Thursday, April 18, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Armed, Part III

Still more words that are from the Proto Indo European ar-, to fit together. If you didn’t think last week was weird enough, here’s more for you.
 
First is order of all words. It showed up in the thirteenth century, but back then it referred specifically to a religious order. A century after that, it started to mean a rank in a community, then after another century a regular sequence, and another century after that it meant a command. It didn’t start to mean a food order until 1836, and a business order a year later. Amusingly enough, in order, as in organizing something, is older than most of these, having shown up in the fifteenth century, while out of order showed up a century after that. And we haven’t even looked at the etymology yet! It’s from the classical Latin ordinem, which meant order, but also a row or line or even the row of threads in a loom, and is from ordo, the noun form of order. That’s from the Proto Italic ordn-, which is from ar-, and I guess to fit together makes sense for things placed in rows, but what a journey.
 
Next, ordinary, which showed up in the fifteenth century from the Old French ordinarie. That’s from the classical Latin ordinarius, which, you know, just ordinary, and that’s also from ordo and ar-. I guess rows are ordinary?
 
Ordinance showed up in the fourteenth century, from the Old French ordenance and Medieval Latin ordinantia. That’s from the classical Latin ordinantem, they order, from the verb ordinare, to organize. And that’s from ordo, of course. Now, ordinance always had the meaning we use it as—decree—but in the fourteenth century, it also meant arrangement in rows, or war provisions or equipment. You know, like an ordnance. Ordnance is literally ordinance without the I, and it took on the meaning ordinance lost and then came to mean artillery.
 
Also related? Ornate. It showed up in the fifteenth century from the classical Latin ornatus, decorated. That’s from the verb ornare, to decorate, which is also from ordo. Ornate things are decorated, or “fitted out”. Ornament is actually older, having shown up in the thirteenth century from the Old French ornement and classical Latin ornamentum, which is just ornament and is from ornare.
 
That’s it for this week, but there are so many more ordo words to go.
 
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
Dictionary of Medieval Latin

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

From The Spamfiles

It’s spam day!

Spam message from an address of random letters at connect in, saying receive maximum peace of mind with a vanguard home warranty plan
Yeah, that email address just screams peace of mind.

Message from Explore Life saying Share the Benefits, become a member and get a second membership free, then AARP twenty five percent off
Soooo. Is this from the AARP or this Explore Life thing? I mean, obviously it’s not really from any of those. I’m just confused at what it’s pretending to be. How do people fall for these scams?

Message supposedly from UPS (with the R symbol after it), saying Delivery of your package, notification ID number, please respond, and there are tons of emojis everywhere
It’s all the emojis that really sell this as being legitimate. Along with the circle R after UPS. It’s totally fake without that.

Message from iCloud Storage, saying last alert, all your photos will be deleted, a bunch of random letters and numbers, and iCloud (r symbol) failed to attempt payment
Well, why don’t you get back to me when iCloud ® succeeds to attempt payment.

This Tumblr follower is called pushy-perver, the blog is untitled, and the picture is a beautiful woman
Pushy perver. I can’t even.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Armed, Part II

More words that are from the Proto Indo European ar-, to fit together. As usual, they will be weird.
 
It might surprise you that art is from the same place as arm, but it is. It showed up in the early thirteenth century meaning skill, moving on to mean skill in learning or science, then human workmanship, and finally in the seventeenth century creative arts. Yes, it really took that long! It comes from the Old French art and classical Latin artem, which could mean a work of art or a skill. That’s then from the PIE ar-ti, which is from ar-, to fit together. Art… fits together!
 
Obviously artist is from there, though with a slightly different origin. It showed up in the late sixteenth century from the French artiste and Italian artista, which is from the Latin ars, from ar-. There’s also artisan (though very specifically not artesian) which showed up in the mid sixteenth century meaning a craftsman, coming from the Italian artigiano, and Vulgar Latin artitianus. That’s from the classical Latin artitus, from the verb artire, also from ar.
 
Article is pretty old, having shown up in the thirteenth century, meaning the separate parts of anything written, then the grammar usage in the sixteenth century, and finally a composition in a journal in the eighteenth century. It comes from the Old French article, and classical Latin articulus, which meant article but also a joint, and that’s from ar. Then we have articulate, which showed up in the late sixteenth century meaning speech divided into parts, then clear and distinct. And that just happens to also be from articulus, too.
 
