As I’ve been slowly learning Spanish via Duolingo, I’ve found the large number of cognates between Spanish and English very useful. Sometimes, false cognates get in the way; the most common example I see of that is the word embarazada, which English monoglots may assume means “embarrassed,” but which instead means “pregnant.” But setting aside […]
Archive for Etymology
Such a great sounding word, too. Shonky.
esculent: edible, fit to be eaten According to dictionary,com, it originates in the 1620s, from L. esculentus, from esca “food,” from PIE *ed- “to eat” (see eat). (Link and usage examples here) I saw it a while back and hadn’t gotten around to following up on the idea that it would make a great first […]
When I was a kid, I occasionally listened to my father’s LP of Oscar Brand’s Bawdy Songs and Backroom Ballads. One of the songs on the album was “Sam Hall,” which included this line: You’re a bunch of muckers all, damn your eyes. At some point, I asked my father what muckers meant, and he […]
Interesting discussion from 2013 of the in-universe etymology of the word hobbit, along with some discussion of differing ideas of how translation should be done.
I’ve heard characters described as foils of other characters since I was a kid, but I think I always figured that meant that one character could foil another character’s plans or something. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned the real etymology: Jewelers often put shiny metal foil underneath a gem to […]
I’ve encountered the term hidalgo in various contexts; it refers to Spanish or Portuguese nobility. The thing that surprised me about that term is the etymology: it’s from Old Spanish fijo dalgo, literally meaning “son of something.” Wikipedia suggests: In the Spanish language of that period, in the phrase Hijo de algo, the word algo […]
This morning, out of the welter of vague half-formed thoughts that ran through my head as I woke up, the first coherent one was something like this: Is litter as...
An article about the origin of the phrase “Great Scott!”. Short version: it's a minced oath, probably originally referring to US General Winfield Scott....
Someone mentioned the Emmy Awards the other day, and I realized I wasn't sure why they were called that. I figured they must have been named after some famous person...