Tuesday, June 2, 2020

June Goals

Well, May felt shorter than April, but not by much. Still felt a few years long. I know I was supposed to do something last month but I can’t remember what…

May Goals
1. Get to 50K on the new WIP. Since I’m already at 10K and I just started a week ago, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Yeah, this was easy. I’m almost at 60K. So yeah. Pretty successful.

2. If I have the time, keep working on my old projects that I really shouldn’t abandon.
Was not successful here. I know I should, I just had no energy to work on anything else.

3. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. This really isn’t a goal. Just something I needed to get out.

Honestly, it was a pretty good month. In spite of, you know, everything.

June Goals
1. Finish new WIP. Not thinking this will be any problem.

2. Actually work on one of my old projects this month! The exclamation point means I’m serious!

3. Update the etymology page. I keep forgetting to do this!

It’s June, and summer is due to start here (and feels like it already has). What are you doing this month?

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Coffee Table

More adventures of “My Mom Actually Did This”.
This is like eighty percent of my interactions with her.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Fish, Part III

This should be the last part. Unless I find some that I missed.

Eel comes from the Old English ael, which is just eel, not surprisingly. It comes from the Proto Germanic aelaz, but no one knows where it came from before that as there are no similar words in non-Germanic languages. It’s still more of an explanation than we’ve had for some of these words.

Carp—as in the fish, not like you’d carp about something orally, which is not related—showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French carpe and Vulgar Latin carpa. That’s actually thought to also be Germanic in origin, as there is a Gothic word, karpa, that’s a word for a fish. Pretty much the only thing they’re sure about is that it’s not related to the talk/speak version of the word.

Mackerel showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French maquerel, yet another word with an unknown origin. Some people think that it’s from the classical Latin word macula, which means spot, because of the spots on the fish, but they aren’t sure, and weirdly enough there’s actually another Old French definition for maquerel where it means agent, broker, or pimp. That one might just be a homophone, but there’s also a theory that people named the fish because of its spawning habits or something.

Guppy is a relatively recent word, having shown up in 1918, when it became popular as an aquarium fish. It’s actually called that based off the man it was named for, Robert John Lechmere Guppy. So because that’s his name, that’s why we call it Guppy.

Now, perch has more than one definition, but a perch that something sits on or to perch on something is not related. The word for the fish first showed up in the fourteenth century as perche, from the Old French perche—and since a perch that something sits on is also spelled that way, the word confusion goes back at least that far. But that perch is from a Latin word for pole (pertica), while the fish is from the classical Latin perca, their word for the fish, and it’s not related to pertica in the slightest. It’s actually from the Greek perke, their word for perch, from perknos, spotted, from the Proto Indo European perk-, speckled or spotted. Definitely nothing to do with poles.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

From The Spamfiles

It’s spam day!


What does “Lend Flare” even mean? Like, the lend part I get, it’s a loan, but flare??? Are the loans on fire????????

Ah, yes, Pornhub with a 0 instead of an o and two u’s. That’s the proper spelling. Anyone who says otherwise about this million dollar company everyone has heard of is a liar.


I shoved the gas credit card into the tank but it didn’t make the car go. Help.

International monetary! Get your international monetary here! You want international monetary, you’ll get no better deal!

Sometimes I just feel like being nonsensical back at the spam.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Fish, Part II

There are a lot of fish out there. I’m not even getting to all of them, just the ones I’ve heard of.

Shark showed up in the mid sixteenth century, but the first thing it says after that is it’s of “uncertain origin”. Apparently the word came about when a sixteenth century ship captain brought a shark back to London—go check out the link to the Etymology page and you’ll see an excerpt from a handbill where it’s referred to as a “sharke” in Olde English Speake. While shark as someone who preys on others is first noted at the very end of the sixteenth century, one theory is that it actually appeared first and then the fish was named so, while another theory is that it was taken from a Mayan word, xoc, which may have been their word for it. Now, sharks did have a name in English before then, but it was tiburon, from the Spanish word for shark, tiburón. And these days it’s also a town in California.

