No reduxes on these
ones. All brand new. Well, probably. I do random words sometimes and I’m definitely too lazy to double check.
There are some weird
words related to mer-, the Proto Indo European
root word that means to rub away or harm and is the origin for mortal and other
death related words. The words we’re looking at this week, however, aren’t
death related in the slightest. And maybe not related to mer-, but let’s look
at them anyway.
First is mortar—both
the short cannon, the bowl for grinding, and the building material. The
grinding bowl came first in the thirteenth century, shortly followed by
building material, and then the cannon in the sixteenth century because it was
apparently shaped like a bowl. All the mortars come from the Old Frenchmortier, from the classical Latinmortarium,
which just means mortar.
It’s not definite, but it’s thought that it descends from mer-, probably in the
rub away sense. Which, I mean, I guess makes sense.
morsel—really. It also showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French morsel, and that’s from the classical Latin morsum,
another word that’s supposedly descended from mer-. Of course it’s possible
they aren’t related, but considering how many words are related that don’t make
sense, it probably is.
With that sense, we
go to look at remorse. It showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French remors and Medieval Latinremorsum, which literally means a
biting back. It’s from the classical Latin remordere, to torment,
with re- meaning again and mordere
meaning to bite,
another word thought to be from mer-. So how did biting back come to mean
remorse? Apparently there’s a Medieval Latin phrase remorsus conscientiae,
remorse of conscience. If your conscience is biting back at you, you’re feeling
remorse. Obviously people wanted to shorten that, so it’s just remorse now.
Another word you’ll
never expect: nightmare. The word showed up in the fourteenth century meaning an evil female spirit (eyeroll) afflicting men in their sleep with
suffocation (major eyeroll). In the mid sixteenth century, it dropped the
female spirit part and just meant the sensation of suffocating, and it wasn’t
until 1829 that it meant a bad dream. A mare—not
the female horse, which is unrelated—was a word for a night goblin or incubus,
so basically the same thing as a nightmare. It comes from the Old Englishmare,
nightmare, and Proto Germanicmaron, goblin. Now, that word is from
the Proto Indo European mora-, incubus, which is thought to be from
mer-. Crazy, right?
Finally today, we’re
looking at smart, which I’m pretty sure I’ve etymologized before, but just have
to do it again because it’s so wild that it might be related to all these. Smart
showed up sometime around the thirteenth century.
Now, there’s a couple of definitions of smart, one meaning a sharp pain and one
meaning intelligent, and yes, they are related, as in addition to pain, smart
also originally meant something done with vigor or being quick and clever.
Smart comes from the Old English smeart, painful or smarting,
and that word comes from the Proto Indo European smerd-, pain. And
that’s yet another word that people think comes from mer-, but who knows at
this point? I suppose we have to blame all this on the fact that not a lot of
people recorded where they came up with words. Especially back before there was
That’s an awful lot
of exclamation points. They’re really excited about getting my fund to me. I’m
sure all I have to do is send them some money for the taxes.
Oh wow. Literally
burst out laughing at this one. Yes, that is absolutely what Montezuma II was
famed for, that and nothing else.
Frankly, I found it
annoying when the name in the email address doesn’t match the name—or
address—they say I have to contact to get my money. You seriously expect me
to compose a new email and copy paste that address in instead of just hitting
reply? What am I, your servant?
Wait, so she’s a
Sister, but she’s married??? Or did she become a nun after her husband died?
Either way, you should stop saying “I am married” because you’re definitely not
blog”? Now I know you’ve never even looked at my blog.
Mortify showed up in
the late fourteenth century as mortifien,
to kill or destroy the life of. Yeah. In the fifteenth century, it took on a
religious sense of “subdue the flesh by abstinence and discipline” (yikes), and
then by the seventeenth century it started to mean humiliate. Which… I can kind
of see that evolution. Anyway, it comes from the Late Latinmortificare, put to death, from the classical Latin mors,
and that’s from mer-. Mortify—embarrassed to death!
Morbid showed up in
the mid seventeenth century meaning
the nature of a disease, then referring to mental states in the mid nineteenth
century. It comes from the classical Latin morbus, disease,
and that is thought to be from mori, to die,
which is from mer-.
unsurprisingly old, having shown up in the fourteenth century. It comes from
the Old Englishmorþor, great sin or crime. That’s from the Proto Germanicmurthran, which is from mer-, meaning
murder came to English through its Germanic family instead of its Latin one.
