Words & Stuff

qqq: Roots (Answers)

(15 August 1999)

True or false?

Ampersand is from Amper's and, because someone named Amper was the first one to write "Et" in that particular form. (JEH, from Jere7my)
False; it's a shortening of and per se and.
Azure is related to lapis lazuli. (JEH)
Buckaroo (cowboy) is related to vaccine by way of Latin vacca (cow). (JEH)
True; buckaroo comes from Spanish vaquero.
Caliber (the diameter of a bullet) is from Arabic qalib (a shoemaker's last). (JEH)
Chapel is from Latin cappa, cloak, because a chapel was built to house the cloak of St. Martin of Tours. (JEH)
Chauvinism is from Nicholas Chauvin, a fictional patriotic French soldier (JEH)
Cloud-cuckoo-land is a direct translation from the Greek nephelokokkygia. (JEH)
Copper (metal) is from Latin Cuprum, from Classical Greek Kupros (Cyprus), the island to which it is native. (MJD)
Cypress (tree) is from Latin Cuprum, from Classical Greek Kupros (Cyprus), the island to which it is native. (MJD)
False, though a homomorph of that word, cypress (a kind of gauze), is derived from Cyprus.
Counsel is from the same root as council.
False. Counsel is from consulere (to consult); council is from com- + calare (to call).
Corduroy is from the French cour du roi, "court of the king," because that's where it was first worn. (JEH)
I believe this to be false, but unfortunately, it's related to the duroy (a kind of fabric), which is of unknown etymology. Dominus notes, "I'm trying to stay away from words of obscure origin in the quiz, because I don't want to hear people complain that I can't be sure that they were wrong."
Denim originally came from Nimes, France, and was called serge de Nimes. (MJD)
Don and doff are related to on and off, respectively. (MJD)
Egregious is related to gregarious by way of Latin grex (herd). (JEH)
Galvanize is named after Luigi Galvani, Italian physician and physicist. (JEH)
Gargle is cognate with gargoyle. (JEH)
Garlic is from gar (spear, because of its spear-shaped leaves, akin to the spear-shaped gar fish) + lic (leek, because it's like a leek). (MJD)
Journal derives from the same root as diary. (JEH)
Maudlin derives from Mary Magdalene, often depicted as crying. (from Jon Carroll)
Minimum is cognate with miniature. (MJD?)
False: minimum is from Latin minimum (smallest); miniature is from Latin minius (red paint).
Minister is from Latin minister (servant). (JEH)
Minister is related to Latin minor; majesty and magister are related to Latin major. (JEH)
Mustard is related to musty. (MJD)
True: both derive from Latin mustus (must, as in a musty smell).
Slogan is from a Gaelic battle-cry, sluagh-ghairm. (JEH)
Squash (to smash) means to cause to resemble the messy, pulpy insides of the squash plant. (MJD)
False: the verb is from Latin ex- + quassare (to shake); the noun is from Narraganset askútasquash.
Toll is from Latin tollis, to take away. (JEH)
False: it's from Latin telos (tax).
Truce is related to truculent. (JEH)
False. Truce is related to true; truculent to Latin trux (fierce).
Vanilla derives from Latin vagina (sheath). (JEH)
Glans is Latin for acorn. (MJD)
Vicar is related to vicarious. (JEH)

Multiple choice

Alimony is related to:
A. Alimentary

Baguette is named that because:
C. It's French for "rod"

Gamut is:
A. From gamma and ut, two names for notes; denoted the whole musical scale

Hecatomb (a large-scale slaughter) is from:
B. Hekaton (100) + bous (ox): sacrificial slaughter of 100 oxen

Honcho is from:
A. Japanese

Peccary (a kind of wild pig) derives from:
C. a Carib word

Typhoon is from:
A. Cantonese tai fung (enormous wind: tai (very big) + fung (wind))
B. Urdu tufan (violent storm), ultimately from tafa (to turn around)
C. Greek Typhon, an enormous monster, son of Typhoeus (father of the winds)

Answer: All of the above! A truly remarkable etymology; the Urdu word derives, I believe, from the Greek, and the Cantonese term influenced the English word. Dominus provided this; it's one of the coolest etymologies I've encountered.

Whiskey is called that because:
B. It's from Irish Gaelic uisce beathadh (water of life).

Jed Hartman <logophilia@kith.org>