We’re still doing this! It’s week six! The Proto Indo Europeanplat-,
spread, and its root pele-,
flat or to spread, are the spawn point
for just so many words. Most of them you can kind of see, but some of
For another example of P to F: field. It comes from the Old English feld, which is just a field or farmland,
and before that the Proto Germanic felthan. That’s from the Proto Indo
European pele-tu, from pele-, so I guess the lesson here is that for
some reason Germanic languages change Ps to Fs. Related to field is the word
veldt. I mean, it makes sense since a veldt is basically a field, but in terms
of spelling none of the letters they have in common are even in the same
positions. Veldt showed up in 1785 and
is Afrikaans, which of course is from the Dutch veld, which means field.
I guess the Dutch switch Ps to Vs instead of Fs.
You want to know what else is related? Poland. Yes, the country.
It’s actually a mix of Pole (as in the people) and Land. Pole showed up in the
mid seventeenth century, actually from
the Polish polanie which means clearing or field dweller. That’s from pele-, meaning that the Polish people took their
name for themselves from living in flat fields. And no, no other version of
pole is related, nor is polish. But polka, the music, is related. Well,
probably. It showed up in 1844 and is thought to be from Polack, which is of course from Pole.
And that’s polka where we get polka-dot,
because people named the dots after the dance in around 1849.
And I can’t believe it, but we’re done!
Crap, now I have to think up something for next week.
Spam is so uncomplicated. You know it’s all a bunch of crap
I have no idea what this is supposed to be for since it
just seems to be a bunch of letters and numbers—even in the email address. And
of course the words that are actually words sound like someone ran it through Google
Translate a few times before sending it.
This is what? The fifth one? And there’s still one more left? I really
didn’t expect flat to be so prevalent. Of course, it’s really its root, the Proto Indo Europeanplat-,
to spread, and its root pele-,
flat or to spread, that are everywhere.
Strap in, it’s going to get weird.
First today, something that kind of makes sense. Palm showed up in the
fourteenth century from the Old Frenchpaume/palme, from the classical Latinpalma,
where it means the palm of your hand or, you know, a palm tree.
Palma comes from pele-, flat, which I can see because the palm of your hand is
flat. And the tree of course is named for the palm of a hand, because the way
the leaves stick out kind of looks like fingers sticking out from a palm.
Next, plaza, which kind of relates to last week when we looked at
place. It didn’t show up in English until the nineteenth century,
and it’s Spanish in origin, as the word plaza means square in Spanish, like a town square. The Spanish plaza comes from the Vulgar Latinplattia, from the classical Latin platea,
and that’s from plat-. Streets were flat and spread out, and now we have plaza.
And a bunch of other things.
Now we can finally get into the weird ones! Plasma—like the state of
matter, or part of blood—showed up in 1712, though back then it just meant form or shape. It started to mean the liquid
part of blood in 1845, and then came into use in physics in 1928, and now those
are pretty much the only ways we use the word. Plasma comes from the Late Latinplasma, from the Greek plasma, which actually means
creature or figure of all things. It’s from the verb plassein, to mold or build, which was
originally “to spread thin”, and it’s descended from pele-. So it went from
spreading out, to molding, to a figure, to a shape, to blood/ionized gas. This
is definitely a thinker.
And to keep the weird going: plaster. It showed up in the fourteenth century as plastering walls or using
a medicinal plaster. It comes from the Old Englishplaster,
which was something medicinal you put on your body (as opposed to in it),
coming from the Latin plastrum, plaster,
and if things weren’t weird enough for you, plastrum is actually shortened from
emplastrum, which also just means plaster.
It’s from the Greek emplastron, plaster,
a mix of en-, on, and plastos, molded, and that’s from plassein, which
we already know. So plaster is plaster because it’s molded on.
Finally, I hope you love this, because we’re looking at plastic.
Plastic! Really! It showed up in the mid seventeenth century meaning something capable of molding something else, and back then it was only
an adjective—the noun didn’t show up until 1905. It’s from the classical Latin plasticus,
from the Greek plastikos, which means something to mold. And it’s from plastos and plassein, so because
moldable things can be flattened out, we have plaster, plasma, and plastic.
Since we’re using emojis, the one I’d use for this would be 🙄.
First of all I’m apparently emailing this to myself. Second
of all… what the hell is going on with the letters? Why is every O and A in red
and P in blue??? What is special about those letters?????
Well, I’m in between the ages of 35-60, but I’m not a real
gentleman, so I guess I won’t be holding the door for HOTINFINIT. Tough luck.
Definitely feeling uneasy about the quotes being used here.
First ‘kills’, which just makes me think it’s going to kill the user, then “speechless”,
which makes me think it’s going to kill the wives, too.