Now we’re going to
look at a word that I didn’t do last time, probably out of laziness. Mortuary
showed up in the late fourteenth century,
but back then it meant a gift to a minister on the death of a parishioner. It
then meant a funeral service in the mid fifteenth century, and then by 1865 a
place where the dead were kept, because that was fancier than what they used to
call it: deadhouse. Mortuary comes to us from the Anglo French mortuarie,
Medieval Latinmortuarium, from the Late Latin mortuaries,
and classical Latin mortuus, dead,
and that’s from mori, which is from mer-. Seriously, they paid the minister?
I mean, I get it if it’s to pay for the funeral. They’re not just giving the
priest money because someone died, right?
Finally today, the
word I’m sure you’ll all be thrilled to see: mortgage. It showed up in the late fourteenth century, although back
then it was just morgage because we never pronounce the T anyway. It’s
from the Old French mortgage, which literally meant “dead pledge”. The
mort- is from mori, while the -gage is from wage.
Never has a word felt more accurate.
Let’s see how people
have tried to scam me this week…
Now, she doesn’t say
she’s a widow, but she does have cancer and wants to give me her money. As well
as her body to science “as an offering to humanity”. Yeah, sure, good idea.
My unread message
from Contact says they’re waiting for my answer about their party. That’s how
you know it’s not for me, because no one I know would ever think I’d want to go
to a party, crazy or otherwise.
If this message is
in your spam folder, it’s because of your ISP, not because this is an obvious
I love it when I get
messages for accounts I don’t have from email addresses that have
nothing to do with the place supposedly contacting me. Bonus points for saying
my account ends in all X’s. That’s super legit.
Another new follower.
I’ve got to say, the staring at the wall away from the camera is vaguely
creepy. Makes me think the Blair Witch is going to jump out at me or something.
This is why people
don’t ask me questions. You’d think my mom would have learned that by now. She’s
lucky I didn’t go back further. Comics have story lines more ridiculous and
complicated than soap operas.
What do you mean
none of this is necessary for watching the movie? I don’t see how that could
possibly be relevant.
Scum Scum showed up in the early fourteenth century,
coming to us from the Middle Dutchschume, foam. Middle Dutch! Now that’s a language we don’t see here
much. It’s another Germanic language, though, which is why schume comes from
the Proto Germanic skuma-, which might be from the Proto Indo European skeu-,
cover or conceal.
Grunge Now this one is really recent, having only shown up in 1965 as slang, the music/fashion use of the word not coming until 1989. It’s
definitely related to grungy and probably formed from it, though they came into
existence in the same year. Grungy is
thought to be a mashup of the words grubby and dingy, which makes sense, and
also makes me wonder how many other words with uncertain origins may just be
two other words smashed together.
Grubby Since we already mentioned grubby, we might as well look at it. Itshowed up meaning stunted in the seventeenth century, infested with grubs in
the eighteenth century, then dirty (specifically a dirty child) in 1845,
and it is indeed related to the word grub. Now grub, as in the insect, showed
up in the fifteenth century, but it was
also a verb that meant to dig in the ground (probably where the insect
definition came from), and that word showed up in the fourteenth century. It’s
from the Old Englishgrybban/grubbian, and before that the West Germanicgrubbjan, and earlier the Proto Indo European ghrebh-, to dig,
which happens to be the origin word for grave.
Dingy And to finish things
off, dingy. It showed up fairly recently, in 1736,
in the Kentish dialect of English.
It’s another word where the origin is uncertain, though it might be related to
dung. And it used to be a derogatory word for people of color in the mid
nineteenth century, because of course it was.
Oh wow, October
already. This year is going by way too fast. Wasn’t it March yesterday? It
feels like it was. I don’t even remember what I was supposed to be working on last
month, so you can assume I probably didn’t do it.
September Goals 1. Get WIP 1 beta
ready. I’m really trying to get this on in good shape. If anyone can take a
look at it, let me know. I didn’t
do much work on it and honestly, there’s a lot more I could do on it (I’m
terrible at descriptions). I suppose it’s beta ready because I don’t know what
I need to work on next.
