Thursday, January 30, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Homing, Part I

Yeah, another multi-parter. Although hopefully this one will only be two weeks long.

House comes from the Old English hus, which was pronounced something like “hoos”. I don’t know why that amuses me so, but it does. Anyway, it’s from the Proto Germanic h­­usan, but its origin before that is unknown—although one theory is that it’s related to the root word for hide (to hide, not like the hide of an animal). But that’s only a theory.

Home comes from the Old English ham and oh my god, these keep getting better and better. It wasn’t pronounced quite like ham, though. More like hawm. Which frankly only makes it better. It’s from the Proto Germanic haimaz, home, and can be traced back to the Proto Indo European tkoimo-. Yes, home once started with a T. And a K. It’s from the root word tkei-, to settle or be home, and is the origin for a weird number of other words, like haunt, hangar, and site. Okay, exactly none of those words have a K in it.

Abode showed up in the mid thirteenth century, but back then it only meant waiting, and it didn’t actually mean a residence until the late sixteenth century. It meant waiting because it came from abide, specifically the past tense of abide in Old English, abad []. Abide was actually abidan in Old English, meaning wait, but that a- at the beginning… isn’t supposed to be an a. The word is actually supposed to be gebidan (soft g there), to stay, although the ge- prefix is itself from the prefix a- (I know, it’s unnecessarily complicated), meaning onward motion here. The bidan part of the word is where we get bide, from the Proto Germanic bidan, to wait. I guess… you wait in your abode?

Residence showed up in the late fourteenth century, coming from the Old French residence, and Medieval Latin residentia. That word in turn is from the classical Latin resitentem, resident, and its verb form residere, to reside. If you look at reside, this etymology makes even more sense (a refreshing change of pace). When reside showed up in the late fifteenth century, it meant to settle or sit before it meant to dwell. Residere is actually a mix of the prefix re-, back again, and the Latin verb sedere, to sit, and that’s from the Proto Indo European root sed-, to sit. There’s another root word I’m definitely going to have to look into.

And that’ll be all for this week. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Yay! Something easy!

…She’s going to have a hard time finding it.

Apparently the three is only theoretical.

Sorry. I can’t be with anyone who uses 2 in place of two.

I mean. I’m pretty sure it’s a warranty on a home. It’s literally spelled out right there.

Once again, you can write a letter to unsubscribe from the internet spam. Because that’s perfectly logical!

Ooh. Shell group of company is hiring. Get in line! I saw it first!

Saturday, January 25, 2020


This is the kind of stuff I have to deal with on a regular basis with my mom.
Two weeks in a row she appears here. She’s just like that.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Language of Confusion: One Good Turn, Part IV

And now the last part of this exhilarating series about how the word turn is related to some weird things.

First, let’s look at throw. It showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old English þrawan, which means twist, turn, or writhe, so at least it’s relation to turn makes sense. As to why it came to mean throw (the Old English word for throw was actually weorpan, the origin of warp), well, one theory is that it’s in the sense that something you throw can turn in the air. Anyway, it’s from the Proto Germanic threw-, which is then from the Proto Indo European tere-, to rub or turn.

Thread comes from the Old English þraed, which just means thread, from the Proto Germanic thredu-, twisted yarn. Twist—like a turn. So because thread it twisted, it is from the same origin as turn.

Continuing with the th words, thresh. It comes from the Old English þrescan, which is just to thresh, from the Proto Germanic threskan, also just to thresh, and that one can be traced to tere-. Uh, I guess threshing involves rubbing or turning? I really don’t know what it is. I’ve never threshed before. Unsurprisingly, thresh is the origin of thrash as well, although it’s really never used as a version of thresh anymore. Unlike all the other words here, there’s a time of origin for thrash, as it was a dialect variant that appeared sometime in the late sixteenth century. It definitely went on a much weirder journey than thresh. In the early seventeenth century, it started to mean to beat someone (with a flail), and then in the mid nineteenth century it also came to mean to make wild movements (like a flail). So that’s how we got that.

And there’s also threshold, which has quite a different meaning. It comes from the Old English þrescold, which is how they used to say threshold. Apparently, since thresh had a sense of being trampled on, and yeah, that’s what you do to a threshold. The hold part is trickier. It’s not thought to actually be related to hold, and hey, in Old English it had a C in there. It’s likely from something else, but no one actually knows what.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

From The Spamfiles

It’s been too long since I’ve done this. I’ve missed having an easy filler post to throw up because I have no original ideas.

