Talking about words related to
cutting this week since this time of year always makes me think of slasher
Cut Cut showed up in the fourteenth century as a verb, and a century later as
a noun and then an adjective. It’s either from the Old Englishcyttan (pronounced with a hard C), the
North Germanickut-, or the Old Frenchcouteau, all of
which mean cut or knife. I’d have to assume they’re all related in some way,
but this is etymology we’re talking about.
Slice Slice showed up in the
fourteenth century as a noun before
becoming a verb a century later. Both are from the Old French escliz,
splinter or slice, from the verb esclicier, which is from the Frankishslitan. You might notice that looks like slit with extra letters, and
yes, that’s where slit is from, though via a slightly different origin. Slit is
from the Old English slitan, to tear or rend,
from the Proto Germanicslitan,
which is what gave us the Frankish version of the word.
Gash Finally today, gash showed up in
the mid sixteenth century from the
Middle English garce, which in spite of what autocorrect wants is not a
misspelling of grace. It’s from the Old North Frenchgarser, and that’s thought to be
from the Vulgar Latincharassare and
Greek kharassein, scratch or carve.
Nothing really super surprising about this, except… that’s the origin word for
character. Seriously. The Latin
word character is from the Greek kharakter, which means character but is from
kharassein. I mean, WOW. What a leap.
More bugs, this time ones that crawl on the ground.
Bug How have I not done this before? Anyway, bug showed up in
the early seventeenth century, first
referring to bedbugs before it was insects in general. Its origins are kind of
murky, but it might be related to the Middle Englishbugge, which
is something frightening or a scarecrow in particular. It could also be related
to the Scottish bogill, a goblin or bugbear (the latter of which
actually has the original, something frightening definition of bug). As for all
the other definitions of bug that arose over the years, like a machine defect
(from 1889), to annoy someone (not until 1949!), and to secretly record (1946).
There’s also bug-eyed, like someone with large eyes, and you’d think that would
be related to insects, but it’s not. It’s thought to be from bulge instead!
Maggot Maggot, the larva stage of flies, is supposed to be a
corruption of the word magat, which is also thought to be from the
Middle English maddok, which could mean a maggot but also a worm—so
things that squirm. That’s from the Old Englishmaþa, which is
pronounced “matha” and means maggot or worm. It’s from the Proto Germanicmathon, and
that’s as far back as we can trace. So it hasn’t changed much except for the th
inexplicably turning into gg.
Worm Speaking of worm, it comes from the Old English wurm/wyrm, which meant a legless reptile like a snake. It comes from the Proto Germanic wurmiz, from the Proto Indo Europeanwrmi-, which means worm, which is
from wer-, to turn or bend. And
man, the shear number of words that’s related to! We’ll have to get into it
Caterpillar Another larva, this word showed up in the mid fifteenth century as catyrpel, and
the Y makes it look soo much cooler. It’s from the Old North Frenchcaterpilose, which literally means “shaggy
cat”, from the Late Latin catta pilosa, where catta is cat and the rest is from pilosus, hairy or shaggy. A caterpillar is… a hairy cat?!
Earwig Now this one is really interesting since it can’t just be
ear + wig… can it? It comes from the Old English earwicga, just earwig.
The first part is from eare, which is just ear,
while wicga was just another word for earwig or beetle. It’s origin is unknown, but it’s thought to be from wiggle,
which does make more sense than wig. I mean, they do wiggle a lot. Though hopefully not in your ear.
Because the loyalty program for Walmart is just so damn
exclusive and expensive.
One of the little known properties of granite is its
ability to increase sex drives. Why else would it be such a popular counter top
Ming Dong! XD I couldn’t come up with a better name in a
I can’t even eat the amount this makes me want to vomit.
This might not be spam, but instead is actually from Prime trying
to get me to sign up to watch football, and I can’t begin to describe how
little I want to do that. Basically, it’s good this went right into my spam
folder. I’m bored just thinking about it.
Should’ve known it wouldn’t
last. Blasted responsibilities and social obligations.
EDIT: Gah! I can’t believe I have to say this! Obviously I have the ability to say no! I get it and I’ve never had any problem with it! But something I WANT to do but does not provide me actual money (writing) does not outweigh helping the people I care about! Especially when they’ve helped me out in the past! I’m literally just trying to convey that I’ve been so busy I can’t get five minutes to write!
I’ve already done a post on the etymology of the names of
actually—but there are still a few I missed. Might as well look at them now!
