Thursday, November 30, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Gifts, Part I

It’s that season, where you literally can’t escape Christmas without locking yourself in the house and not going on the internet. Seriously, every two hours I get a notification from Amazon telling me to buy something. Anyway, gifts and the words related to it.
 
Gift showed up in the mid thirteenth century, coming from somewhere in Scandinavia as Old Norse has gift/gipt and then there’s the Proto Germanic geftiz, from the Proto Indo European root ghabh-, to give or receive. So, gift has been surprisingly consistent over the years.
 
There are a bunch of words from ghabh-, and most of them are going to seem weird. First of all, able. But not the suffix -able at the end of words like vegetable, which is not related at all. In fact, the only other word ending in able that’s related is disable. Able showed up in the early fourteenth century, from the Old French able, from the classical Latin habilem/habilis, which basically means handy or able. It’s actually from the verb habere, to have (or the record, not where have is from), which is from ghabh-. So first it dropped the G, then it dropped the H because it was silent.
 
And there’s habit, which is less surprising now that you’ve seen habere. It showed up in the early thirteenth century, but first it only meant religious attire, changing to mean a customary practice in the early fourteenth century. It’s from the Old French habit/abit, a religious habit, from the classical Latin habitus, demeanor or condition. And that’s from habere, too. There’s also habitat, which is fairly recent having shown up in 1762. It’s actually taken right from Latin word for lives as it was used by scientists for the habitats of flora and fauna. Habitat is just another version of habere. Funnily enough, inhabit is much older, having shown up in the late fourteenth century. It’s from the Old French enhabiter, and classical Latin inhabitare, to inhabit. Habitare actually means to live, and the in is from en and means in. Inhabit, to live in.
 
Then we have inhibit. It showed up in the early fifteenth century from inhibition, which is from the Old French inibicion and classical Latin inhibitionem. That’s from the verb inhibere, to hold back or check, with the in the same as above and the habere meaning to have and from ghabh-. Exhibit (mid fifteenth century) and prohibit (early fifteenth century) are the same with the ex- meaning out (holding something out is showing off, in a sense), and pro- meaning away or forth. Prohibiting is… holding forth.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Definition

As related to me by my mom.
Panel 1, my mom is sitting on the couch reading a book, Panel 2, she pokes the book with the sound effect “Poke, poke”, Panel 3, she’s looking blank, Panel 4, she’s on the phone and says to me, “I tried to look up a word by tapping it on a physical book.” and I say back, “Huh. Sounds like it’s time to look at nursing homes.”
You can look up a word on Kindle by tapping on it. Not so much for a real book.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Buffed Out

A short one this week, as next week is Thanksgiving and I’m running out of steam.
 
The word buff first showed up in the late sixteenth century meaning soft leather made from buffalo hide, coming from the French buffle, their word for buffalo. Then in the late seventeenth century, it became an adjective, first meaning like buff leather, then in 1762 the color. Buff as in to polish showed up later than that, in 1849, definitely from the leather, either from the treatment of it or from using a buff cloth to polish metals.
 
The word buffer is also pretty recent, having shown up in 1835 from the verb buff. But not the polishing buff, which is related, just in a stupid way. See, this buff meant to make a dull sound when struck, and then in 1886 it evolved to mean something which absorbed a blow, hence buffer. It actually showed up several decades after buffer as in a polisher, which showed up in 1854. Anyway, absorption buffer comes from the Old French bufe, a blow or punch. And that word is from buffet. Uh, not that buffet.
 
You’re probably thinking a buffet like food, which showed up in 1718 meaning a sideboard and then a table of refreshments in 1792, a word from the French buffet. Its origin is unknown, but there’s no indication it’s related to the other buffet, which showed up in the thirteenth century and means a hit with a fist or bludgeon. That’s the word buff is from. It comes from the Old French bufe, a punch, which is just thought to be from the sound it makes when you punch.
 
And of course there’s buffalo—the word, not the city name. It showed up in the late sixteenth century, also from the French buffle, from the Portuguese bufaloMedieval Latin bufalus, which is from the classical Latin bubalus, all of which mean buffalo or a wild ox. And for some reason American bison are called buffalo, despite not being buffalo. Oh, and the city Buffalo is in all likelihood not related and is either from an indigenous word or from the French beau fleuve, beautiful river.
 
You wouldn’t expect one word to be so complicated.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
Dictionary of Medieval Latin

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Laundering, Part II

All these words come from the Proto Indo European leue-, to wash, just like laundry. You might be scratching your head at some of them, though.
 