Trout comes from the Old English truht, which of course just means trout. It’s thought to be from the Old French truite and Late Latin tructa, which is then thought to be from the Greek word troktes, a word for a kind of fish. It’s actually from the word trogein, to gnaw or eat, and that can be traced to the Proto Indo European tro-, from tere-, to rub or turn. A word we’ve gone over before. Extensively.

I was going to look at angler here, but then I found out it’s just angle with an R at the end. How boring. So, pike. This one isn’t terribly strange either, but it’s still amusing. It showed up in the earlyfourteenth century, and it’s named for the polearm people use as weapons. See, the fish has a long, pointed jaw. It’s also influenced by the French word for pike, brochet. Yeah, nothing too crazy here.

Cod is fairly old, having shown up in the mid fourteenth century (it actually appeared as part of a last name a century before that), and is another one from an unknown origin. This one is kind of weird because there is another cod, and that’s part of cod piece, but there’s no known link between the words. That word is from the Old English codd, which meant bag or pouch (and yes, it referred to a certain part of the male anatomy), and while there have been weird etymology links before, that doesn’t seem to be where the fish came from.

Speaking of words that have more than one meaning and aren’t related at all, we have bass. The word for the fish showed up in the fifteenth century as a corruption of the Middle English baers. That’s from the Old English baers, a fish, from the Proto Germanic bars-, sharp and Proto Indo European bhar-, point or bristle. Apparently the fish’s dorsal fins look like bristles. And of course the musical bass is not related. That’s a whole other kettle of fish.

Ahem. So to speak.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Spam time, yo.

Sometimes spam comments really do make you feel better. I found you with the treasure I was looking for.

Look, it’s the local flirt. If I was to pick an emoji reaction for this it would be 😬

Frankly, even if it was from the real Federal Reserve Bank, I’d be noping out hard. I feel dirty even having it in my spam box.

Okay, there’s so much to enjoy here. First of all, “Good Morning My Dear”, such an excellent way to start what’s supposed to be an official notification. Next is the fact that they call it both a winning prize and an inheritance fund. Like, make up your mind! Third is just the fact that they make “overdue” into two words. I guess they don’t have a grammar check on their computers.

“respond to this offer”?!! Don’t you boss me!

Mrs. Mary Susan. Such a perfectly real name. Why, I know every member of the Susan family. At least, the Boston Susans. I know nothing of the Westchester Susans.

Saturday, May 16, 2020


This is a regular problem for me.
As I’ve mentioned before, Peaches has a thing for donuts. Especially Entenmenn’s.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Fish, Part I

Well, Alex asked, and honestly, I was probably going to look at these sooner rather than later. Might as well do it now. I’m going to stick with the most common names because there are a lot of them.

The word that started this mess comes from the Old English fisc, fish, and in spite of the C there, it’s actually pronounced the same. The verb fish actually has a slightly different origin word, as its Old English form is fiscian. I guess they liked making things confusing so they dropped the last syllable. Both words come from the Proto Germanic fiskaz, which might be from the Proto Indo European pisk-, fish, which is definitely the origin for Pisces. But I love how they’re not actually sure it’s where fish comes from.

Unfortunately, there’s not much known about this word. It showed up in the late seventeenth century from the Portuguese garupa, but where they got it is unknown (it’s possibly South American in origin). However one thing is for certain: it’s not related to group. At all.

Flounder showed up in the fourteenth century meaning the fish—the other definition, to flounder, showed up in the sixteenth century, and while it may be from the fish, it’s not definitely known, and obviously the fish came first. The fish comes from the Anglo French floundre, from the Old North French flondre, Old Norse flydhra, and Proto Germanic flunthrjo. That’s from the Proto Indo European plat-, the origin word for flat. A flounder is a flat fish!

