Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

pair of jockstrap

January 19, 2021

(Well, men’s underwear, so men’s bodies play a significant role, but nothing raunchy. Look at #1, just below, to get a feel for the content and your comfort level; this is about as racy as things get in this posting.)

Passed on to me by Sim Aberson a few days ago, with the comment “Pair?”, this jockstrap ad from the men’s underwear company TBô (sometimes T-Bô):

(#1)

Not just “pair”, but “pair of jockstrap”, with SG jockstrap.The ad will take this posting  in many different directions, sometimes inconclusively, so the posting will proceed as a collection of very loosely connected mini-essays.

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Perverted by Language

January 15, 2021

Monica Macaulay on Facebook, who had just come across the album Perverted by Language, by The Fall:

Monica: Love the title of the album. If I had a blog, that’s what it would be called. (“Don’t confuse yourself with someone who has something to say.”)

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The risonym

October 16, 2020

E-mail today from Gadi Niram:

I seem to recall you coining the term “risonym”. What I can’t remember was whether a risonym made a person laugh because of its meaning or because of the speaker’s perception of the sound as funny. Can you refresh my memory?

I had no recollection of such a coining (though Gadi eventually resurrected a single use by me on Usenet 20 years ago — see below), but I tried to respond to the idea of words that are funny because of their sound.

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wazoo

September 29, 2020

Today’s morning name. Briefly, from NOAD:

noun wazooUS informal the anus. PHRASES up (or outthe wazoo US informal very much; in great quantity; to a great degree: he’s insured out the wazoo | Jack and I have got work up the wazoo already. ORIGIN 1960s: of unknown origin.

The phrases are straightforwardly idioms — the fact that they are degree adverbials is unpredictable from the meanings of the parts — though they can be varied a bit: by extension with the modifying adjective old (up/out the old/ol’ wazoo), or the with the noun ass ‘asshole’ instead of wazoo (to have problems up/out the ass); it’s likely that wazoo in these phrases is, historically, an ornamental replacement for ass in them (see below).

But wazoo, on its own, has no parts, so it can’t literally be an idiom. However, it’s restricted in its collocations — formally non-compositional, if not semantically non-compositional.

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Born on the same day

September 18, 2020

Today is the birthday of my second mother-in-law, Monique Serpette Transue (born 1912). And also of Samuel “Dictionary” Johnson (born 1709). A coincidence of dates that entertains me. When I noted this on Facebook yesterday, Ned Deily wrote:

The interwebz assert that no single word exists, in English at least, to describe people who share the same birthday anniversary. Time to invent one? A lexicographer’s work is never finished.

After a digression on what lexicographers do and another on Samuel Johnson and a note about Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, I’ll make a stab at coining.

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Two whimsical Bizarros

August 12, 2020

In a time of great distress (the sadness of so many deaths, punctuated by flashes of extraordinary hope), two delightful Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strips to divert my attention: from yesterday (8/11), a sweet strip in which the Pied Piper takes his son into the family business; and from today (8/12), an outrageous pun on the geographical name the Greater Antilles:

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Caterpillars spinning platters

August 5, 2020

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, with songs you just can’t get out of your head:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

A wonderful collision of worlds, set off by the idiomatic (and colorfully metaphorical) N + N compound earworm: the world of DJs — the ear world (disc jockeys providing sonic pleasures for the ear) — and the world of caterpillars — the worm world (caterpillars being one type of worm in colloquial English).

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gentoo

July 28, 2020

My morning name for 7/26: the name of a species of penguin:


(#1) From NOAD: noun gentoo (also gentoo penguin): a tall penguin with a white triangular patch above the eye, breeding on subantarctic islands. Pygoscelis papua, family Spheniscidae.

But the name, the name: where does it come from? It sounds a bit like gentile, but then seat-of-the-pants etymologizing is almost always way off the mark, however entertaining the stories might be. But this one might possiby be so, although that’s far from a sure thing; NOAD‘s note:

ORIGIN mid 19th century: perhaps from Anglo-Indian Gentoo ‘a Hindu’, from Portuguese gentio ‘gentile’.

The connection between Portuguese gentio ‘gentile’ (< Latin gentilis ‘of a family or nation, of the same clan’) and Anglo-Indian Gentoo ‘a Hindu’ is firm, however remarkable it might seem to you. What is still unclear is how to get from Hindus to penguins, so other sources for gentoo have been proposed, but, apparently, none with solid evidence.

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Call it by its name

July 27, 2020

In the 9/24/19 One Big Happy, both Ruthie and her mother name fingers, but in different ways:

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Ruthie gives them (descriptive) nicknames — the proper names Hitchy, Pointy, Big Girl, Wiggles, Wee One — while her mother Ellen provides the common nouns referring to the five fingers: the thumb, the index finger, the middle finger, the ring finger, and the pinkie / pinky (aka the little finger).

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South Cackalacky

June 10, 2020

Today’s morning name: South Cackalacky, mildly derogatory slang for South Carolina (suggesting crudeness, rusticity, and remoteness: the boondocks). And Cackalacky, for the Carolinas taken together, with the same associations. (Sorry,  Charleston, Charlotte, and Research Triangle.)

Then, of course, such associations can be inverted, to connote local pride, down-hominess, and the like. As has happened in this case.

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