Thursday, October 29, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Mortality

Time for another redo! I definitely didn’t do these words justice when I did them the first time in April of 2011. And what better way to finish the month off than by looking at mortal words?
Mortal showed up in the late fourteenth century, coming from the Old French mortel and classical Latin mortalis, which is just mortal. It’s from the noun mors, death, which can be traced to the Proto Indo European mr-o, to die. That’s from the root word mer-, rub away or harm, or just die. It shows up in a lot of words, some of which make sense, some of which are like, what, really???
Morbid of course is related, having shown up in the mid seventeenth century. It comes from the classical Latin morbidus, which means sick or diseased, from mori, to die, and that’s from mer-. Mortify showed up earlier, in the late fourteenth century as mortifien and meaning to kill or destroy the life of. It began to be used in a religious context in the early fifteenth century, where it referred to “subduing the flesh” by abstinence and discipline, and from there turned into humiliate sometime in the late seventeenth century. The word is from the Old French mortefiier, destroy or punish, from the Late Latin mortificare, to kill. And that one’s also from mors, which we already know the story of.
Mortgage is related, although that probably won’t surprise anyone who has one. It showed up in the late fourteenth century as morgage, from the Old French morgage, which is literally mort gaige, dead pledge. Mort is of course from mori, so that’s where we get that.
Now for everybody’s favorite fun time activity, murder. It showed up in the fourteenth century as either murder or morþer, from the Old English morðer, which is just murder. It’s from the Proto Germanic murthran, and that’s from mer-. So while everything else is Latin, murder is Germanic, but they still come from the same place.

So that’s the mortal words, new and improved. I should probably update my etymology list to show the better version.
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Let’s focus on spam. It’s… much less depressing than anything else.

Talk about your lazy spam. They’re not even using words anymore! Unless they’re trying to summon Cthulhu. Do you want to summon Cthulhu? Because this is how you get Cthulhus.

A bored nubile. That’s a perfectly normal way to refer to a totally real person.
There’s that weird emoji again. WHAT ARE YOU??? REVEAL TO ME YOUR SECRETS!

Yeah, because if there’s one person you should trust about that it’s someone named “poohie”.

The winky-kissy face emoji definitely clinches my sending my confirmation.

I can’t even. Okay, first of all, haven’t been to an “adult” website, second, my webcam is covered when not in use because I’m paranoid like that, third, it’s definitely been over 21 hours since I got this, and I’m guessing none of my followers here who Im in frequent contact with have received anything. I think I’m okay.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Another Spider Comic

These stories just keep happening! What am I supposed to do? NOT share them?
Seriously! Two hours!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Disasters

Disasters, AKA life constantly these days.
Disaster showed up sometime in the late sixteenth century, coming from the Middle French désastre, which is from the Italian disastro, which of course is just disaster. The prefix dis- means ill here, and astro literally means star. A disaster is an ill (as in bad luck) star.
Catastrophe actually showed up a bit earlier, in the early sixteenth century, although back then it meant “reversal of what is expected”, generally referring to the turning point in a drama. It actually didn’t mean a disaster until 1748! Catastrophe is from the classical Latin catastropha, a turning point or denouement, and is from the Greek katastrophe, which could mean a disaster as well as a sudden end. It’s from the verb katastrephein, to destroy, overturn, or trample on, a mix of kata, down, while strephein is turn, from the Proto Indo European strebh, wind or turn. A catastrophe is a down turn!
Speaking of cata, cataclysm showed up in the early-mid seventeenth century, where it meant a deluge or flood, particularly in relation to the bible. It’s from the French cataclysme, which is from the classical Latin cataclysmos, which again, means a deluge. That’s of course from the Greek kataklysmos, which also just means deluge. Like I said before, kata means down, and the rest is from klyzein, to deluge. A cataclysm is deluging down on you. Klyzein is also from the Proto Indo European kleue-, to wash or clean. Weirdly enough that’s also the origin word for cloaca.
Calamity showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning damage or a state of adversity, then meaning a great misfortune about a century later. It’s from the Old French calamite, from the classical Latin calamitatem, disaster. It’s origins before that aren’t really known. People used to think it’s related to the Latin calamus, straw, in the sense of damage to crops being bad, but now it’s mostly thought that’s not true. Thought B is that it’s related to incolumis, which means uninjured, but there’s no evidence of that either. Basically, no one knows where calamity is from and there are no good guesses.
Finally today, tragedy showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning a play/work with an unhappy ending, and a tragedy in general in the sixteenth century. It was from the Old French tragedie, from the classical Latin tragedia, tragedy, and that one’s also from Greek, the word tragodia, also just tragedy. And here’s where things get weird. See, in Greek, the word is a mix of two words, tragos and oide. Oide means ode or song, yeah, makes sense, and tragos means tragedy… or possibly goat. Yeah. One theory is that tragedy means “goat song”, because a “satyr play” (as in, satyrs are goats) was a happier play than a traditional tragedy. I mean, the goat connection might not even be real, but still. Wow.
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Encyclopaedia Britannica
University of Ottawa, Canada

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Ah, spam. At least it isn’t a cloud of darkness threatening to swallow the entire world.

