Archive for the ‘Etymology’ Category

The verb of the American moment

October 12, 2019

The verb is depose — actually two homophonous verbs, with very different senses (though they share a history). Currently in the US news in one sense because of Helmet Grabpussy’s shrieks that movements towards impeaching him are attempts at a coup, attempts to overthrow him, depose him from office; and in another sense because House committees have been summoning witnesses to give sworn testimony, to be deposed formally.

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The Avocado Chronicles: 2 etymology and etymythology

July 13, 2019

The text for today, a piece from the NPR Kitchen Window site (“A weekly peek into the kitchen with tasty tales and recipes”), “What’s in a Name? The Avocado Story” by Howard Yoon, from 7/19/06: a monstrous tapestry of confusion, error, and fabrication, tracing the English food name avocado to a 1914 coinage by California farmers who became the California Avocado Association (an organization that was probably the source of most of the balled-up fantasy below).

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Collagen days

March 6, 2019

News for penises. And fingers. And, possibly to come, buttocks.

The larger topic is the line between what counts as normal and what counts as abnormal, diseased, or morbid. Today, the discussion starts with some television commercials for the drug Xiaflex® (from Endo Pharmaceuticals), marketed as a treatment for Peyronie’s Disease.

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Manly in Australia

January 30, 2019

(This posting ends up knee-deep in gay porn, so there will be references to men’s bodies and to mansex, though the X-rated visuals are off in my AZBlogX posting today “Manly Beach”. This material might not suit all readers.)

A Facebook exchange this morning:

Michael Newman [posting a photo on an antipodal vacation]: Notorious [venomous] funnel web spiders? — in Manly, New South Wales, Australia.

Arnold Zwicky: I long ago got used to the place-name Manly, but every so often I see it afresh and giggle.

Michael Newman: I couldn’t help thinking about it the whole time.

The history of the placename Manly is both straightforward and surprising. Manly and nearby Manly Beach then led me to the 1991 Kristen Bjorn gay porn flick Manly Beach (manly mansex among the manly lifesavers of Manly Beach) and to brief notes on facial expressions in gay porn.

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A snappish portion of the class

December 19, 2018

The One Big Happy of 11/20, in which, as usual, Ruthie copes with an unfamiliar (semi-)technical term (here, cross section) by extracting a familiar word (here, the cross of irritability) from it:

Ruthie crosses the cross ‘representative’ of cross section with the cross ‘snappish, angry’ of cross words. These are grossly different lexical items in modern English, but in fact they share an etymology that goes back to the noun cross of the hymns “The Old Rugged Cross” and “In the Cross of Christ I Glory”.

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On the international waffle patrol

December 19, 2018

Better together: Belgian waffles and Israeli falafel. From several Facebook friends, a pointer to Tablet magazine ‘s “The Belgian Falafel Waffle: An edible miracle of modern science takes off in Rishon LeZion” by Flora Tsapovsky on 12/18/18:

(#1)

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News for bears: cities of bears

December 8, 2018

On the 5th here, postings on the patron saint of bears and on Swiss saintly dogs (with a bow to the city of Bern(e)). Now: more on Bern; on the movie BearCity; and on two California cities of bears, Big Bear City in San Bernardino County and Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County.

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A grotesque word

November 29, 2018

Tuesday’s Zippy:

(#1)

Another chapter in word attraction: Zippy’s (and Griffy’s) enjoyment of “funny words”. Here, gargoyle, which Zippy, absurdly, analyzes as a compound of the nouns gar (referring to a kind of sharp-toothed fish) and goyle (a rare, mostly dialectal, term for a deep trench) — so, roughly ‘fish ravine’. Turns out the actual etymology of gargoyle is entertaining enough on its own.

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croquet monsieur

November 26, 2018

Tennis, anyone? Croquet, monsieur? Croquette, madame?

I begin in medias res, with croquet monsieur, as used in this announcement on the specials board recently at the King’s College Cambridge servery:


(#1) (photo by Bert Vaux, of King’s, posted on Facebook today)

The staffer who made up the board was presumably unfamiliar with the croque part of the food name croque-monsieur, so they went with the closest thing they knew: croquet.  (Well, it was all French to them.) Go With What You Know is the eggcorning strategy of Ruthie in the cartoon One Big Happy, reported on regularly in this blog.Here it is in an adult variant.

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Annals of word retrieval: in promiscuous positions

November 4, 2018

(Warning: embedded in this posting is a bit of — just barely euphemized — taboo vocabulary and the image of a hunky guy in his underwear.)

From Sim Aberson on 10/29, from WSVN, channel 7 in Miami FL:

BSO deputies arrest Dania Beach man in child porn case

Dania Beach, Fla. (WSVN) – Deputies have arrested a Dania Beach man on numerous child pornography charges.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested 66-year-old Roger Aiudi on Thursday following a months-long investigation by the agency’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force. Investigators said Aiudi had 13 pornographic images of children and dozens of other images showing children in promiscuous positions.

Well yes, not promiscuous ‘having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships’, but provocative ‘arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately’ (NOAD definitions). This is a very likely sort of word retrieval error, since the words are similar phonologically (sharing the accent pattern WSWW and sharing the initial syllable /prǝ/) and morphologically (both ending in Adj-forming suffixes, –ous vs. –ive) as well as semantically.

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