Artifact is fairly recent, having shown up in 1821 meaning something modified by human art. It’s from the Italian artefatto, which is a mix of the Latin arte, by art, and factum, done. An artifact is done by art, and then in 1885 people started to use it in archeology, and now we have that. Artificial stayed closer to the original meaning, and it’s older too, having shown up in the late fourteenth century. It’s from the Old French artificial, classical Latin artificialis, which can be traced to ars and ar-.

The takeaway here is that artifact and artificial are closely related, and artisan and artesian are absolutely NOT.
 
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
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

What Fresh Hell

Should have known they’d try to inflict AI on me.
Panel 1, I’m at my computer when I squint and say, “…What’s that red icon in the corner of the taskbar? That’s never been there before.” Panel 2, a close up of the computer screen with the Copilot icon, and I say, “I did not willingly download this “Copilot”, Microsoft and I do not want it. I’m deleting it immediately.” Panel 3, back to me, looking mad as I work on the computer, Panel 4, I say, “Oh, so you can’t delete it. Awesome.”
Getting rid of it was ridiculous. You have to go into the registry.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Armed, Part I

Yep, going right into another multiparter. So many words are connected! Usually in stupid ways!
 
The words we’re looking at this time are all descended from the Proto Indo European ar-, to fit together. Some of these might make sense, but I assure you, most will leave you scratching your head. The first we’re looking at is actually arm, which I believe I’ve gone over before years ago, but am too lazy to check. There are two versions, the limb as well as a weapon, and both are ultimately from the same place. Your limb comes from the Middle English arm, Old English armProto Germanic armaz, and finally ar-. The weapon has a slightly different origin, being from the Old French armes and its verb form armer, which are from the classical Latin armare, to arm, which is also from ar-. In other words, arm started out as the same word, traveled through two separate languages, and came back together in English.
 
Many other arm- words are also from the same place. Army showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French armée, classical Latin armata, armed, which of course is from armare. Fun fact, armata is also the origin word for armada, which came to us from Spanish. Then there’s armor, which also showed up in the fourteenth century. It’s from the Old French armeure and classical Latin armatura, from arma, weapons, which is of course from armare.
 
Armistice has a fairly similar origin. It showed up much more recently, in the early eighteenth century from the French armistice, which was a mix of the Latin arma and the back half of solstice. Armament showed up a bit earlier, in the mid seventeenth century, from the classical Latin armamentum, which means armor or implement, and yes, is from armare.
 
And it wouldn’t be etymology if we didn’t look at some words that are just weird. Armoire showed up in the later sixteenth century from the French armoire, Old French armarie, and classical Latin armarium, a cabinet or cupboard, which is from arma. Because an armoire could be used to hold tools—or implements—and those tools can be weapons. But there’s one more word we’re going to look at, one that does make sense when you think about it: armadillo. It showed up in the late sixteenth century from the Spanish armadillo, which is from the word armado, armed, and that’s from amare, too. Because an armadillo is armed with a shell, we call it that.
 
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
Old English-English Dictionary

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

April Goals

Okay, now it’s April??? The year is a quarter done?????? That’s just wrong.
 
March Goals
1. Finish my editing for the new book. I think I’m down to eight hundred notes left. Eep.
I should be done by the time this posts. Fingers crossed.
 
2. Get the last chapters of the web serial ready to post.
Also very close to being done. Just the epilogue left now.
 
3. Work on something fun that isn’t editing. I definitely need it.
Wouldn’t you know, this is the one I didn’t have time to do.
 
Would have been nice to have some free time, but those notes were eternal. I added something like six thousand words of description, so yay?
 
April Goals
1. Actually take some time to rest and creatively recharge.
 
2. Update the etymology page. Ugh.
 
3. Figure out what I want to work on next. Something old? Something new?
 
What do you want to do this month?

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Acting!, Part VI

And now, for the final part of our look at the Proto Indo European root ag-, to drive, draw out, or move [https://www.etymonline.com/word/*ag-]. Of course I saved the weirdest for last.
 
First, strategy, which is fairly new for a word, not having shown up until 1810, just three years after strategic, though stratagem showed up back in the late fifteenth century. The words are direct translations of the French stratégie and stratégique, which is from the Greek strategia and strategikos, same translations, from the word strategein, general. That word is actually a mix of stratos, army, and agos, leader, and agos is from agein, to lead, which is from ag-. The leader of an army has to use strategy, so that’s why we have strategy.
 
