31 January 2010

your etymology lesson: bacon

What better way to finish the week than with bacon? (No better way.)

And what do we learn from the etymology book about bacon? That bacon has pretty much just always been called bacon. (p. 52)

bacon n. About 1330 bacoun, borrowed from Old French baconbacun (perhaps through Medieval Latin baconem), from a Germanic source (compare Old High German bahho side of bacon, Middle High German bache ham, bacon, modern German -backe, as in Hinterbacke buttock, and Middle Dutch baken side of bacon, from Proto-Germanic *bakon-).

Auf Wiedersehen.

30 January 2010

your etymology lesson: marshmallow

Might as well continue the food theme that I seem to have developed here. (p. 459-460)

marshmallow n. Before 1400 marshmalue kind of mallow plant which grows near salt marshes; developed from Old English (about 1000) mersc-mealwe (mersc MARSH + mealwe MALLOW). Marshmallow the confection (1884) was originally made from the root of the marsh mallow plant.

29 January 2010

your etymology lesson: avocado

I will never look at an avocado the same way ever again. And now, neither will you. (p. 49)

avocado n. 1763, avocatoavocado, earlier avogato (1697); borrowed from Spanish avocado, alteration of an earlier form similar to aguacate, from Nahuatl ahuacatl testicle.

28 January 2010

your etymology lesson: ventriloquism

(p. 855)

ventriloquism n. 1797, formed as a descriptive noun to ventriloquist, with substitution of the suffix -ism. The word has replaced older ventriloquy—ventriloquist n. 1656, formed from English ventriloquy + -ist—ventriloquy n. 1584, formed from Late Latin ventriloquus ventriloquist + English -y. Late Latin ventriloquus (Latin venter, genitive ventris, belly + loqui speak) was patterned on Greek engastr√≠mythos, literally, speaking in the belly.

Wait, whaaaat?

27 January 2010

your etymology lesson: raspberry

Today's word is dedicated to my grandpa, who spends evenings in his easy chair next to his minibar, doling out mixed nuts and homemade raspberry wine to guests. (p. 636)

raspberry n. 1623, formed in English from earlier raspis berry (before 1548); also raspis raspberry (about 1532); possibly related to, if not developed from raspise a sweet, rose-colored wine (before 1475), earlier rospeys (1440), from Anglo-Latin vinum raspeys (compare Old French raspe and Medieval Latin raspeciaraspeium raspberry), of uncertain origin.

26 January 2010

your etymology lesson: gobbledygook

(p. 323)
gobbledygook n. 1944, American English; formed in imitation of the gobbling of the turkey cock.

25 January 2010

your etymology lesson: forte

Confession: I'm a complete nerd. Word nerd, to be specific. Well, I'm a nerd about other things as well, but that's beside the point right now. I subscribe to the Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day email. I still use my dictionary and thesaurus (you know, the kind you hold in your hands) regularly. I do other wordy things that I am not willing to admit to right now. WORD NERD.

So you can imagine how nerdily excited I was when my new The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology arrived in the mail this weekend. In celebration, I will illustrate one word from said treasure every day this week. First word: Forte (page 295).

forte n. something one does very well. 1648, strong part of a sword blade; later fort strong point of a person's abilities (1682); borrowed from French fort strong point, fort, from Middle French fort FORT. The final -e was added in the 1700's, on analogy with Italian forte strong.

one and two

This month's Photo Club subject: Numbers.

04 January 2010


It. Is. Cold.

The day after New Year's, we went ice fishing (not me) and ice skating (yes me, et al) on the pond. One fish caught from under the ice. One campfire next to the ice. One belly flop on the ice (not me). One butt flop on the ice (yes me). Good times.

henna hand