Thursday, March 30, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Maximum Carnage, Part III

We’re back looking at words from the Proto Indo European root sker-, to cut. So far, the words have all had carn- or cur-/cor- in them, but now it’s time to look at words that also have an S in them, just like their progenitor.
First, score, which does look a lot like sker-. It showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning to score a point, but it showed up even earlier as another word for twenty—they definitely are related, I’m just not really sure how it went from twenty to just tallying (maybe they were tallying by twenties?). Both come from the Old English scoru, which is from the Old Norse skor, a word directly from the PIE.
Then there’s scar, which actually has two meanings, a mark on skin and a cliff face, and… the skin marking might not be from sker-. The skin mark showed up in the late fourteenth century, and while it might have been influence in some way by score, it doesn’t seem to actually be related to it. The other scar showed up later, in the seventeenth century (though it showed up earlier spelled scarre, just like the skin scar was). It’s from the Old Norse sker, a rocky path at the bottom of the sea, from to Proto Germanic sker-, which of course is from the PIE sker-. So a cut in the bottom of the sea is related, a cut in a mountain is related, but a healed cut in skin is not related.
Scrape actually makes a little more sense in this regard. It showed up in the early thirteenth century as scrapen and meant to erase with a knife, and in the fourteenth century to remove the outer layer of something with a tool. It’s thought to be from the Old Norse skrapa, to scrape or erase, from the Proto Germanic skrapojan, and Proto Indo European skerb-, which is from sker-. Scrap is very close in origin, having shown up in the late fourteenth century, from the Old Norse skrap—so missing the last vowel. And skrap is actually from skrapa, so it all ties together nicely.
Here’s one that might make a little less sense. Scrabble showed up in the mid sixteenth century, but back then it meant to scrawl or scribble, (at least the name of the game Scrabble makes more sense now) or scrape at with your hands, before meaning to struggle in the seventeenth century. It’s from the Dutch schrabbelen, another word from sker-. Also possibly related is scramble, which showed up in the late sixteenth century and is thought to actually be a variant of scrabble. When it showed up, it also meant to struggle along (not meaning to toss together until 1822) so it does make sense. I mean, kind of.
Online Etymology Dictionary
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

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

From The Spamfiles

It’s still March! More spam!!!

Message from UPS (copyright symbol) saying they’ve been trying to reach me, please respond, with a box emoji at the end.
Though the fact that it has a box emoji in the message kind of undercuts any legitimacy from the copyright symbol after UPS.

Message from some weird, random email address saying my Bank Of America EDD debit card has been locked.
It’s probably good that my BOA debit card been locked considering I don’t have one.

Message from Peoplewhiz, saying one thing all cheaters have in common, brace yourself.
The one thing all cheaters have in common is that they’ve cheated. Mystery solved. Not that I’d listen to anything from a place named Peoplewhiz.

Another message from Peoplewhiz! This time saying this 13 second trick (how oddly specific) catches any liar, with the word addicting in parentheses, and everything is bolded and italicized.
So… it’s addicting to catch liars? Is that the message this is trying to convey? Also if anything, it taking thirteen seconds seems longer than it should to figure out if someone is lying.

Twitter follower, DotaGuy5, with a picture of a bed as the profile pic and “let’s try all” in their bio, has once again started to follow me.
Just to inform you that the DotaGuy is still periodically popping up to follow me on twitter. He’ll disappear for a while, then a notification pops up that he’s back. I cold easily block him, but at this point I’m just trying to see how long he’ll keep doing it for. At this point he’s been doing this for at least a year and it’s getting impressive that he’s still trying.

Saturday, March 25, 2023


I know nothing about the owner of this car, but I wish I did.
Panel 1, a friend and I are walking along when we pass a car, Panel 2, I say, “Hey, look at the logo on that car. It looks… Familiar…” which has an emblem and something written on the side, Panel 3, close up of the door, which has the Umbrella Company logo from Resident Evil plus the words “Human Life Is Our Business”, Panel 4, I say, “Is that seriously the logo from the zombie-making Umbrella Company from Resident Evil?”, Friend goes, “Now I know how the pandemic started.”
For those unaware, that’s the logo from the evil, zombie-creating Umbrella Corporation from the Resident Evil video game series. I should’ve taken a picture!