Tuna is a fairly recent word, having shown up in 1881 from the American Spanish (specifically California) tuna. That’s from the Spanish atun, tuna, which is actually taken from the Arabic tun, which is then from the classical Latin thunnus, which also means tuna. That word certainly went a long route to English. If you’re wondering what we called tuna before… it was tunny. Yeah. That word showed up in the sixteenth century, thought to be from the Middle French thon and Old Provençal ton, which is also from thunnus.

Salmon showed up in the early thirteenth century from the Anglo French samoun, Old French salmun, and classical Latin salmonem, salmon. Which, for the record, pronounced the L. Some people think that’s from the verb salire, to jump, and other people think the word is Celtic in origin. Salmon also replaced the previous Old English word for the fish, laex, which is the origin for lox, which is also still used sometimes when referring to it.

I have to say, these were weirder than I expected. I can’t wait to see what next week brings.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Yay, it’s time for spam again! I can sense your excitement from here.

Okay, I actually looked this guy up to see if he was real, and no, apparently he’s not. The only John Blairs I’ve been able to find are way older than 25. Seriously, if something’s that easily googled, maybe don’t go lying about it.

Sigh. I could really use five thousand dollars about now.

No, my address is ……………………………………………………

Look at this perfectly legitimate twitter follower. You were made to do hard thinks.

Why are there bombs? Why are there always bombs on these??? WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY INTEND BY THAT????? WHY DOES THIS BOTHER ME SO MUCH???????

Now they’re spamming solutions for spamming. Cheers to them for actually picking something I’d want this time for maybe the first time ever.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Fan-dom

Now, I already did fanatic not that long ago when I looked at words meaning crazy, but quick recap: it’s actually from the classical Latin word festus, which means holiday. The word fan that’s short for that showed up in 1889 as a word for baseball enthusiasts. Now, for the rest of the fan words.

Fancy isn’t related to the above words. It showed up in the mid fifteenth century as fantsy, which is actually a contraction of fantasy. Fantasy showed up in the early fourteenth century meaning illusory appearance, or whimsical notion—the latter of which is what fancy used to mean before evolving to mean imagination, and then in 1751, meaning elegance. For some reason. Fantasy comes from the Old French fantasie/phantasie, from the classical Latin phantasia, fantasy, from the Greek phantasia, imagination. That word is related to phantazesthai, imagine, from phantos, phantom, from phainesthai, literally it seems, from phainein, to show or bring to light. And that one’s traced to the Proto Indo European bha-, to shine. Man, what a rabbit hole that one turned out to be.

Now let’s go back to the other kind of fan, the one you use to cool yourself off with. The noun of the word comes from the Old English fann, while the verb from was fannian, and the words actually had to do with sorting grain. Basically, a fann was something to shovel grain with, and a fannian was the process of doing so. The words come from the classical Latin vannus (there was no v in Old English), which is a fan for, again, sorting grain. One theory is that the word is related to ventus, wind, which would bring things full circle considering what we use fans for these days. But it also might be another one of these huge coincidences that seem to be eighty percent of etymology posts.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

May Goals

Well, we survived April. It wasn’t a decade long like March was, but it was at least a few years. I think I spent the entire time screaming. So if you heard a high pitched “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” that was me.

Did I have goals for last month? It was so long ago I can’t remember.

April Goals
1. Finish edits for the other WIP so it’s at the point where it’s ready for beta readers.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do this. I wanted to, but every time I opened the file I couldn’t think about anything but the… you know.

2. Finally finish working on the notes I made for WIP’s sequel.
Same as above. Honestly, I’m not blaming myself for this one. It was a really tough month to be a human being.

3. Find a way not to be overwhelmed.
I did do this, although I did it by starting a completely new WIP. Yeah. Well, it was the only thing that distracted me.

That was April. Now for May.

May Goals
1. Get to 50K on the new WIP. Since I’m already at 10K and I just started a week ago, this shouldn’t be a problem.

