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

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


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

April Goals

Ugh, this month… I saw a post online that describes it well. Someone was saying they lived in six decades, the 80s, the 90s, the 00s, the 10s, the 20s, and March. And, yeah, that feels 100% accurate. Things got pretty horrible throughout the entire world, so forgive me if I’m not super stoked for April.

March Goals
1. Get the query to 100% shape. No idea how I’ll do this, though.
It’s definitely not in 100% shape, but I did work on it a little. You know, before the dread of everyone I’ve ever known dying took over.

2. Work on substantial edits for my other WIP.
I did do this, getting pretty well through them. There’s still a bit left, but it’s actually approaching a state where I’d allow other people to look at it.

3. If I have time, get back to edits on the sequel to first WIP.
I did some of these, too, although I didn’t finish them, and I really feel like I should have. But, you know. Horrible anxiety from pandemic. Kind of makes it hard to focus.

I do wish I got more done, but ugh, this month. This awful, horrible month. I’m really not looking forward to April.

April Goals
1. Finish edits for the other WIP so it’s at the point where it’s ready for beta readers.

2. Finally finish working on the notes I made for WIP’s sequel.

3. Find a way not to be overwhelmed.

That’s the plan, anyway. Who knows if it’ll be successful. What are you doing this month? I hope you’re all  staying safe out there.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Take Your Seats, Part III

Okay, quick recap: all these words are related to the Proto Indo European sed-, to sit. That’s pretty much all you need to remember for this.

First today, preside, which also includes words that are related to it, like president, a word that fills me with an unyielding rage. Anyway. Preside showed up in the early seventeenth century, while president (there’s that rage again) was much earlier, showing up in the late fourteenth century. Preside is from the Modern French présider, while president is from the Old French president and classical Latin praesidentum, but both words can be traced to the Latin verb praesidere, to preside. See, it literally means to sit in front of. The prae- is from pre, before, and the rest is from sedere, to sit. To sit before. Now let’s move on to another word before I smash my computer screen.

Subside showed up in the late seventeenth century, although it originally meant to sink to the bottom. In the early eighteenth century, it started to mean liquid surfaces sinking to a lower level, and from there it meant to be reduced, which makes sense, kind of. As for its origin, it’s from the classical Latin subsidere, which meant to sink, fall down, or crouch, with the sub- prefix meaning under and the rest coming from sedere. So it’s to sit under something.

Now, I already did residence, so there’s not going to be much that’s new here when we look at reside. It showed up in the late fifteenth century, from the Middle French resider and classical Latin residere, to settle. Nothing new here. The re- means back or again, and sedere, to sit. To reside is to sit again. I mean, if you’re going to reside somewhere, you’ll be sitting there a lot.

Time for something fun: insidious. It showed up in the sixteenth century, coming from the Middle French insidieux and classical Latin insidiosus, insidious, crafty, or deceitful. It’s from insidiae, treachery, and its verb form is insidere, which means… sit on, roost, or occupy. Okay, that took a weird turn, but the in- prefix means in, so insidious is from a word that literally means to sit in. But figuratively, it had the connotation of lying in wait, so that’s why we have insidious.

Finally today, we’re looking at dissident. It showed up in the mid sixteenth century, coming straight from the classical Latin dissidentem, difference or variance. Its verb form is dissidere, to vary, differ, or disagree, because dis- means apart. The word is “to sit apart” which is what you do when you’re a dissident.