The accent over the U makes it classy.

Anyone else thinking of owls? Because that’s all this reminds me of.

How vaguely threatening. The spammer knows what you did, and whatever it was, they have a five dollar kit to fix it before everyone finds out.

What is that emoji at the end there? It’s too ovoid to be bread and doesn’t look like any fruit. Okay, this is bugging me way too much. What are you???

He’s the Legal Administrative manager at a Vault! This must be serious.

They’re… bragging about an unsecured card. That really seems like the opposite of what you should be doing.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Dimension X

Not really a spooky comic. Unless you count the apparent existence of the Twilight Zone.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Delete, Part II

More words about getting rid of something! I wonder if they’ll be as crazy as last week.
Cancel showed up in the late fourteenth century, literally meaning to cross out something written with lines, generally to deface something. In other words, it meant strikethrough text. It comes from the Anglo French/Old French canceler, from the classical Latin cancellare, which literally meant to make like a lattice. Apparently it was Late Latin who started using it to mean cross out (with lines) something written. It’s related to the words cancelli, which means lines or lattice, which is from cancer, which means crossed bars or lattice and is not related to cancer at all, just get that out of your head. It’s actually rated to carcer, prison, the origin word of incarceration. So the answer is yes, these words are as crazy as last week’s.
Next, expunge showed up in the seventeenth century from the classical Latin expungere, which means to repulse or blot out a name on a list—so again, words being crossed out. It has a kind of weird reasoning to it that sounds way dirtier than it actually is, so bear with me for a minute. Expungere literally means “to prick out”. Yeah. Ex- means out, while pungere means to prick, from the Proto Indo European peuk-, to prick. Since crossing out a name on a list involved blotting (or, sigh, pricking) out the name with a pen nib, we have expunge. Which you will never be able to look at again without thinking of the word prick. You’re welcome.
Purge showed up in the fourteenth century meaning to clear of a charge or suspicion, and then later on to cleanse or purify. It’s from the Anglo French purger, Old French purgier, and classical Latin purgare, to cleanse or clear. It’s actually from the Latin word purus, pure, yes, the origin of pure, as well as the word agree, to set in motion, do, or perform, a word that can be traced to the Proto Indo European ag-. To purge something is to get rid of it, in an act of cleansing.
Finally, abolish showed up in the mid fifteenth century from the Old French noun aboliss, from the verb abolir, to abolish. It’s from the classical Latin abolere, to abolish, so we’re not seeing any major changes here. It’s a mix of ab, away from, and part of adolere, to magnify or grow. Abolish was made to be the opposite of adolere, so instead of growing something, it was getting rid of it.
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
Fordham University
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

From The Spamfiles

Okay, of all the things to capitalize, why each and only each?

Everything about this one feels unsettling in a way I can’t quantify. The name “lilwickdon”, the droplets emoji, the awkward phrasing of “married happily ever after”. It’s just off. Like looking at a completely realistic human doll. It might look human, but it’s not, and you can tell.

Not Jasmine but Jasmine!! She’s extra excited about her name!

Uh oh. I seem to have misplaced my wife. Maybe if I shake the food bag, she’ll come running. Or is that cats? I might be thinking of cats.

How do you shave like a million bucks? Money doesn’t shave. It’s not even associated with shaving. Seriously, who wrote this advertising copy? Because they aren’t good at their job.

That’s just like the United Nations to give out fund payments from a Nigerian bank. They do that, like, all the time.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Language Of Confusion: Deleted, Part I

There’s a surprising number of words that mean getting rid of something. Might as well look at them now!