2. If I have the time, keep working on my old projects that I really shouldn’t abandon.

3. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. This really isn’t a goal. Just something I needed to get out.

What are you doing this month? Stay safe out there (or preferably isolated in your homes).

Saturday, May 2, 2020


I can’t even make up something as insane as the actual conversations I have with my mom.
The only lie about this is it was by text. It just seems kind of pointless to do just that in a comic, though. Also the mask she got for me is black, so she really does know what I like after all.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Language of Confusion: Lure

Kind of a short one this week. Sometimes word origins are very self-contained. But no less weird.

Lure showed up in the early fourteenth century, and get this, it was originally a name for a device used to recall a hawk—like in falconry. The word comes from the Anglo French lure, the Old French loirre, and the Frankish lothr, which in turn comes from the Proto Germanic lothran, to call. So because a lure was used to call hawks, the word migrated (ha!) into general use.

There’s also allure, which does indeed come from the same place. It showed up in the fifteenth century, from the Anglo French allurer and Old French aleurer, meaning specifically to attract/train a falcon to hunt. The word is made up of the prefix ad-, to, and of course loirre. To call (a falcon) to. Allure.

I have to say, this is a pretty good example of verbing a word. People were so into falcon hunting, that their word for calling them became a word for attracting things in general. Hell, these days, when you say a lure, you’re a lot more likely to think of fishing than birds. Hey, fishing. Another example of a word that can often be used with nothing to do with its original meaning.

Now to think of what to post for next week…

No, it’s not going to be fish. That seems a tad too obvious.


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Here we go.

A cancer widow! We all must help them with their large amounts of money during these trying times! We don’t want her to get scammed now, do we?

If you’ll “try anything once… Twice… Three times…” it’s not so much “trying anything” as it is “doing anything at any time for any reason”.

Honestly, just posting this one because I think Androstoma would make a good name for a story.

I think the CDC has their hands full with more than CBD right now.

Ah, yes. Warren Buffet is always randomly giving away large sums of money instead of filtering it through charities he owns for tax breaks. And calling himself “Mr. Warren”.

I should give her email address to Mr. Warren. I think they’d suit each other.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Last Weekend

This was really what it was like!
It was sunny again by the next day, but this time fairly cold.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Take Your Seats, Part VI

Finally! The last part! There are a lot of words that come from the Proto Indo European sed-, to sit. And if you thought last week’s was weird, wait until you see these.

Nest comes from the Old English nest, which means (hold your hats) nest. That’s from the Proto Germanic nistaz, which is from the Proto Indo European nizdo-. How is that from sed-, you ask? Quit interrupting and I’ll tell you: nizdo- is thought to be a combination of ni, which means down, and sed-, making this word to sit down. Which actually makes sense!

Then there’s nick. Not the name, like a nick in something, or even nick as in steal (which is thought to be slang). A nick is a groove in something, which showed up in the mid fifteenth century and is thought to be from the French word niche. Which, you know, is where niche comes from. It showed up in English in the early seventeenth century, meaning niche but also meaning a kennel, like for a dog. It’s thought to be from the Italian nicchia, which means niche so that’s a safe bet, and there’s some debate about that word’s origin. It might be from nicchio, a word for seashell, from the classical Latin mitululs, mussel (no explanation on why m became n, though), but others think it’s from the Old French nichier, to nestle, from the Gallo Roman nidicare, from the classical Latin nidus, nest, and that word is from nizdo- again. But although that makes sense, it’s really only a guess.

Have you ever heard of the prefix piezo-? Well, I have. It means pressure, and yes, it’s a sed- word, and it comes from the Greek piezein, which means to press. That word is from the Proto Indo European pisedyo-, to sit upon, with the pi meaning on (it’s actually where the prefix epi- comes from) and the rest from sed-. Sitting upon something puts pressure on it! And that’s not the only word forming element from sed-. There’s also -hedron, the geometric term. It’s from the Greek hedra, which means the face of a “geometric solid”, but also means seat or chair. And that’s also from sed-.