Beetle Beetle the bug comes from the Old Englishbitela, which
comes from bite. Seriously. There’s
actually a different use of beetle which means overhang,
originating in Hamlet of all things, and it’s also from bite. But there’s yet a
third meaning a heavy hammering instrument, and that’s not related to the
others at all! Although it did possibly influence their spelling.
Hornet This one comes from the Old English hyrnet/hurnitu, which was a large flying insect in
general rather than a specific species. It’s thought to be from the Proto Germanichurz-nut-,
which is supposed to be imitative of buzzing. Somehow. But one thing you can be
sure of: it’s not related to horn at all.
Butterfly From the Old English buttorfleoge, this word is apparently really just a mix of butter and fly. Why? Possibly because butterflies were once thought to consume
butter or milk left uncovered, or (more likely, in my opinion) because several
species were colors similar to butter.
Moth Moths—which are apparently butterflies that come out at
night—comes from the Old English moþþe,
which is of course just moth.
It’s Germanic somehow, and several other Germanic languages have versions of
it, but it’s origin before that is unknown.
Cicada Finally today, the noisiest bugs that aren’t crickets. The
word cicada showed up in the late fourteenth century,
from the classical Latincicada,
which means cricket, and that makes sense since they’re almost as annoying as crickets.
It’s origin before that is a mystery, but it’s known that whatever it is,
cicada not a native Latin word. And… somehow, that’s all.
In the spirit of the season, I’m going to look at words
related to blood, which… are just wildly all over the place.
Blood comes from the
Old Englishblod, which means… blood.
Easy to follow so far. Before that, it’s from the Proto Germanicblodam, and
that’s thought to be from the Proto Indo Europeanbhlo-to-, to gush or spurt or
burst out. That’s from the root bhel-, to thrive or bloom,
which I’ve actually already looked at since it’s the source for flower and all
words related to that. As for its verb form, that’s from the Old English bledan, to bleed.
In Proto Germanic, it’s blodjan, so I guess that’s the reason it’s an
irregular verb as it’s also from bhlo-to-.
Now things are going to start to get weird. Foil is actually
related to blood. But not foil as in foiling someone’s plans, but foil like a
thin sheet of metal—like tin foil. And also foil like in someone’s opposite.
Really! Originally, gems were backed in metal foil to make them shine more,
which started to metaphorically mean “enhancing another by contrast”, and now
we have foil. A foil like a sword might also be related, which would make
somewhat sense, but it also might be from the foiling someone’s plans foil,
because words are so stupid. Anyway, it showed up in the early fourteenth century from the Old Frenchfoil/fueill/fueille,
which meant foliage (another word I’ve already looked at), a sheet of paper, or
a sheet of metal. It’s from the classical Latinfolia,
Because leaves are flat, we have tin foil and character foils.
And speaking of metal that’s somehow related to leaves,
there’s also blade. It comes from the
Old English blaed, a leaf or a blade.
It’s from the Proto Germanic bladaz, from the Proto Indo European bhle-to-
(an e instead of an o!), from bhel-. So originally, blade meant a leaf, before
it started meaning a shoulder blade and the cutting part of a knife, and then
sometime after that it started referring to a piece of grass. I already
mentioned words are stupid, didn’t I?
Finally today is somehow the most and least baffling of all.
Bless comes from the Old English bletsian/bledsian/bloedsian,
to bless or consecrate. It’s from the
Proto Germanic blodison and blotham, which means blood, because blood
was originally sprinkled on pagan altars. Remember that the next time
you say “Bless you!” when someone sneezes.
Somehow it’s October already, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t
get anything done I was supposed to. It’s not even winter yet and I already feel
like I’m hibernating.
September Goals 1. Keep writing my new project to what I think will end up
being the end of the first part. I didn’t get to the end, as it was
slower going than I hoped. I only have about a chapter and a half left, though,
so fingers crossed.
2. Figure out how to engage more readers. Ugh, I am so very,
very bad at this. Very minor progress. Almost invisible.
But I am working on it.
3. Actually get to the beta notes and edits. I fear I won’t,
but I won’t let myself forget about it. PBBBBBBBBBHHHHHHHHHHTTTTTT no.
Ugh, maybe I’d have more energy to do this stuff if I wasn’t
so tired all the time. Anyway, now for this month…
October Goals 1. Finish!!!!!
2. Seriously actually get to the beta notes this time, even
if I don’t know what I’m going to do with this project.
3. Crud, it’s time to update my etymology page, isn’t it?
This is always such an ordeal.
I remember the days when updating my etymology page was an
easy item to check off. I really wish we could go back to the previous version
of Blogger, but alas, it is out of reach.