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Maximum Carnage, Part II

We’re back at looking the Proto Indo European root sker-, to cut, and all the crazy words descended from it.
First, curt showed up in the mid fourteenth century (where it was actually spelled court), from the classical Latin curtus, short. You cut something short, you’re curt. Straight to the point on this one, isn’t it? Curtail is actually from the same place, though it showed up later, in the late fifteenth century. It actually has a slightly different history, coming from the Old French courtault, which is of course from curtus.
But that’s not nearly weird enough. Now, a currier—not a courier, which delivers things—is a person who dresses or dyes leather. It showed up in the mid fourteenth century from the Old French corier, from the classical Latin coriarius, leather worker, from corium, leather. Now why did I explain this obscure word you’ve probably never heard outside of a last name? It’s actually related to the word cuirass. That word showed up in the mid fifteenth century from the Latin phrase coriacea vestis, leather clothes, and that’s also from corium. Cuirasses, as in the armor, started out being made of leather, which is cut flesh, so now we have two words we hardly ever use these days.
And we can get weirder! The word crone, like an old lady, is from sker-. It showed up in the late fourteenth century, from the Anglo French carogne, which meant carrion or a carcass. So yeah. Not exactly a flattering term for an old woman. It’s from the Vulgar Latin caronia, which means carrion. Because they were insulting old women by calling them dead bodies, we have crone.
Finally today, there’s cortex—and all the words related to that, like cortical or corticoid. It showed up in the mid seventeenth century, meaning outer shell or husk in botany, not being used in relation to human anatomy, specifically the brain, until 1741. It’s from the classical Latin cortex, which means tree bark—the outer shell of the tree. Not really sure how the outer shell of something evolved from sker-, but it did.
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

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

From The Spamfiles

What day is today? Spam day! Your favorite! Or maybe it’s mine.

Message from Ann Johnson saying they’ve got a charity proposition for me.
No one would ever use a charity as part of a scheme to enrich themselves! Mostly because the charities do that themselves.

Message from Mr Charles Renata that says Hello friend, how are you today? Hope all is well with you and your family? And yes there’s a question mark after family.
My dear friend Mr Charles Renata (no period after Mr. obviously), always wondering about me and my family?

Message from Mrs. Dara, saying RE: May God bless you, and addressing me as beloved one
It just wouldn’t be spam day without a cancer widow trying to give me her money. All I have to do is send her a few thousand dollars for taxes!

Message from Carlagoti1 at saying RE: your USD 550,000, to whom it may concern, my email won.
Emails are always winning half a million dollars in contests they never entered. That’s just how the internet works.

A Tumblr user named Towell-aoeveline has followed me, she is a Capricorn, South (mushroom emoji) Carolina highschool (all one word) slut
There is not a single piece of this I don’t find disturbing. Especially the emojis.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Devil’s Corners

Rounded corners are an abomination.
Panel 1, I’m in front of my laptop looking mad and I say, “Great, the latest Windows update broke the fix I used to turn hideous rounded corners into sane, correct angled ones.” Panel 2, squinting, I say, “Looks like the only solution is to gouge out my eyes so I don’t have to see them.” Panel 3, I sigh and say, “No, that’s crazy. I can’t do that.” Panel 4, I’m getting up and leaving the room and I say, “Obviously the solution is to head down to Microsoft headquarters and start gouging out their eyes.”
Not as bad as when one of their updates literally broke my computer, but still an offense. Now where’s the melon baller?

