Iscariot

In the 9/26 One Big Happy, Ruthie and Joe cope eggcornishly with the biblical name Iscariot (as in Judas Iscariot), attempting (as they so often do, quite reasonably) to make some sense of an unfamiliar and opaque name:

From OED2 on the noun Iscariot

Pronunciation: /ɪˈskarɪət/ [generally given with accented /æ/ (low front) rather than /a/ (low central or back)]

Etymology: < Latin Iscariōta, < Greek Ἰσκαριώτης, understood to be < Hebrew īsh-q’rīyōth man of Kerioth (a place in Palestine).

The surname of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ. Hence, an appellation for an accursed traitor.

Further note on pronunciation: for many American speakers, before /r/, /æ/ falls together with the mid front vowels /ɛ/ and /e/, so that marry / merry / Mary are homophonous (all with mid vowels), though lad / led / laid are distinct, with /æ ɛ e/, respectively (the full set of facts is more complex than this digest version, but this ought to do for understanding the OBH strip).

So Joe speaks a variety in which carry  (with /æ/) is distinct from Kerry (with /ɛ/ or /e/), and he can extract a meaningful element carry from Iscariot: (Judas) ‘s carry-out .

But Ruthie speaks a variety in which the proper name Scarry (as in author and illustrator Richard Scarry) is identical to scary (both with /ɛ/ or /e/), so she extracts a meaningful element scary from Iscariot: is scari-est.

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