She wanta your Numbe

I assume they mean that it’s socially negative, but in all honesty, when I first saw this I was thinking it was like a negative number in math and like, “So one item has been taken away?”

“You don’t have to be alone” sounds more like a threat to me.

Warning, adult material like flames and underscores.

…Oaflath? Is that supposed to be a word? Or a name? Or do you just have something caught in your throat?

Yes, I’m sure my several years old joke about spam bingo is super useful to you.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Language of Confusion: One Good Turn, Part III

Just a couple more weeks of this. Then I have to start coming up with etymology ideas again. Hm… could be a problem…

Anyway! Back to words that are related to turn—or rather, descended from the Proto Indo European word for turn, tere-, which is actually to turn or to rub, because words.

The first word we’re looking at this week is contour, which we probably should have looked at when we did tour, but whatever, might as well do it now. It first showed up in the mid seventeenth century as a term in painting and sculpture, where it meant the outline of a figure. Although amusingly enough, in the fifteenth century, contour referred to a quilt or bedspread falling over the sides of a mattress, and it wasn’t until the mid eighteenth century that it referred to a contour on a map. Contour itself comes from the French word contour, which is from the Italian contornare, to border, which itself is from the Medieval Latin contornare (yeah, same spelling), to go around. It’s a mix of the prefix com-, probably just an intensive here, and tornare, to turn on a lathe. And that’s from tere-. So a contour is… just really turning something?

Next today, we’re looking at diatribe, which is in no way related to tribe so don’t bother asking. It showed up as an English word in the mid seventeenth century, although people were using the Latin version of the word from the late sixteenth century. It’s original meaning was a continued discourse or critical dissertation, so I’m guessing it was used in a college setting, which would be why it spent several decades only being used in Latin. It’s related to the French diatribe, which is just diatribe, and from the Latin diatriba, a lecture. Like many Latin words, it was taken from Greek, which meant things like employment or study, or discourse, or a literal wasting away of time. The dia- means away, and tribein, which means scrub, erode, or wear—you know, like you’d do by rubbing. And that’s why it’s from tere-. Rubbing wears something away. Because of that, we have diatribe.

Also not related to tribe is tribulation. It showed up in the thirteenth century from the Old French tribulacion and the Church Latin tribulationem, distress or affliction. Of course it would be a church word. The verb of it is tribulare, to oppress or afflict, which was taken from the classical Latin version of the word, which literally meant to press. It’s from the verb terere, to rub or erode or waste, and of course that’s just tere- with an extra -re on it.

Finally today: trauma. Yeah, I was surprised to hear that it’s related, too. It showed up in the late seventeenth century meaning a physical wound. It was taken from the Latin trauma, which was taken from the Greek trauma, a wound or defeat. That’s actually from the Proto Indo European word trau-, which is just another form of tere-.You might be wondering how rubbing and turning relates to wounds, well, it’s thought to be in a sense of twisting and piercing. Doing that to someone would definitely make a wound.


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

January Goals

About time we’ve gotten to this. The month is only almost half over. I can’t even remember what I was supposed to be doing last month.

December Goals
1. Get WIP-1 out to beta readers (any volunteers?) and actually work on the synopsis and stuff.
I did a little work on these, but definitely not enough. It was a stressful month.

2. Edit WIP-2. Man, I can’t believe this sounds like the easier goal.
This is another one that I did do SOME work on, but definitely not enough. Ugh.

3. Christmas! New Years! Please let it be a nice break!
If stress could be bottled and injected into someone’s blood stream, that’s what the end of the year was like for me. And the beginning of this one.

It was really a tough month, and so far, January has been equally as hard. And there’s still so much to go.

January Goals
1. Write the short story I have planned, and edit one of my old ones.

2. Figure out what to do about my query/synopsis/log line. I want to make them good, obviously. I just don't know how to do that.

3. Work on daily goal planning for my writing.

Is it possible for people to hibernate? Because I’d really like to do that about now. What about you? What are you up to this month?

Saturday, January 11, 2020


Now, I have a laptop where in order to use the volume controls and a bunch of other stuff, you hit the FN (function) key and the F1-12 keys. You can also turn on a FN lock so you can just hit the buttons and automatically do it without having to hit the FN key, which I do because I never use them for anything else.

Then this happened.
Seriously, it would not work at all. I don’t know how the FN lock was turned off or why it wouldn’t turn back on again. And this wasn’t a simple fix. I had to go into the BIOS and manually change something! I don’t even know how she could break it that badly!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Language of Confusion: One Good Turn, Part II

Now for a bunch more words that are somehow related to turn. It’s starting to get weird.