But that’s not weird enough. Purge showed up in the fourteenth century meaning clear of charge or suspicion, then to cleanse a person or soul of defilement. It comes from the Anglo French purger, Old French purgier, and classical Latin purgare, to clean. That’s a mix of the Old Latin purus, pure and our old friend agere, to act. To purge is to act to get something pure.
 
We can still go weirder. Cache showed up at the end of the eighteenth century meaning a hiding place, then anything stored in a hiding place a few decades later. It was actually slang from French Canadian trappers, from the French cacher, to hide, which is from the Vulgar Latin coacticare, to store up or collect. That’s from the classical Latin verb coactare, to constrain, which is related to cogere, to force together, which we talked about weeks ago as being the origin of cogent. The co- means together and the rest is agere, so it’s to force together. And cache is related to cogent.
 
Somehow that’s not the only word related to cogent. Squat showed up in the mid fourteenth century meaning to crush or flatten (despite not being related to squash), and then for some reason it also started to mean the posture of someone hunkering down, and then in the nineteenth century, someone squatting on land that isn’t theirs. It’s from the Old French esquatir/escatir, with the es- from ex-, out, and quatir, from the Vulgar Latin coactire, to be forced, which is also from cogere. To squat is to force out. Despite not meaning force or out now.
 
And last but not least: examine. Examine! It showed up in the fourteenth century meaning to test someone, then a little later also meant to scrutinize. It’s from the Old French examiner, from the classical Latin examinare, to examine, or, more literally, to weigh. That’s thought to be from exigere, to demand, the origin word for exact, as well as essay and assay, with the ex- meaning out and the rest meaning agere (so it’s also rather close to squat!). Examine is… to act out???
 
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
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Fordham University
BrightHub

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Windy Day

We’ve had some wind lately.
Panel 1, I’m in my house looking out the window, and something appears on the far right, and I say, “Boy, what a windy day.” Panel 2, a canopy rolls by, blown by the wind, Panel 3, the canopy is still rolling by, leaving the scene, Panel 4, I’m on the phone as the canopy rolls out, and I say, “Hey, I think the canopy in your front yard is missing.”
It was supposed to be staked to the ground, but apparently the wind was stronger than the earth.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Acting!, Part V

Even more words from the Proto Indo European root ag-, to drive, draw out, or move. You ever noticed how that word sounds like you’re hawking something up from the back of your throat?
 
Anyway, the first word we’re looking at today is litigate—really! It showed up in the early seventeenth century from the classical Latin litigates, quarreled. That’s from the verb litigare, to argue, which is actually from the phrase litem agere, to sue or bring suit, with litem literally meaning suit and agere, as we’ve discussed in previous weeks, meaning to act. To litigate is to act on a suit.
 
And then there’s mitigate. It showed up in the early fifteenth century, from the classical Latin mitigates, just mitigated, from the verb mitigare, also just to mitigate. So yeah, it’s pretty much the same as litigate. It’s just that the front part is from mitis, gentle, meaning mitigate is to act gentle. Which I suppose can mitigate things.
 
Next, coagulate, because things weren’t weird enough. It showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin coagulatus, coagulated. That’s from the verb coagulare, to coagulate, which is from cogere, to force, the origin word of cogent, as we learned just last week. That means that yes, coagulate is from the word cogent. No idea how it got there, and that’s one explanation I’d really like.
 
Fumigate is also related, having shown up in the sixteenth century, which is two centuries after fumigation. That word is from the classical Latin fumigationem, smoking, from the verb fumigare, to smoke. That’s a mix of fumus, smoke, and of course agere. Fumigate is to smoke act? Act smoke? An act of smoking? That seems to make the most sense.
 
There’s one more word we’re going to look at today: castigate. It showed up in the seventeenth century, though much like the above word, castigation showed up much earlier, in the late fourteenth century. It’s from the Latin castigationem, punishment, from the verb castigare, to punish. The first part of the word comes from castus, chaste or pure (the origin word of caste, unsurprisingly), and the rest of course is agere, to act. To castigate is to act with chasteness, to punish.
 
I wonder if we can top these ones next week.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European language

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

From The Spamfiles

It’s spam day again!