First of all, deluge showed up in the late fourteenth century, meaning a great flood, and specifically the one in the Bible. It’s from the Old French deluge/deluve, which is from the classical Latin diluvium, flood—so Old French for some reason changed the V to a G. Anyway, diluvium is from the verb diluere, to dilute or wash away, the prefix dis-, away, and the rest from lavare, to wash, from leue-. A deluge washes things away.
 
Speaking of dilute, it shoed up in the mid sixteenth century meaning to weaken or remove the strength of, and not meaning to water down liquid until a full century later. It comes from the classical Latin dilutus, which means diluted, and is just the past participle of diluere. So yeah, dilute and deluge come from the same place.
 
And now for a word that either makes no sense or perfect sense: lavish. It showed up in the mid fifteenth century from the Old French lavasse/lavache, which meant a torrent of rain and is from lavare. So how did it get from wash to bestowing profusely? Well, to lavish is to wash in gifts. Apparently. Yeah, I think it’s weird, too.
 
Lotion showed up in the fifteenth century spelled loscion, a liquid preparation for skin. It’s from the Old French lotion, from the classical Latin lotionem, which means pretty much the same thing. It’s from the word lotus/lautus, washed up, which is from lavare. We don’t exactly wash our skin in lotion, but I get how it came from there.
 
Finally, the word ablution, which is not a word we hear a lot. It showed up in the late fourteenth century, meaning it’s older than most of these words, coming from the classical Latin ablutionem, which just means ablution. It’s from the verb abluere, another word for to wash, a mix of ab-, away, and luere is the same as what was part of diluere. Well, it makes more sense than lavish.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

November Goals

Well, it’s November somehow. I’m not pleased with this. Only two months left of the year! What the hell?
 
What did I plan to do last month?
 
October Goals
1. Keep editing the WIP and posting the chapters.
Well, this one was easy enough, and thankfully I did it.
 
2. Ugh, time to update the etymology page again.
UGH. This is such a chore, but I did it.
 
3. Get to work on the new WIP idea I have. Definitely excited about this.
I already made it to 32K, so about a third of the way through. Yay!
 
Successful, I guess. I still can’t believe it’s November, though. What should I do this month?
 
November Goals
1. Get to 60K on my WIP.
 
2. Continue editing and posting my other WIP.
 
3. Thanksgiving (dread)
 
The holiday season is upon us. Unfortunately. What do you want to do this month?

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Language Of Confusion: Laundering, Part I

This week, we’re looking at words related to washing things, many of which are actually related.
 
First, laundry showed up in the late fourteenth century, where it meant a place for washing, not meaning washing itself until the mid fifteenth century. Then there’s launder as a verb, which actually didn’t show up until the mid seventeenth century, though it did appear as a noun meaning one who washes in the mid fifteenth century. Launder comes from the Old French lavandier and Medieval Latin lavandaria, while laundry was the Middle English lavendrie and Old French lavanderie, and before that the Vulgar Latin lavandaria, and yes, the two different varieties of Latin had slightly different meanings even if the words are the same. Both are from the classical Latin lavare, to wash, from the Proto Indo European leue-, to wash. And hey, laundering money didn’t come into existence until 1961 and was popularized by Watergate. Just FYI.
 
Now quite a few words come from leue-. First is lather, which makes sense, as lathering is part of washing. It actually comes from the Old English leaรพr, which means foam or soap. Before that, it was the Proto Germanic lauthran, and Proto Indo European loutro-, which is also from leue-. What a sensible origin.
 
Then there’s lavatory, which I can see since lavatories (should) involve washing. It showed up in the late fourteenth century as a word for washbasin, then meant a washroom in the mid seventeenth century, and meaning a bathroom in 1864. It’s from the Late Latin lavatorium, from the classical Latin lavatorius, something for washing, which is from lavare. Lavatories—wash your hands! Plus there’s also latrine, which showed up in the fourteenth century. It’s thought to be from the classical Latin latrina/latrinum, toilet, and that’s actually a contraction of lavatrina, bathroom, and of course it’s from lavare. I can’t believe they got rid of the V in a contraction. I mean, the word is barely any shorter.
 
Finally today, lye, which used to be a word for soap. It comes from the Old English laeg/leag, lye, from the Proto Germanic laugo, which is from leue-. Because lye was used as soap, it is from the word to wash.
 
I know, this week seemed very reasonable. Don’t worry, there’s more, and I’m sure it’ll be weird then.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
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
Dictionary of Medieval Latin
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Orbis Latinus