First of all, attorney. Really. It showed up in the early fourteenth century meaning “one appointed by another to act in his place”, which, yeah, makes sense. It comes from the Old French atorné, one appointed, from the verb aturner, to decree, assign, or appoint, and another verb, atorner, to assign. Weirdly enough, there’s actually a verb form of attorney in English: attorn, which Word is underlining, but is indeed a word meaning to turn over to another. That showed up a bit earlier than attorney, in the late thirteenth century, and is also from the Old French atorner. That word is a combination of the prefix ad-, to, and the classical Latin tornare, which if you’ll remember from last week means to turn, especially on a lathe, and comes from the Proto Indo European tere-, to turn or rub. So because you turn to an attorney, well… there you go.

Next, attrition showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning a breaking, before meaning abrasion or scraping in the middle of the sixteenth century. It’s from the classical Latin attritionem, which means attrition, but also to literally rub away something. It’s actually not that different from attorney in that the prefix is ad-, to, and the rest is from terere. It just went down a slightly different linguistic path.

Also related to turn is trite. It showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the classical Latin tritus, which means ground or beaten or worn. It’s from the verb terere, which meant something like to waste, wear down, or rub, so that’s where the rub part of the word comes from. There’s also contrite, which showed up in the fourteenth century (so yeah, it’s older than trite) from the Old French contrite and classical Latin contritus, which could mean contrite, or also literally crushed or ground to pieces. The prefix con- means with or together, and the rest comes from terere, making the word “to rub together.” When you’re contrite, you rub something together until your ground to pieces. I guess.

Finally today, detriment. It showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning incapacity, then by the mid fifteenth century meant any harm or injury. It comes from the Old French detriment and classical Latin detrimentum, which could mean damage or loss or rubbing off. The verb form is detere, to wear away, a mix of the prefix de-, away, and terere, to rub.

TL;DR: All these words abandoned their literal meaning a long time ago.


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Resolutions 2020

Sigh. Yeah, time to do it again. Something about this year is leaving me a lot less motivated than usual.

1. Get WIP-1 ready to be published.

2. Finish editing WIP-2 to get it ready for beta reading.

3. Finish editing the other WIP that kind of got pushed aside after I decided to write WIP-2.

4. Write the two short side stories I have planned, and edit everything.

5. Maybe write the sequel to the other WIP. I don’t know, I’ll have to see if I have the time.

6. Work on my health and hopefully get better.

7. Not back down when I know what’s right. Ever.

So it’s 2020. A big year. What are you hoping for it?

Saturday, January 4, 2020

New Year, New Problems

Trust me, you don’t want to know.
Remember when Y2K was a thing and people were all like, “We should have bunkers to hide away in!”? We should do that again. Except not because of Y2K. Just… just in general.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Language of Confusion: One Good Turn, Part I

Look, coming up with new words to do this to is hard. Sometimes I just have to pick the first word that I haven’t done already. And it’s the New Year! I definitely want a multipart series where I don’t have to think up a new idea for a while.

Turn came about sometime around the thirteenth century, with the verb coming from the Old English turnian (which was to turn, particularly on a lathe). The noun is actually from the Anglo French tourn, but the verb can be traced to the Old French torner, so they’re related, but further back than you might think. Both come from the classical Latin tornus, which means a lathe, and is from the Proto Indo European root tere-, to rub or turn. Lathes turn, so… yeah.

That tere- shows up in a lot of other words. First (and most obviously) is return, which showed up in the early fourteenth century, from the Old French retorner (so like torner with a re- on it; how familiar). The re- means back, meaning the word is turn back. How refreshingly straightforward.

There are a lot of other words that it’s related to, most of which you wouldn’t think could be related. The ones I think are the easiest to understand are tour and drill. Tour showed up in the fourteenth century meaning a turn or a shift on duty, coming from the Old French tor/tourn/tourn, a turn or a round, which is from the abovementioned torner. Because a tour was having a turn, we have tour. And detour, of course, which didn’t show up until the mid eighteenth century. It’s from the Modern French détour, fro the Old French destor, side road,  from the verb destorner, to turn aside. The des- is from dis-, which means aside here, and the -tourner means to turn. A detour is a turn (or tour) aside.

And finally today, drill. I mean, it makes sense, right? A drill turns! Drill showed up in the seventeenth century, and it’s earliest form was probably the name for the tool. It’s actually from the Dutch word drille, which means drills, from drillen, to drill. And that word is from tere-, to turn. Isn’t it nice when the explanations make sense? It happens so rarely.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English