2. Get drafts done
of the synopsis and query for WIP 1. Wait,
this was a goal? I actually did this, holy crap.
3. Get to the notes
on WIP 2 if I have the time. And
somehow I did this, too. I still have about a third of the book left to go
over, but it is getting done. It’s a miracle.
And now for this
October Goals 1. Beta reads for
WIP 1. Any volunteers?
2. Finish working on
my notes for WIP 2. This one’s actually possible.
3. Update my
etymology page. There are so many of them, I think it’s time to create a few
separate pages up in the header there. It might make formatting them easier,
That’s what I want
to do this month. Will any of this actually happen? Who knows? What do you want
to do this month?
Mandate showed up in the sixteenth century as a noun and then became a verb in the seventeenth century. It comes from the
French mandat (mandate)
and classical Latinmandatum, command,
so the definition has stayed pretty consistent. It’s from the verb mandare,
to commit or order, because the man- is from manus, hand, and dare, to give. To commit to something is to literally give it into
Command showed up in the fourteenth century as a verb and then a century later as a noun because words are random like
that. It’s from the Old Frenchcomander/comand, from the Vulgar Latincommandare and classical Latin commendare,
which actually meant to recommend or entrust.
So with mandare, to commit, and the prefix com- is thought to just be intensive
here, the word is to really
commit/order. Commend, which showed up in the mid fourteenth century is from the same place—it makes sense, how shocking—just with a little different
origin as it doesn’t seem to have come to us from French. I guess that explains
the difference of one letter? Of course recommend is from the same place, and
it showed up in English in the late fourteenth century,
so not long after commend. The re- is also believed to be intensive, meaning a
recommendation is something you’re really totally committed to.
Demand showed up in the late thirteenth century as a noun and a century later as a verb, although back then the words were
spelled demaunde/demaunden and they meant to question. They come from
the Old French demander and classical Latin demandare, to
entrust, with de- meaning completely. A
demand is to order completely? I guess that makes some sense. The evolution of
the word—the reason we demand stuff these days—is because in French it began to
be used in a legal sense, to demand as a right, and that followed into English.
To remand showed up in the mid fifteenth century spelled remaunden and meaning to send something back, and much like
demand, its definition changed because of legal influence, and it became to
command to go to a place by law. At least that evolution makes some sense. It
comes from the Anglo Frenchremaunder and Old French remander,
and before that the Late Latinremandare, to send back word or repeat a
command. The re- means back here, unlike
with recommend, and with mandare, the word is “to order back”. What a sensible
This one is just
kind of bizarre. First the whole “Staff Shirts & Photos” thing—what does
that even mean? Then there’s the fact that the message itself has one of those
click here to stop receiving these notifications thing, which is basically the
spammiest thing ever. Then there’s the rather mundane message asking how I am,
that I could almost mistake for being real if it didn’t have a few rogue
capital letters in there. Taken all together, it’s just weird.
Oh great, they’re
after Greg again. Apparently they have a role that’s perfect for him.
This message is in Spanish,
and I know just enough of that to be able to see what a scam this is. No one
says “I have the honor of presenting a product” that isn’t trying to get your
with all the commas? Are you taking a really long pause???
Why is this guy’s
profile pic a bedroom set??? I don’t know what “Dota” is, though it really
seems like a setup for a “deez nutz” joke.
Another redo! I’ll slowly get through all the ones not up to my
standards just in time to redo them all again. It’s the perfect plan to never
have to come up with ideas again!
Resume—the verb, not the noun that has the accents over the e’s, which came centuries later—showed
up in the fifteenth century as resumen,
where it meant reposses or take something back before meaning to continue
something. It comes from the Old Frenchresumer and classical Latinresumere,
which could mean resume or take up again. The re- means again, so
that’s where that comes from, and the rest is sumere, to take—to take again
is to resume. But sumere is actually a prefixed word itself, with the su-
coming from sub-, up from under and emere,
to take or buy.
So to resume is… to take up from under again?