Two spam messages from FB, saying FB: Someone tried to log into your account, user ID:, and then they have two different nine digit numbers
What’s the logic here? “If she doesn’t believe it’s a Facebook ID at this number, she’ll believe it at this one!”?

Message from Abaid Saleem, saying Content For Approval, Hi, I’m [Mr. Abaid], a passionate writer and digital marketer specializing in guest…
I like how his name is in brackets there, so it looks even more like its mass produced with different names in that place.

Two messages from Norton, saying Final Warning: Reactivate your subscription to avoid service interruption! and then two different four digit numbers


So it’s basically the Facebook scam with a fresh coat of paint. Wow, these are formulaic.

Spam message from me, saying Confirmation, iPhone 15 Pro, then it says “You’ve been selected for an iPhone 15!”
So I won a contest that was run by myself? Huh, I don’t remember doing that…
 
A new Tumblr follower, with a profile pic of an attractive woman having her hair straightened, with the name attractive-co
They just put attractive in the blog name now. They’re not even trying!

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Acting!, Part IV

Continuing on our journey of words descended from the Proto Indo European root ag-, to drive, draw out, or move. These ones have a G in them, but not ag-.
 
First, we just did navigate, so I’m not going to go into all the details again, but it showed up in the late sixteenth century, about fifty years after navigation. The navi- is from nau-, the Proto Indo European word for boat, and the rest is from ag-, to drive out or move. To navigate is to drive a boat.
 
Next, for something completely different, is prodigy, which showed up in the mid fifteenth century meaning a portent, not meaning a person until the seventeenth century. It’s from the Old French prodige and classical Latin prodigium, prodigy or portent. The pro- means forth or before, and the -igium is thought to be from agere, to act. “To act before” makes sense for a portent, but it’s a little more confusing when in reference to a person.
 
And there’s ambiguity, which showed up in the fifteenth century, while ambiguous showed up about a century later. Both are from the Old French ambiguite and classical Latin ambiguitatem, which is just ambiguity, from the verb ambigere, to surround. Ambi- is from ambhi-, around, and the rest is from agere, meaning ambiguous is to act around. Okay, this one’s totally lost on me.
 
If you want a word that doesn’t even have an A in it, there’s cogent, which showed up in the mid seventeenth century from the French cogent. That’s from the classical Latin cogentem, compelling, from the verb cogere, to force or literally to drive together. See, the com- means together, and the rest is from agere, which also means to drive. Driving something together makes it cogent. Somehow.
 
Finally today, a very old word: synagogue. It showed up in English in the late twelfth century, from the Old French sinagoge, Late Latin synagogal, and Greek synagoge. The syn- is a prefix that actually means together, and the rest is from agein, to put in motion, from ag-. A synagogue is to drive together, as in an assembly. It’s also not the Hebrew word for synagogue, just the Greek loan-translation of the actual word used. And now it’s the English word for a Jewish house of assembly.
 
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
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Helper

Bluey just appears when there’s a chance to be pesty.
Panel 1, I’m carrying laundry basket into the bedroom, panel 2, I’m bending down to take out the sheets in the laundry basket, Panel 3, I’m draping the sheet over the empty bed, Panel 4, a cat-shaped lump says “Mew?”, and I say, “Okay, where did you even come from?”
She zooms in from the other side of the house just to get in the way.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Acting!, Part III

Back to the continuing series of words descended from the Proto Indo European root ag-, to drive, draw out, or move. This week… well, they all have A in them, but it’s going to get weird.
 
First, ambassador. Yes, really. It showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French embassator/ambassateor, from the classical Latin ambactus, a vassal. In a shocking twist, that word’s actually from the Celtic ambiactos, a messenger or servant, which is from the Proto Indo European ambhi-, around, and ag-. An ambassador is to move around. I guess the amba- is the around part, so does that mean the ass- is actually from ag-???
 
Similarly, there’s embassy. It showed up in the late sixteenth century actually meaning the position of an ambassador (remember, they also used to spell that with an E), not meaning the place of an ambassador until the mid eighteenth century. It has pretty much the same origin, just from the French embassee, and ultimately the PIE ambi-ag-to, which like with ambassador, is ambhi- + ag-. So yeah, the ass- is the ag-.
 
