February 26th, 2012
Asi es la vida que cuando no necesitamos pensar en nada, tenemos pensamientos buenos. Caminando en las calles de Bogota, vi un seña para carrera septima. Y es muy increible que nunca pensé antes de ver esto seña que septiembre, octubre, noviembre y deciembre corresponden al siete, ocho, nueve y diez! (Si, gracias por felicitaciones!) Aún en inglés, la conneción entre palabras September, October, November y December no es dificil de ver. Pero, no mis queridos, nunca esto pensé! Creo que es muy posible que casi toda la gente sabe los significados, de estas palabras, especialmente esos que pensaban en los nombres de meses.
Asi, ¿debo sentir inteligente o estupido?
Y, una otra pregunta – ¿porque los meses numeros 9, 10, 11 y 12 corresponden a los numeros 7, 8, 9 y 10? Cuando tuvimos este cambio de dos meses?
January 12th, 2012
All of us have a conscious or subconscious focus on etymology that serves us well, except at times when it doesn’t! See this video for an example.
Once in a while we come across a phantonym – a word that sounds opposite of what it means. The word “suffrage” is an excellent case in point, even though it wouldn’t qualify as a phantonym. The word root has been lost and the word sounds similar to “suffering” and has a negative ring to it. That combined with the age of the kids, I don’t take the video too seriously, I think it just makes a good joke, that’s all.
A similar confusion exists between bondage (bad) and bonding (good). I know that there is at least some confusion about this topic, because even one of our recent Presidents has said that “Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.”
November 16th, 2010
The M-W.com’s word of the day – crapulous, which means marked by intemperance especially in eating or drinking or being sick from excessive indulgence in liquor, may sound like a curse word, but it is actually a perfectly legit word tracing back to the Latin word “crapula” meaning “intoxication”. The related word “crapulence” is a word for sickness caused by drinking. A nice clarification is also available at Daily Writing Tips, and it makes Word Spy’s favorite list. Not bad for a word sounding that bad .
November 2nd, 2010
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for Nov 2, 2010 is especially appropriate: Psephology, which is the scientific study of elections. (Today is the field day for all US political pundits and general public with particular interest in psephology.) “Psephology” is from the Greek word psephos for pebbles – the connection being that pebbles were used by the ancient Greeks in voting.
Kudos to the M-W guys for enlightening us every day.
August 20th, 2010
Etymology really rocks my boat. Most fun that I have is when I learn that two phrases that I have been using are actually related. Just learnt that “Jovial” is related to “By Jove”, which means “By God”, since Jove (Jupiter) is the Roman king of Gods and also the God of Sky and Thunder. Since Jupiter is considered to be majestic type who was the source of joy, anyone born when Jupiter was rising was considered to be good-natured. By association, anyone who was good-natured started to be called jovial.
Why yes, it now appears OBVIOUS, but I did not realize prior to today that “By Jove” and “Jovial” are so closely related.
It also seems that the word “joy” might be from the same root, but I haven’t yet found anything conclusive on this matter.
June 7th, 2009
I was amazed to find out that the etymology of the synonyms Alter and Other is so closely related. Latin word “Alter”, which means other, apparently led to old French word “autre” and old German “andar”. The Spanish word “Otro” obviously comes from the same roots. The Sanskrit word “Antar” (as in Antaryami) and the Latin word “Alter” seem to be the ultimate root for all these words.
November 26th, 2008
The word “onus”, I understand comes from Latin, and is a distant relative of the Sanskrit word for “cart” – a vehicle that bears burden.
Does someone know what that Sanskrit word is? If so, please leave that as a comment on this blog. Thanks!
November 10th, 2008
Agnes is a common western name, which derives from the Greek word hagnē, meaning “pure” or “holy”. Agni is a Sanskrit word for fire, which is also shared in Hindi, and with minor differences in Russian (Ogon), Polish (Ogin) and Lithuanian (Ugnis). Agni (or in general) fire, is also the bearer of purity in Indian culture, manifesting in countless traditions, such as weddings.
This all banal commentary, because I have only now connected the dots that obviously lie between a common western name and the common word in Hindi. I would never have thought that Saint Agnes of Rome has her name from this common word. And obviously, also from the root of the common English word ignite.
Wow, etymology really rocks my boat.