Assume showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning to take upon oneself, then in the late sixteenth century the definition
we know it as. It comes from the classical Latin assumere/adsumere, to assume,
to take up, or to take also. The prefix as- is from ad-, to, toward, or
up to, so with the full definition of
sumere, this word is really “to take up and under to”. Okay, maybe to take upon
oneself makes sense, but I have no idea how we got the rest of assume from
Next, presume actually came a bit earlier than the other two, in the
late fourteenth century, and it
actually meant what it does today. It comes from the Old French presumer
and classical Latin praesumere, which could mean presume or rely on or
take for granted—again, pretty much what it means today. The prae- means before, so this word is something like “to take
up from under before”. Which does kind of make sense. You take for granted
before that you’re taking this thing. And you’re taking it up from under, I
Finally today, consume showed up in the late fourteenth century,
meaning “to destroy something by separating it into parts which cannot be
reunited”, so it’s what we use it for. It comes from the Old French consumer
and classical Latin consumere, to consume,
no big changes here. The con- is from com-, which here is thought to be
intensive since it generally means with or together.
So consume is just another way to say to take up from under. And somehow that
means consuming something. With it’s with/together prefix somehow meaning to
We’re looking at types of grains this week, an idea I’ve had for quite
a while now—since my look at vegetables. Time to finally see why we call them
the way we do. Although I’m sure there won’t be any satisfying answers.
Grain Grain showed up in the early fourteenth century,
meaning pretty much what it does today. It comes from the Old Frenchgrain/grein, from the classical Latingranum,
which just means grain,
so no big leaps here. The weirdest thing about this word is how the word
engrained is from the same place, but with a vastly different evolution. It
showed up in the late fourteenth century where it meant to dye a fabric red with cochineal. It comes from the French
phrase en graine, where graine is the seed of a plant. Now, you might be
asking why they’d use “seed of a plant” when cochineal means bugs. Well
apparently they thought it was actually berries. Because of that mistake,
engrained basically used to mean fast-dyed, and now it’s really used in a
Rice Rice showed up in the mid thirteenth century as ris. It comes from the Old French ris, from the Italian riso,
from the classical Latin oriza, from the Greek oryza, all of which just mean rice. The origin gets a bit murky there, but it’s
thought to be derived from some Indo source, leading all the way back to the
Rye Rye comes from the Old English ryge
(rye), which is then from the Proto
Germanic ruig. That one is derived somehow from the Proto Indo European wrughyo-,
which means rye and… I guess that does have an R and a Y in it, so why not?
Oat Oat comes from the Middle Englishote and Old English ate, amusingly enough. Of course before that, no one’s sure where it’s from. One
theory is it’s from the Old Norseeitill,
which means nodule, and I guess that could be it, though who knows? This is
etymology. It’s just as likely those aren’t related at all.
My unsubscribe request
is being handled by the Unsubscribe TEAM. That’s how you know it’s real.
Oh, I just love this
one. First of all, they spell attention wrong—twice—then they call me
sir. Is it any wonder that it’s their “second email” to me without any
getting audio messages by email now? I got to say, I like that system. Though I
have no idea what the “world’s first 100% automated phone-based funnel” is. Why
would you even need that? How does it WORK???
They saw me in their
dreams! They must be a real psychic!!!
Look at this run of
spam comments I’ve received, apparently asking me if I want to commit a crime.
Which I do. Just not that one.
Sure, which really should have an H in there, showed up in the early thirteenth century meaning safe or
secure before morphing to mean reliable, then confident, then resolute, and
finally in 1803 meaning “yes”. It comes from the Old Frenchseur/sur, safe, and that’s from the classical Latinsecurus,
which, yeah, is the origin word for secure. The reason for the sh- thing is
thought to be because it was originally pronounced syu-,
and I’m guessing sh- was easier to say and no one bothered to update the
Insure showed up in the mid fifteenth century as insuren, a variant of ensuren, which, yeah, is ensure.
Both words come from the Anglo Frenchenseurer, from the Old French ensurer,
where the prefix en-, which means make here,
and of course the rest is from sure. Insure and ensure are to make something
secure, which, yeah, totally accurate. What a sensible etymology.