…Stay away from me and my pants, Unknown Commenter.
Not too long ago, I went over the word plant, which is another descendent of plat-/pele-, either
because of leveling/flattening the earth to plant, or spreading plants across,
or something else like that. A plant is a form of vegetation, so why are
literally none of the words that end in plant related to that? Let’s find out.
Well, maybe. Probably not.
Implant showed up in the mid sixteenth century,
meaning to plant in—but not literally. It was “to plant in” ideas or emotions,
and then in 1886, it took on a more literal meaning: to plant in teeth. It
comes from the French implanter, to insert, a mix in- (from the Proto
Indo European en, meaning in) and planter,
which is of course where we get plant from. In other words, because implant
wasn’t literal implanting (at first), it has nothing to do with plants.
Transplant is even older, having shown up in the mid fifteenth century from the Late Latintransplantare, to plant in a different place. It’s a mix of the
across or beyond,
and plantare, to plant.
This one at least first meant transplanting actual plants, it’s just that in
the sixteenth century it started to refer to people (i.e. transplanting from one area to another), and then in the eighteenth
century it started to be used in medicine related to tissue, and no, I don’t want to think about what
they were transplanting in eighteenth century medicine.
Supplant showed up in the early fourteenth century,
meaning it’s older than anything except maybe plant. It comes from the Old Frenchsupplanter/sosplanter, to drive out or usurp, from the
classical Latin supplantare, just to supplant.
The sup- part comes from sub, under, and
the plant part actually refers to the sole of the foot here, one of the many
definitions of plant. So to supplant is to… get something up from under the
sole of the foot? And that morphed into usurping, which morphed into replacing
something? Can anyone wrap their brain around this one?
The next part of what is sure to be a ridiculously long series because
just SO MANY words come from the Proto Indo Europeanplat-,
spread, and its root pele-,
flat or to spread. This week: all
sorts of plains. And planes.
First, plain showed up in the fourteenth century,
coming from the Old Frenchplain, and before that the classical Latinplanus,
which is from pele-. In English, plain originally only meant flat, but it also
started to mean “free from obstruction”, like flatland is, and it came to mean simple
or unembellished. And that’s why we have plain. Also explain, which showed up
in the fifteenth century. It’s from
the classical Latin explanare, which means to comment on or, you know, explain, and is planus with ex-, out.
To explain is to flatten out. Um, metaphorically, I have to assume. And now I’m sure you’re expecting me to go over complain. Nope. It’s not related to plain or explain. Seriously.
As for the other plane, it showed up in the seventeenth century,
when it was decided they needed to differentiate the geometric sense of plane
(which then also got used as part of airplane). It’s from the classical Latin planum,
which is from planus. Plan showed up in the late seventeenth century,
first meaning a drawing, then a scheme, as it’s more commonly used today. It’s
from the French plan, plan obviously,
and that’s from planum. Because drawings were done on flat surfaces. Well, it makes more sense than explain does.
You know what looks like plane? Planet. You know what’s in all
likelihood not related to plane? Also planet. So no, we won’t be looking at it.
Instead, we’re looking at place. It’s the oldest word here, having shown up in
the thirteenth century, coming from the
Old French place and Medieval Latinplacea. That’s from the classical
Latin platea, which meant street or courtyard or an open space. It’s from the Greek plateia, a square or
which is from platys, wide or broad.
A word we covered extensively last week.
Ugh, this again. Let’s see what I didn’t do last month.
March Goals 1. Get some feedback on my new WIP. It’s a contemporary
mystery about the murder of a girl. It’s character driven and very different
from what I usually write, so if anyone anywhere would like to look at it and
give me some guidance, I’d really appreciate it. Hey, I did this! Of course, this was
less dependent on me than on who I could sucker into ask to help me with
2. Try to edit the WIP I keep avoiding. I might ignore it,
but I can’t let myself forget it. This would be funny if it wasn’t so
3. Keep working on my latest new project. This one should be
easy, I hope. I did finish the short story I was
working on. And immediately decided to work on a new book because of course I
Meh. I guess I did most of what I wanted. It just doesn’t
feel that way. And now…
April Goals 1. Keep searching for beta readers for my book. It’s almost
like people have lives outside of me or something.
2. Work on writing the new WIP I’ve decided I have to write
right now this very moment.
3. Update my etymology page, even though after a year I still
can’t get the damn formatting right. Seriously, I HATE new Blogger.
What are you up to this month? Anyone able to beta read? Do
you know how to get rid of the damn double space between lists of words? And DO
NOT say hold down shift when you hit enter, that doesn’t work when you
have thousands of words.