And now we can come back to things we sit on and look at chair, which yes, comes from the same word as seat. It showed up in the early thirteenth century as chaere, from the Old French chaiere, chair, from the classical Latin cathedra, seat. And yes, that’s where cathedral comes from, too. It showed up in English in the sixteenth century as a kind of translation of the Late Latin phrase ecclesia cathedralis, “church of a bishop’s seat”. A cathedral is where a bishop sits! I can’t stand it. Anyway, cathedra is from the Greek kathedra, a chair, a combination of kata, down (the origin of the prefix cata-) and hedra, which we just looked at. Funny how these come together.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Now let’s pry the lid off and look at some spam.

First of all, it’s the “Valentime” people again, so now we know for sure that it’s not just an accident. Second… seriously, what is all that crap in the message? Does they think this somehow makes them look more legit? Because when you spell it “Valentime”, that ship has sailed.

Because if you’re tired of fake dating, some random website on the internet is going to solve your problems.

Well, someone clearly doesn’t know how spaces work. They go between words, not in the middle.

Hm. You think they’re trying to sell Viagra?

Anyone have any theory as to what “Those” are and why it took so long? I’m guessing she tried to make brownies and realized she was out of eggs, and it took a while for her to figure out an appropriate substitute.

My inheritance fund! That’s apparently in the UK! Where I don’t live and don’t know anyone who does live there! Oh, and please note that it’s spelled “United Kingdoom”. I just. I can’t even.

Saturday, April 18, 2020


This is what constitutes an emergency for my mom.
They came out quite good.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Take Your Seats, Part V

Whoo, this one is still going. Look, there are a lot of words that come from the Proto Indo European sed-, to sit. Some of them even have to do with sitting! Not so much this week, though.

You know what’s from sed-? Séance. Not making that up. It showed up in 1789 meaning a sitting or session, (not meaning the spiritualist thing until 1845) from the French séance, which means sitting or meeting. The verb form is seoir, to sit, from the classical Latin sedere, which as I’ve mentioned every week means to sit, and is from sed-. So it means session, and spiritualists decided to use it probably because French was fancy.

Next, siege, which makes sense since I mentioned last week how sess- are related siege. Now we can look at the word itself. It showed up in the early thirteenth century just meaning a seat. Apparently because an attacking army would be “sitting down” in front of a fortress, the word came to be used in a militaristic sense, which then morphed it to the definition we use for it. Anyway, it’s from the Old French sege, seat or throne, from the Vulgar Latin sedicum, seat. And that one’s from sedere, so there’s that.

That one kind of made sense, right? Well, how about size? Yes, really. It showed up in the fourteenth century meaning an ordinance to fix the amount of a payment or tax. Seriously. See, in from the Old French sise, and that word is actually short for assise, session, assessment, regulation, or manner. That’s from the verb asseoir (looks like seoir, doesn’t it?), which means to cause to sit. You know how you size something up? That’s what it means. In English, it became the amount/volume of something, and in the late sixteenth century meant the dimensions of something for sale, then shortly after that it became to make something a certain size or classify by size. But asseoir is from the classical Latin assidere/adsidere, to sit beside, which I actually mentioned last week as being the origin of assess. The ad- means to, and the rest is from sedere, and the word means “to sit next to”. Yeah. None of this makes sense.

And now soil, because this has to keep getting weirder. Soil showed up in the early thirteenth century, first as a verb meaning to pollute with sin and then later as a noun meaning land. The verb is from the Old French soillier, to splatter with mud, from souil, a pigsty or wallow. That’s from Latin, either the word solium, seat or bath tub, or from suculus, pig. The noun has a slightly different origin, coming from the Anglo French soil, piece of ground, from the Old French words sol, ground or soil, and soeul/sueil, area or place. It’s the latter word that’s from solium, which means it’s also from sed-, meaning soil has four possible origin words, two of which aren’t related. But maybe they are!