Finally, assure. It showed up in the late fourteenth century,
coming from the Old French asseurer, and before that the Vulgar Latinassecurar. The prefix is from ad-,
which means to, and with the rest coming
from secure, the word is “to secure to”. How shockingly sensible. And then
there’s reassure, which showed up in the late sixteenth century.
No big mystery here. The re- means again,
plus assure—to assure again. Or parsing it out even further, to secure to
Is it time to do
this already? Didn’t I just have one of these posts? Whatever. It’s September.
Time to see what I didn’t get done last month, which was a lot, because I had
way too much going on.
August Goals 1. Finish my editing
notes on WIP 2 and hopefully get to work on them (we’ll see). I didn’t
get to this, unfortunately.
2. Get back to WIP 1
and again, work on the descriptions. I like the premise so much and think it’s
really unique, and I just want the writing to live up to what I’m going for. Or this.
For my birthday month, it was way too stressful!
3. BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY
BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY BIRTHDAY. At least
there weren’t any problems with this.
Now for this month…
September Goals 1. Get WIP 1 beta
ready. I’m really trying to get this on in good shape. If anyone can take a
look at it, let me know.
2. Get drafts done
of the synopsis and query for WIP 1.
3. Get to the notes
on WIP 2 if I have the time.
overshooting with that last one, but I’d like to keep it on my radar. It has
half as many notes as WIP 1 did, so either it’s written better or I’m way more
tolerant. What do you want to do this month? You ready for the change in
My birthday’s on
Thursday! So after this, I am taking a break from the internet for a week or
so. Of course there will still be posts for you to scroll past in your RSS
feed. Probably cat pictures. But until then, spam!
What an oddly
specific number. Not $10,000, not $8,000, not $8,500, but $8,588. I really want
to know why that number in particular. Also why they have a \ in between you’re
there. That’s just weird.
Okay, what even is
that font? It’s fancy and loopy and I must have it before the toxic mold in my
house apparently kills me.
They have a surprise
for me! I assume the surprise is adding spaces between the letters of words
while deleting them from spaces between words.
The WORLD OF PORN!
You know you want to click. The message in the body says, in French no less,
“tribute to the talents of the city”. So this is a high class world of porn.
I am instantly
suspicious of someone who spells “Madison” with two S’s.
back!!!!!! He’s so confident in his scam he can tell me it’s spam even in the
Another redo, since it’s easier than coming up with original ideas and
I’m totally sliding into vacation mode.
Tempt showed up in the thirteenth century, specifically meaning to
tempt someone to sin before coming into more general use. It comes from the Old Frenchtempter and classical Latintemptare,
That’s actually from another Latin word, tentare, which also just means
test; they just changed the N to MP for no discernable reason.
Attempt showed up in the late fourteenth century,
coming from the Old French atempter/atenter. Yes, more of that
N-MP switch. It’s from the classical Latin attemptare, to try,
a mix of ad-, to, and temptare, to
test—and since a try is a type of test, this word is kind of redundant. To try
to is definitely an attempt, though.
Contempt also showed up in the late fourteenth century,
originally referring only to disobedience of law or authority before being
adapted to a more general use in the next century. It comes from the Old French
contempt and classical Latin contemptus, which means contempt or
That’s from the verb contemnere, to despise,
a mix of the prefix com-, thought to be intensive here,
and temnere, scorn. But as you might notice, temnere is not
related to temptare. Contempt is not related to the other tempt words at all!
Let’s see what ripe,
juicy spam I have for you this week.
I don’t know, guys,
what do you think? Does fat make you fat? Or am I thinking of thin? Also, what is with the line through
the address? That’s just weird.
Big surprise, they
want me to link to them. Besides the fact that that name is ridiculous
(Tutoo???), the post they’re asking me to put the link on (which got cut off
here, sorry) is from nearly ten years ago. I’m thinking you’re not going
to get much traffic from that.
This might be the
first time I’ve seen random quotes used accurately, since as we all know, this
reminder is definitely not real.
These guys again.
Even if I owned a home, I’m not selling it for cash over the internet. Because
I’m not stupid.
Rosita is interested
in me! You might not be able to make it out, but her email address is
apparently firstname.lastname@example.org. Dimbo! That’s just hilarious.
Well, the name Acenett
M Vasquez is absolutely the winner of the week here. Great name or greatest