Speaking of ass—I mean, kind of—there’s assay, which showed up in the fourteenth century as a verb that meant to try and then a noun that meant test of quality. The words come from the Anglo French assai and Late Latin exagium, a weighing. No, I don’t get it. Maybe it will make more sense when we look at its cousin, essay. Yes, that essay. It showed up in the sixteenth century as a noun meaning trial or attempt, and a century earlier as a verb meaning to test. It’s from the French word essai, which means an essay or a test, and it’s also from exagium. That’s from the classical Latin verb exigere, to demand, test, or drive out, with the ex- meaning out [https://www.etymonline.com/word/ex-] and the rest from agere, which we talked about last week and the week before as meaning to act. An essay is… to act out. Why did it come to mean writing? Because much like assaying involves unpolished materials, an essay is supposed to be unpolished writing. Which means all those revisions to essays they made me do in high school were incorrect for the format!
 
Can we make it any weirder? I think so. Axiom showed up in the late fifteenth century, from the French axiome, and classical Latin axioma. That was actually taken from the Greek axioma, which could mean an office, authority, or just an axiom. That’s from axios, worthy, from the Proto Indo European ag-ty-o-, weighty, and that ag- of course is to drive. So it went from weighty, to worthy, to authority, to an axiom. Sure.
 
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
Fordham University
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

March Goals

Okay, somehow it’s March? Already? How did this happen??? That’s just wrong…
 
February Goals
1. Finish my notes for the latest WIP. Most of them so far are “word it better” and “actually describe this”.
Hey, I finished. Twelve hundred notes. I need a drink.
 
2. Start working on my editing notes. We’re at twelve hundred. Hence why I said start.
I was able to start, though my progress was hindered by getting rather sick earlier in the month. Babies are cute, but such germ-spreaders.
 
3. Keep editing my web serial. Only about nine chapters left in part two…
At least this was easy enough. Five chapters before the end!
 
And that was last month. Now for this month…
 
March Goals
1. Finish my editing for the new book. I think I’m down to eight hundred notes left. Eep.
 
2. Get the last chapters of the web serial ready to post.
 
3. Work on something fun that isn’t editing. I definitely need it.
 
It’s March, and spring will be here in a few weeks. What do you want to accomplish?

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Acting!, Part II

Back to looking at words related to act, which are all descended from the Proto Indo European root ag-, to drive, draw out, or move. This week, all the words start with ag-, too.
 
First, agent showed up in the late fifteenth century, initially meaning one who acts, then a natural force that produces something in the mid sixteenth century, and a deputy or representative at the end of the sixteenth century (it didn’t mean a secret agent until 1916!). Agency showed up in the mid sixteenth century, where it meant an active operation, then a mode of producing effect, and then way later in 1861 it meant a place where business is done. Both words are from the classical Latin agentem, from the verb agere, which we talked about last week as being the origin word for act. It kind of seems like agent replaced what actor used to be. And then it came to mean spy. There’s also agenda, which showed up in the mid seventeenth century, which is directly taken from a Latin word. And it also is from agere, which is from ag-.
 
Next is less obvious. Agility showed up in the early fifteenth century, a little before agile. It’s from the Old French agilité, from the classical Latin agilitatem, which is just agility, which is from agilis (agile), and that’s from agere. It does make sense that the word for movement would also give us the word for nimble and quick.
 
Slightly less sensible is agitate, which showed up in the mid sixteenth century, slightly after agitation. Both are from the classical Latin agitare, to drive (forward), which is from agere, and since ag- does mean to drive, I guess I can see it. To drive, to put in motion, to agitate.
 
How about agony? It showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French agonie/agoine, and Late Latin agonia. That’s from the Greek ag­­onia, which means agony or anguish, from agon, to struggle, to put in motion, which is from ag-. Kind of a journey, but I guess it makes sense.
 
And related to that is antagonist, which showed up in the late sixteenth century, a few decades after antagonize. It’s from the French antagoniste and Late Latin antagonista, which is from the Greek antagonistes, competitors. That’s from antagonizesthai, to compete, where the anti means against and the rest is from agon. To antagonize is to struggle against. And yeah, protagonist is from the same place. The only difference is the prefix is from proto, which is from the Proto Indo European root per-, which means forward. A protagonist is driving the agony forward.
 
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
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Only Reason

My mom didn’t ask, but she really doesn’t need to.
Panel 1, I’m on the phone with my mom and she says, “I signed us up to give blood on Monday!” Panel 2, I say, “Then they’re giving away Girl Scout Cookies again?” and she responds, “Of course. Why else would I do it?”