Now for something slightly different. Soot doesn’t have any French of Latin in it at all, but it’s still from sed-! It comes from the Old English sot, soot, from the Proto Germanic sotam, also soot, basically meaning something that settles down, which I guess soot does. That word is from the Proto Indo European sodo-, which is a suffix form of sed-. So because soot settles, it’s soot. I think that might be the only sed- word that’s Germanic in origin. Isn’t that weird?

Finally today is see. But not see like you looking at stuff. There’s another one. Have you ever heard of something, like the Vatican, referred to as a “Holy see”? That version of see is unique in origin. It showed up in the fourteenth century meaning the throne of a bishop, archbishop, or pope. It’s from the Old French sie, seat or throne, from the classical Latin sedem, seat, which of course is from sedere and sed-. It being a homonym for see is just one big coincidence.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

From The Spamfiles

These are fast becoming my favorite posts. Maybe because they’re so pointless.

Yeah, that seems super urgent.

It’s the fact that they call it “Valentime” that clinches it for me. What are they going for here? Is it on purpose as some sort of joke? Or are they so inept that they can’t spell Valentine right? It could be either.

Always trust a place that spells mortgage with a 0.

Yes, I am very hurt by this means of communication. Good thing they’re donating me money. I’ll need it to get over this tremendous hurt.

Anyone have any idea what the push pin emojis are supposed to signify? Because I have no idea.

Ah, my good friend, friend. It really has been a long time.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Take Your Seats, Part IV

I think we’ve finished with all the seat words that make sense. Now we’re onto the WTF ones. But they really are all descended from the Proto Indo European sed-, to sit. It’s just a hell of a journey from there to here.

For example, assess. Yes, really. It showed up in the early fifteenth century, specifically meaning “to fix the amount of a tax/fine” by a judge’s assistant (seriously, not the judge, their assistant). Then in 1809, it started to be used in the sense of evaluating a property (like, for taxation), and then it wasn’t until 1934 that it meant judging the value of something in general. It’s less than a hundred years old in that sense! As for its origins, it comes from the Anglo French assesser, from the Medieval Latin assessare, to fix a tax on, from the classical Latin assessus, sitting by. Assessus is from assidere/adsidere, to assess, or to sit beside (as in, beside a judge, thus assisting them). The a-/ad- means to, and the rest is from our old friend sedere, to sit, and that’s from sed-. So because assistants sit by judges, we have assess.

The next -sess word, obsess, showed up in the sixteenth century meaning to besiege. Soon after it showed up, it started to mean to be haunted by evil spirits, and then in the nineteenth century, people started using it in the psychological sense of being haunted by a fixed idea. Obsess comes from the classical Latin obsessus, which could mean siege or spare, from the verb obsidere, blockade or besiege. The ob- means against, while sedere is to sit, so it’s to sit against. Which… I mean, I guess that’s kind of besieging something.

Possess showed up earlier than the above, in the late fourteenth century, actually from possession, which showed up in the mid fourteenth century. Both words come from the classical Latin possidere, to possess. The front half of the word is thought to be from poti-, powerful (you know, like potent), so this word is to sit powerfully. I guess if you possess something, you have power over it.

The last of the sess words is actually session, which showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning the period sitting of a court. It comes from the Old French session, which could mean assembly, or the act of sitting (yeah, really). It’s from the classical Latin sessionem, session, the action noun version of sedere. So because a court is seated, we have session. Still, it’s refreshingly straightforward.

Finally this week, not a sess word but a word I’m just shoving in here, surcease. It showed up in the early fifteenth century, coming from the Anglo French surseser, and the Old French sursis, the past participle of the verb surseoir. That word is from the classical Latin supersedere, which already appeared on this blog when I did supersede. I probably should have done these words together, but whatever. Basically, surcease is from supersede, literally to sit on top of, but they shortened the super and decided to spell it like cease. Which, for the record, has nothing to do with these words.e