Archive for the ‘Morning names’ Category

lookit, looky

March 15, 2021

My morning names a few days ago: surprising places the verb look has gone.

To come: the story of these items, from the OED. The related stories of some uses of say and like. All having moved from relatively concrete to much more abstract uses, serving discourse functions of various kinds.

(more…)

Morning names: cavitation, Gwen Stefani

February 24, 2021

Morning names for yesterday (2/23). In both cases I found the names (one common, one proper) vaguely familiar but couldn’t recall actually having experienced the name in use (though obviously I must have, to have them pop up in my mind on awaking). I then made guesses about the referents of the names — and was well off the mark in both cases.

(more…)

Morning name: houndstooth check

February 5, 2021

(No, I have no idea why these things pop up in my mind.)

From Wikipedia:


(#1) The houndstooth pattern

Houndstooth, hounds tooth check or hound’s tooth (and similar spellings), also known as dogstooth, dogtooth, dog’s tooth, or pied-de-poule, is a duotone textile pattern characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes, often in black and white, although other colours are used.

(more…)

anaphylaxis

February 4, 2021

Today’s morning name, a little exercise in etymology. From NOAD:

ORIGIN early 20th century: modern Latin, from Greek ana- ‘again’ + phulaxis ‘guarding’.

From Michael Quinion’s Affixes site on ana:

(more…)

The Stranger

February 2, 2021

The Orson Welles movie of 1946, and today’s morning name. The theatrical poster:

(#1)

(more…)

Don’t ask!

January 31, 2021

Today’s morning name, but it comes with crucial context. The Don’t ask! in question is not the neutral use of the negative imperative, advising the addressee not to ask someone about something (Don’t ask them about the ducks in the kitchen; that just makes them crazy), but instead is a formula of Yiddish-influenced English, normally used only by (American) Jews (or gentiles culturally close to this community), when someone has in fact just asked about the matter in question (the tsuris tsores ‘troubles’); the speaker doesn’t go on to avoid this sensitive matter, but instead embraces it, launching into kvetching ‘complaining’ about it.

The formula Don’t ask!  then serves as an announcement — a kind of alarm bell, if you will — that the speaker is about to go off on a (perhaps extended) kvetch.

(more…)

Wasps on wheels

January 15, 2021

The last of a set of three morning names from some time ago: Vespa (following consilience and Jay Gould). From Wikipedia:


(#1) From the Classic Digest site: The Vespa 50 is one of the best loved scooters in the world, this one is the most famous model 1970 Piaggio Vespa 50 Special “First series”

Vespa is an Italian brand of scooter manufactured by Piaggio. … The Vespa has evolved from a single model motor scooter manufactured in 1946 by Piaggio & Co. S.p.A. of Pontedera, Italy to a full line of scooters and one of seven companies today owned by Piaggio.

… Vespa is both Latin and Italian for wasp — derived from the vehicle’s body shape: the thicker rear part connected to the front part by a narrow waist, and the steering rod resembled antennae.

(more…)

Jay Gould

January 14, 2021

(The second of three morning names from some time ago.)

From Wikipedia:

Jason [generally known as Jay] Gould (May 27, 1836 – December 2, 1892) was an American railroad magnate and financial speculator who is generally identified as one of the robber barons of the Gilded Age. His sharp and often unscrupulous business practices made him one of the wealthiest men of the late nineteenth century. Gould was an unpopular figure during his life and remains controversial.

Gould’s sharp business practices made him the target of the political cartoonists of the day, who churned out wicked caricatures of him.

(more…)

Morning name: consilience

January 13, 2021

A set of morning names from a long time back: consilience, Jay Gould, and Vespa. I will get to them, eventually, one by one. Today it’s consilience, with an entertaining etymology and an interesting two-part history.

From Wikipedia, the initial discussion:

In science and history, consilience (also convergence of evidence or concordance of evidence) is the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can “converge” on strong conclusions. That is, when multiple sources of evidence are in agreement, the conclusion can be very strong even when none of the individual sources of evidence is significantly so on its own. Most established scientific knowledge is supported by a convergence of evidence: if not, the evidence is comparatively weak, and there will not likely be a strong scientific consensus.

The principle is based on the unity of knowledge; measuring the same result by several different methods should lead to the same answer. For example, it should not matter whether one measures the distance between the Giza pyramid complex by laser rangefinding, by satellite imaging, or with a meter stick – in all three cases, the answer should be approximately the same.

(more…)

His name is my name too

January 10, 2021

Today’s morning name, from my chilhood at summer camp in the 1940s: the kids’ song “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”. (Note to readers around the world: it’s a North American thing.)

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
His name is my name too
Whenever we go out
The people always shout
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
Da da da da da da
— Repeat the song several times, and get softer each time.

(more…)