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Maximum Carnage, Part I

Today I think is a good day to start looking at the words descended from the Proto Indo European root sker-, to cut, of which there are many, with increasing levels of WTF. You know, like how these things usually go.
Carnal showed up in the fifteenth century meaning physical, human, or mortal, and shortly after also being used to mean sexual. It comes from the Old French carnal and classical Latin carnalis, carnal, sensual, or of the flesh. It comes from carnis, which literally means “of the flesh”, and it’s believed that since it was related to caro, a cut of flesh, and it’s from sker-, which means to cut. So a word that meant a literal piece of meat now means sexual. That’s a good sign.
Carnage at least is not related to sex. I mean, I hope not. It’s a bad sign if it is. Anyway! It showed up in the seventeenth century from the Old Italian carnaggio, slaughter or murder, from the Medieval Latin carnaticum, which means slaughterhouse in classical Latin. It’s from carnem, flesh, from sker-, because you cut flesh.
Carnivorous showed up in the mid seventeenth century, while carnivore didn’t show up until 1839. Both words are from the classical Latin carnivorous, which just means, you know, carnivorous. The car- part is from sker-, while the vorous part is from vorare, to devour, from the PIE gwora-, food or devour.
Next is one you’re probably going to be skeptical about: carnival. It showed up in the mid sixteenth century meaning the time of merrymaking before Lent—so, like, Mardi Gras or Carnevale. It didn’t actually mean a carnival like a fair until 1926! It’s from the French carnaval and Italian carnevale, with the carn- from caro and thus sker-, and the rest from levare, to lift. No, I don’t know how “to lift flesh” got to mean a party before Lent, let alone a fair. I’m sure there was a lot of meat eating there, but still.
Carrion certainly makes more sense. It showed up in the early thirteenth century, making it the oldest word yet, and it even had the same meaning we use it as. It’s from the Anglo French carogne, from the Vulgar Latin caronia, which is from caro, and so from sker-. Strangely consistent for such an old word.
Finally today, incarnate, which showed up in the late fourteenth century. It’s from the Late Latin incarnatus, and the classical Latin verb incarnare, to incarnate… or make flesh. Another one that’s been fairly consistent. Kind of a boring note to end on, but nothing can really top carnival, the meat festival.
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
University of Texas at Arlington
Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Old English-English Dictionary
Dictionary of Medieval Latin
Encyclopaedia Britannica
University of Ottawa, Canada
Fordham University
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

From The Spamfiles

 Spam day!

Message from Mr Oliver Edde with a Business Proposal.
The business proposal is me giving him my bank account numbers.

Message from Mrs. Ameena Essa, asking how I’m doing and saying that she emailed me yesterday.
I’m just going to assume this is another cancer widow and move on.

Message from Provide Insurance saying welcome 3067, as low as $38 a month insurance coverage.
3067? How did you know my real name?

Message from CONFIRM, saying payout verification, check your account information, but for some reason there’s lines above all the letters.
Okay I really want to know how this one got all those lines up there, why they’re different lengths, and why a few have two lines. This is the kind of thing that’s really going to bug me.

Spam blog comment in another language, but with the English phrases Slot Pragmatic, Diamond Strike, and Mobile Friendly, and lots of links saying “pragmatic Diamond Strike” and “pragmatic joker jewels”. Yes, they all have pragmatic in them.
What’s with all the pragmatics? That seems like a weird phrase to use for what I assume is some kind of online slot machine. I really want to find this guy and as what makes it so pragmatic.

Saturday, March 11, 2023


I’ve been up there a hundred times. Did she think I forgot?
Panel 1, I’m with my mom, she says, “The pipes are frozen. Would you go up to the attic and make sure the warmer is plugged in?” “Sure.” Panel 2, I’m opening the attic, “Watch where you step. The floor isn’t finished and you could come right through the ceiling.” Panel 3, I stare at her, annoyed. Panel 4, I say, “I grew up here.”
Apparently the pipe warmer got unplugged at some point.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Snug Fits

It’s -Verse part… no, wait. I finally finished that series. I actually have to come up with something new!
Tight showed up in the fifteenth century, meaning dense or close at first, then becoming drawn or stretched in the late sixteenth century. The word comes from the Middle English thight—weirdly enough, it’s from the Old Norse þettr, which itself is related to the Old English suffix, -þiht. All of those words are from the Proto Germanic thinhta-, from the Proto Indo European root tenk-, to thicken or become firm.
Speaking of stretch, it showed up in the late twelfth century meaning a patch of land, not meaning stretching out something until sometime before the sixteenth century (the exact timing’s a little unclear). It comes from the Old English streccan, and before that the Proto Germanic strakjanan, but where that one comes from is unknown. One theory is it’s related to the word stark (which used to mean rigid or stiff, so I guess maybe), and another is that it’s from the same root as string which I think makes more sense. But you know. Words.
Snug showed up in the late sixteenth century, and b this word as weird as you might think. It originally meant compact or trim, then a state of comfort in the early seventeenth century, and “fit closely” by 1838, and snuggle showed up in the late seventeenth century, likely from the whole state of comfort thing. As for its origins, snug is thought to be Scandinavian in origin (but, you know, maybe not), and it might come from the Proto Indo European root kes-, to scratch. That actually has another descendant—xyster, a surgical instrument for scraping bone. I know it’s entirely possible, if not likely, that snug and xyster aren’t related, but WOW if they are.
I think I’ll end things here, short and sweet after the end of the multi-part slog. Turn in next week, for the next multi-parter!
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

