, two frigging hours.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Language of Confusion: Right

First posted October 23, 2010, with a much stupider title, this was the second etymology post I ever did. I’m actually planning to do more posts involving the PIE origin word for right, so this is a good refresher. As well as a good look at how little I knew what I was doing.

Anyway! How about we look up some more double meaning words? Today: right, right and right. As in, you are right, you have the right to turn right whenever you want. Obviously, no one ever mistakes the Bill of Rights as a law about right-hand turns. But how can three words that mean mutually exclusive things all be spelled and sound the exact same way?

Ah, English. I’d say it’s the most confusing language, but I took German. Do you know how many words they have for the? A lot.

First, let’s look at the right that means correct, proper. It comes from the Old English riht, which itself came from rekhtaz, a word from Old English’s ancestor Proto-German meaning good, fair, proper. There are several other relatives including the Old High German (prevalent around the sixth to eleventh centuries) reht, and from that the German recht, the Old Norse (the language the Viking invaders to England spoke in the Middle Ages) word rettr, and the Gothic (around 1000 CE) word raihts. All the words stem from that rekhtaz. But whence rekhtaz?

Its parent is the Proto-Indo-European (which is from a long time ago, as in 4000 BCE) reg-, to regulate, make just, or reign. That word has more cousins (in that they’re all descended from the same word) in the Greek orektos (stretched out, upright) and Latin rectus (straight, right). Really, almost every European (and even Old Persian as well) word for right descends from this reg.

Now let’s look at the right defined as “the opposite of left.” I don’t know how many of you have heard of this, but about fifty years ago, when my parents were in school, there was no such thing as “left handed.” Children who favored their left hand were punished and forced to use their right, which I bet resulted in a lot of messy handwriting.

For some reason, there was a lot of stigmata associated with left-handedness. That is also the reason the word right -> has a similar history to the proper-and-correct right. In around the twelfth century, the opposite of left started to be called riht in Old English, the good, fair and proper word.

Man, people did not like lefties. Many of Old English’s Proto-Indo-European cousins also associated the right hand with the word right (the French word, droit, comes from Latin directus—straight). Except, interestingly enough, the actual Proto-Indo-European word for that side is dek and from that, the Latin dexter (think of dexterity, not straight and proper).

As for having rights, that most likely comes from Old Irish recht, which also stems from the straight, rule, put right reg. However, the Old Irish were the first to use it to mean law, so they get the credit for that invention.

In the end, I guess you would have to say all three rights do have something in common: they come from a word for making something straight and good (although I obviously don’t think lefties are bad and think the whole idea that they aren’t good is ludicrous). But laws are attempts to make society correct (or right), aren’t they?

I guess they weren’t so different after all : )

Much thanks to:

Douglas Harper’s Online Etymology Dictionary where I got a lot of these definitions and histories. Honestly, it’s a great resource.

University of Texas at Austin, Indo-European Lexicon Pokorny Master PIE Etyma A great resource for that era.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Resolutions 2019

The holidays have past. It’s a brand new year. And frankly, I’m exhausted. So while this post will be new, I think I’ll do some reposts for the rest of the week so I can take it easy. Until I start cringing over how badly written the old posts were.

Anyway, it’s time to figure out just what I want to do this year.

1. Figure out some way to keep my yearly resolutions in mind. Maybe I’ll put them at the top of the file I organize my blog posts in.

2. Finish the first draft of my new WIP and make my editing plan.

3. (Hopefully) finish my older WIP, and at the very least keep making progress on it.

4. Write something new, but not necessarily an entire book. Something smaller.

5. Start up a new spam blog. I know. It’s the stupidest thing ever. I just think it’s hilarious.

6. Arm myself for the upcoming revolution.

7. Be nicer. To the people who are nice. The people who are mean will learn new definitions of pain.

That’s my 2019 plan. Now let’s see how it all goes to hell. Ugh, I made myself feel bad.

What do you hope for this year?