It was quite crowded. Everyone really wants those cookies.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Language Of Confusion: Acting!, Part I

This will be yet another simple word with a far reaching etymology. Act showed up in the late fourteenth century as a noun and a century later as a verb, and back then it was just a synonym for to do, not meaning to perform until the sixteenth century. It comes from the classical Latin actus, act, from the verb agere, to act, which is from the Proto Indo European root ag-, to drive, draw out, or move. And that of course is the root of so many other things. But today we’ll just look at the act words.
 
Action for example showed up in the mid fourteenth century spelled accioum. It’s from the Anglo French accioun, Old French accion, which is from the classical Latin actionem, so yes, French changed the spelling, and eventually (in the fifteenth century) English changed it back. Anyway, actionem is the noun version of agere, so no big surprises here. Active is very similar, from the Old French actif and Latin activus. Actor was, during the late fourteenth century, taken straight from the Latin version of the word, actually meaning one who does something or an overseer before firmly meaning a performer. Then there’s actual, another from the early fourteenth century, meaning “pertaining to an action” before it meant something that’s real. It’s from the Old French actuel and Late Latin actualis, which of course is from actus.
 
Next we’ll look at all the prefixed versions of the word. Interact isn’t exactly rocket science, though it didn’t show up until 1805. It’s just act plus inter-, which means between, among, or during. Interacting is acting between. Transact showed up in the late sixteenth century, while transaction was actually a century earlier, from the Old French transaccion, Late Latin transactionem, and verb transigere. It’s a mix of the prefix trans-, across or beyond, and agere, so to transact is to drive across. The not often used intransigent is actually also from here, having shown up in 1874 from the Spanish los intransigentes, those not coming to an agreement, which is what they used to call the “extreme republicans of the 1870s” back in Spain. Could also use that today, but I digress. That word is, back in Latin, a mix of the in- prefix, meaning not, and transigere. Intransigent is to not transact.
 
There’s also counteract, which showed up in the late seventeenth century and is just counter and act. Exact showed up in the sixteenth century, from the Latin exactus and its verb form exigere, to demand. With ex- meaning out, to exact is… to act out? And that somehow went from to demand and became precise.
 
And finally today is to redact. It showed up in the late fourteenth century, meaning to combine into unity. Yes, really. It didn’t start to mean to edit out until 1851! It’s from the classical Latin redactus, reduced, from the verb redigere, to redefine or more literally to drive back. The red- prefix is from re- here, meaning back or again, so to redact is to… act again. I guess they threw the D in their to make it distinct from react, which showed up in the mid seventeenth century and was from the French réaction and Medieval Latin reactionem, from the Latin reagere, to react. So redact and react have been two separate words for a long time, despite being made up of the same elements.
 
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
Dictionary of Medieval Latin
Fordham University
Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

From The Spamfiles

The one constant of the universe is people trying to scam you.

Message evidently from myself (with an R symbol after my name!) saying Re: your e-mail has been reported. Action Recommended
Where to even begin. First of all, apparently I’m sending this to myself? But what is with the Reserved symbol after it? And I’ve been reported—to who??? Finally, anyone who uses “e-mail” is not a real human being. Email. It’s called email.

Message that says Business Inquiry underscore Paid Guest Post, from MR Usman SEO, to a bunch of random names. The body of the message says “Today I visit the wall of your blog and see that the interface is beautifully decorated. I really enjoyed your recent blog post. I wanted to share my thought in your blog. I totally understand that there would be some editorial fee involved and I am ready to pay. Hope so you will like m suggestion and we will get benefited mutually and side by side this help us to rank our both businesses.
Now isn’t this a fine mess of words. Who pays to do a guest post on some rando’s blog? Well, clearly not a real person because no actual person says “the interface is beautifully decorated”.

Another message from Blanca Saunders, this one saying, God is sending you a blessing (Genie Script), In the next 1-7 days, you will manifest a…
Blanca is usually trying to get me to sign up for some scam business opportunity, so it’s a surprise that she’s sending me this weird “blessing”. Though obviously it is still a scam.

Message from Vanguard Home Warra. saying Get the best protection for your home this fall with Vanguard Home Warranty
Isn’t that what home insurance is for? What’s the purpose of a warranty? This one is just confusing. I mean, obviously a scam. But still confusing.