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

March Goals

Well, February was somehow worse than I expected. I don’t know how it always manages to do that.
February Goals
1. Edit the web serial, as it could use a more comprehensive looking at.
Did not get to this, unfortunately. Did not have a lot of free time and had even less energy.
2. Work on some other projects to recharge my creativity. Not sure what, though.
HA HA HA HA HA HA no. I’m so tired.
3. Finish my other WIP.
So close. So very close. A couple of hundred words, I think.
As I said, it was a tough month. March probably isn’t going to be any better. Ugh…
March Goals
1. Actually edit the web serial this time.
2. Hopefully find some way to recharge. And maybe sleep!
3. Keep searching for a way to get rid of those m*****f*****g rounded window corners in everything I try to use on my computer. Don’t get Windows 11. Stick with 10.
Yes, that’s a goal. An important one for my own mental health and sanity.
What do you want to do this month?

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Please Use Tissue

I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m supposed to do it for three years and I’m no closer to a solution.
Panel 1, at grocery store bakery, Panel 2, close up of sign, which says “Please use tissue to open doors.” Panel 3, shot of box of tissues, BEHIND the glass doors, Panel 4, perplexed reaction.
It is a mystery for the ages. How do you use tissue to open the door… when the tissue is located behind the door???

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Verse, Part IX

Is this… the last one? Actually the last post looking at the words descended from the Proto Indo European wer-to turn or bend? It might be, but I can’t tell. It seems like I’ve been doing these posts all year.
First is inward. But not, like, any other word ending in -ward, which has a completely different origin. Which happens to be wer-, but a different wer-. Yes, words were stupid back then, too. Inward showed up as the Old English inweard, from the Proto Germanic inwarth, which is a mix of the Old English word inne, in, and the suffix -weard, meaning toward or more literally turned toward. It’s from the Proto Germanic werda-, from the Proto Indo European werto-, to turn or wind, which is from wer-. The other ward, though it also comes from an Old English weard, is apparently completely distinct from this -weard. The only other word ending in -ward that does this is, appropriately, outward. It’s from the Old English útweard, where the ut- means out. Anything else with -ward in it is from guard.
Next, well, it’s time to get weird. You all know what a rhombus is, right? Did you know it’s from wer-, too? It showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Late Latin rhombus. There was also the word rhomb, which showed up slightly later than rhombus and means the same thing, and is also from the same place, so I’m not sure why we have it. It’s from the Greek rhombos, which meant rhombus but could also mean a circular movement or spinning motion—or a flatfish. That’s thought to be from rhembesthai, to spin or whirl, from the Proto Indo European wrembh-, from werbh-, to turn or twist, which is from wer-. That was quite a journey, but I think I can see it. A rhombus is a kind of twisted parallelogram.
Rhapsody showed up in the mid sixteenth century meaning an epic poem, then adjusting to mean a work made up of miscellaneous or disconnected pieces, then an exalted expression of ideas in the seventeenth century, and finally a musical composition in the mid nineteenth century. It comes from the French rhapsodie, from the classical Latin rhapsodia, from the Greek rhapsodia, which all mean rhapsody, but in the epic poem sense. That word is from rhaptein, which actually means… sewing. It’s actually a mix of wer- and the word ode, and a rhapsody was a poem “sewn” together, and that’s why we have rhapsody.
How about prose? Yes, like what we write in fiction. It showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French prose and classical Latin prosa, prose. Prosa is from the verb prosus/prorsus, prosaic or straightforward, a mix of pro (forward) and vorsus, turned, from our old friend vertere, to turn or change. So prose is a verse word that dropped the ver- part.
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
Old English-English Dictionary
Orbis Latinus