Delete itself showed up in the early sixteenth century from the classical Latin deletus, which means extinction or annihilation. That’s the past participle of the verb delere, which is just to delete, which itself is from delinere, to smudge—to delete was to erase by smudging something. Delinere is a mix of the prefix de-, from or away, and linere, smear or wipe, so yeah. To wipe away is to erase. Somehow that’s from the Proto Indo European slei-, slime or sticky, seriously that’s where we get the word slime from. No, I don’t know how we get from slime to delete. That’s just how it is.
Now let’s look at erase. It showed up in the seventeenth century from the classical Latin erasus, from the verb eradere, erase or scrape off. The e- is from ex-, out [], and radere literally means to shave or scrape, so to erase is to scrape out. Some people think that radere is from the Proto Indo European root red-, to scrape, scratch, or gnaw, but, well, the fact that it would make sense is suspicious. Never trust making sense when it comes to etymology.
Case and point, eradicate. You’d think it would be related to erase, or at the very least rad-. Nope. Not one bit. Eradicate showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin eradicatus, from the verb eradicare, which means to destroy, uproot, or root out. The e- is from ex- again, though it means out here, and the rest is from radix, root. That one is from the Proto Indo European wrad-, branch or root and is actually the origin word for radish. So yes. Because you root something out, eradicate is more related to radish than erase.
Obliterate showed up in the seventeenth century from the classical Latin obliteratus, from obliterare, to obliterate, efface, or erase. No shocking revelations here. The ob- means against while the rest comes from litteraletter. Okay, may have spoken too soon about there not being any shocking revelations. Apparently there was a Latin phrase, literas scribere, which meant to write across letters—as in over them, striking them through. So because people had to strikethrough letters, we obliterate things.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

October Goals

It’s October! While I usually love this month, well, it is 2020. Although I suppose I am living each day in growing terror as the election nears. That’s not really a fun terror, though.
Ugh, let’s focus on something less awful.
September Goals
1. Work on word usage. I overuse an embarrassing amount of words and phrases.
There are still a bunch left, but at least I did something.
2. Get WIP beta reader ready.
It’s pretty there. Probably as close as it’s going to get, anyway.
3. Look back on the last ten years because holy crap, that’s how long I’ve been blogging.
If it was any year but 2020, this probably would have been a lot more interesting to do.
And that’s that. I did a lot of what I set out to do, but could have done better. It was kind of a tiring month to exist in. So what should I do this month…
October Goals
1. Find some beta readers for my latest WIP. I hope some of my friends are still available.
2. Update my blog’s etymology page. I really should have done this last month!
3. Work on something. Anything.
Here’s hoping October is successful and not a nightmare reaching its pinnacle. What do you want to do this month?

Saturday, October 3, 2020

A Massacre, That’s What

I really wish I was making this up.
I suppose a cat could be involved, but it’s still weird that I keep finding more and more cricket bodies in one particular room. The current record is eight in one day. Ugh.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Language of Confusion: Darkness

EDIT: I think I fixed whatever was causing that weird overlapping, but as I have no idea what caused it in the first place, I don’t know how to keep it from coming back. And this is why I hate New Blogger.

Darkness is kind of spooky, right?

Dark comes from the Middle English derk, from the Old English deorc, which is pretty much just dark, in both the same literal and figurative sense we use it. It was also pronounced as it was spelled, and frankly I’m disappointed that we don’t still pronounce it like “dee-ork” because that seems hilarious. Anyway, deorc is from the Proto Germanic derkaz, but no one knows where that one came from. Anyone else disappointed in having to say plain old dark when we could be saying derkaz?
Shadow comes from the Old English sceadwe/sceaduwe, which meant shadow and in spite of the ridiculous spelling was pronounced the same, too. Shade is obviously from the same place, though it came about on a different journey. It comes from the Middle English schade and Old English sceadu, which was pronounced “shadu”. Basically, shade used to have the u sound shadow does, but they dropped it for some reason. I guess that does make things less confusing. Anyway, sceadu (and thus sceadwe) are from the Proto Germanic skadwaz, from the Proto Indo European skot-wo- or skoto-, dark or shade. I guess that means that shade used to be pronounced with a k sound!
Next, gloom showed up in the late sixteenth century, and it’s actually Scottish in origin—I think they mean Scottish English rather than Gaelic here. It’s not actually known where it comes from. It might be an unknown Old English word, or Scandinavian, or from the Middle Low German glum, which meant turbid. You might be thinking “Oh, that sounds like glum, are they related?” And I’d be asking why you expect some kind of sensible answer. Glum showed up in the mid sixteenth century, so before gloom, and is from the Middle English gloumen, become dark. That word might be influenced—only influenced—by the Middle Low German glum, but it also might not be. Frigging words, man.
Finally today, dim comes from the Old English dimm, so dim with an extra m. It comes from the Proto Germanic dimbaz, and… nowhere else, apparently. Dim does not exist outside of Germanic languages. It just apparently showed up a thousand-ish years ago.
Man, I suppose it’s fitting that all the dark words are so obscure, but still. Weird.
Online Etymology Dictionary
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language
University of Texas at Arlington
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Old English-English Dictionary
Corpus of Historical Low German