Blog comment from Krugers, saying Great read thank yyou
I’m not sure why the spammers like to pick posts that are years old to leave their comments under, like I’m not going to find that suspicious. Are there people out there who actually fall for this sort of thing? Oh god, there are people out there who actually fall for this sort of thing.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Language Of Confusion: More Instrumental

Today I believe we’ll look at the etymology of some woodwinds.
 
Flute
Flute showed up in the early fourteenth century from the Old French flaut/flaute, which is from the Old Provençal flaut, but before that is unknown. It might be from the classical Latin flare, which means blowing, mixed with the Provençal laut, which means lute. Imagine it being a mix of flare and laut. There’s no indication that’s what it is, but what if???
 
Clarinet
This one’s actually kind of easy. It showed up in 1768 from the French clarinette, which is from clair, which means clear and is from the classical Latin clarus, also clear. I guess it was called a clarinet because the sound was clear.
 
Saxophone
A sax is probably the most modern instrument here, the word showing up in 1851 from the French saxophone, where it was named for the Belgian who first made it in 1840—Antoine Joseph Sax. Fun fact, he also created an instrument called the saxhorn. Apparently he just liked naming them after himself.
 
Oboe
This one showed up in 1724 from the Italian oboe, which is actually from the French hautbois… which was pronounced something like oboe. That word is actually related to the English (!) hautboy, another name for oboe, a mix of haught (high) and bois, which means wood. An oboe is a high wood. And its name has been translated between English and French a bunch of times.
 
Piccolo
Piccolo showed up in 1830, while piccolo flute showed up in 1809. It’s from the French piccolo and Italian flauto piccolo, which literally translates to small flute. Well, this one was straightforward.
 
Sources
Online Etymology Dictionary
Google Translate
Omniglot
University of Texas at Austin Linguistic Research Center
Encyclopaedia Britannica

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Math

This has been bugging the crap out of me.
Panel 1, I’m carrying a box of frozen pizza, and I say, “Mmm, French bread pizza.” Panel 2, I’m looking at the box, and I say, “Huh, the nutritional information…” Panel 3, a close up of the box showing the calorie count, 380 for one pizza and 750 for the container, pizzas per container, 2, Panel 4, I’m squinting at the box as the math doesn’t add up
Where do the extra ten calories go?

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Language Of Confusion: -Solve/Solution, Redux

Solve showed up in the late fourteenth century as solven, and back then it meant to dissipate or loosen. Then in medicine, it started to mean dissolve a substance in a liquid, and then in the sixteenth century, it took on the more figurative meaning of to clear up or to answer. Finally, it meant to solve a math problem in 1737! Funny, right? Anyway, it comes from the Proto Indo European se-lu, from the word s(w)e-, which was actually a third person reflexive pronoun. And is also the origin of idiom. Basically, idiom came from the Greek idios, which came from the PIE swed-yo, which, drop the S, and yeah, that tracks.
 
Then there’s solvent, which is actually fairly recent, having shown up in the mid seventeenth century meaning to pay what you owe, and then a little later something that can dissolve something. Plus there’s solution, which showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning both the dissolving of something and an explanation. It’s from the Old French solucion and the classical Latin solutionem (bet you can’t guess what that means). That’s from the verb solvere, to solve or to dissolve, and that’s from se-lu.
 
Next, let’s look at some prefixed versions. Resolve showed up in the late fourteenth century, also meaning to melt or dissolve, and pretty much the same is true for resolution. How did it get to mean what we use it as? Well, first it meant to separate into components, and then to mentally separate into components, which led to resolve. Both words come from the classical Latin resolvere, to analyze or to loosen, with the re- prefix meaning back. To resolve is to solve back, which makes sense when you know that one of resolve’s meanings in the fifteenth century was to condense into a vapor. Basically, resolve meant dissolving something backwards.
 
Speaking of dissolve, it showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning to break up, meaning this one actually kept its definition. It’s from the classical Latin dissolvere, to dissolve, with dis- meaning apart here. To dissolve is to break apart. And the only one of the solve words to stick to its original meaning through the centuries.
 
Finally today, absolve showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning release, from the classical Latin absolvere, to acquit or set free. The ab- means off or away from, and with solvere meaning to loosen, absolving is loosening off, which sounds kind of nonsensical but does go with setting free. Absolute showed up in the late fourteenth century, meaning free from limitation, and from the Latin absolutus, a past participle of absolve. When you’re totally free, you’re absolute!
 
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