Thursday, May 24, 2018

Language of Confusion: -Ment, Part III

Today’s -ment words are physical objects. That’s almost like a theme that ties them together, because the origins of the words sure as hell won’t.

Cement showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French ciment, also cement, and classical Latin caementa, which… yeah, is also just cement. It comes from the verb caedere, to cut down, hew, or hack, evolving from the sense that stones were “hacked” into chips or powder for use in cement. Also, caedere is from the Proto Indo European root kae-id-, origin of words such as decide, precise, and homicide. Okay, I’m going to have to look into that at some point.

Pigment showed up in the late fourteenth century from the classical Latin pigmentum, which it’s pretty safe to assume just means pigment. It’s from the verb pingere, to paint, the origin word for paint. Amusingly enough, pingere is from the Proto Indo European peig-, to cut or mark with incision, which evolved to the sense of decorating with cut marks, then just decorate, then decorate with color. Therefore, paint, and pigment.

Ornament came about in the early thirteenth century meaning an accessory and not necessarily something decorative. It’s from the Old French ornement and classical Latin ornamentum, which could mean ornament or decoration, but also things like apparatus or kit. It’s from the verb ornare, to adorn, and ordo, which means… order. And yeah, that’s where order comes from.

Garment showed up in the fifteenth century, although it existed in the fourteenth century as garnement. That was taken from the Old French garnement (so that would explain the spelling), which is from the verb garnir, to fit out or adorn. It’s actually from a Germanic source, not Latin, can you believe it? But it can still be traced back to Proto Indo European, in this case the root word wer-, to cover. Origin of words such as garnish, warn, and cover because things are never weird enough.

Ointment appeared in the late thirteenth century from the Old French oignement, which was taken from the Vulgar Latin unguimentum and classical Latin unguentum, perfume or ointment. The verb of that is unguere, to smear with ointment, from the Proto Indo European ongw-, salve or anoint. And yeah, that’s where we get anoint from, as well as unction.

Words are so weird sometimes.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Spamfiles Classics

Yeah, time for this again. I mean, it’s easier than coming up with original ideas.


So can strangers on the internet.

Why is the w in writing replaced with an omega? And why is it only in one of the writings and not the other? I know it’s stupid but this kind of thing really bugs me.

If one of my cousins did that, there’d be no point in talking about them in the present tense anymore.

Honestly, it’s more surprising that any of my uncles had only one felony.

Has your lover really found booger today?

Saturday, May 19, 2018


I never get to talk about what I want to talk about.

 My mom has this irrational hatred of all things animated. It’s why there are very few shows that both of us like.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Language Of Confusion: -Ment, Part II

Back to the -ment words. These ones all have a c in them. A hard c, not that pain in the ass soft c.

Comment showed up in the late fourteenth century from the Old French coment and Late Latin  commentum, both of which meant comment. It’s from the classical Latin comminisci, to contrive, which means it was more like plan or devise than comment. It’s thought that the com- prefix is only intensive here, and the menisci is from meminisse, to remember, from the Proto Indo European men-, to think. Which. Yeah. Not related to the -ment we learned about last week.

Compliment showed up in the late sixteenth century as complement, and yes, that’s where complement comes from, too. Both are from the classical Latin complementum, completion—which makes sense for the latter, but the former? Apparently something that was complimentary (as in, free), was completing the obligation of politeness, and then in Italian that changed to “expression of respect or civility”, and that influenced nineteenth century English to make it saying something nice. Anyway, complementum comes from complere, to complete. The com- prefix is intensive again and the plere means to fill, from the Proto Indo European pele-, to fill. To complement (or compliment) is to really fill something. And the -ment is just a Latin suffix.

Compartment showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Middle French compartiment, a partition. That word’s from the Italian compartimento, compartment, which was then taken from the Late Latin compartiri, to divide. Once again, the com- is intensive, and the partiri is from partis, which is from the Proto Indo European pere-, grant or allot. I’m not even sure where the -ment showed up from here.

Finally today, we’re looking at inclement. It showed up in the mid seventeenth century from the French inclĂ©ment and classical Latin inclementem, which means merciless and now I’m disappointed that we don’t use this word more. The in- means opposite of and clementum has to do with things being nice or mild. It’s a mix of the Proto Indo European word klei-, to lean, and -menos, which I can’t really find much about but definitely isn’t related to the other -ment words.

TL;DR: If it isn’t a common word you know + -ment, it’s not related to anything else apparently.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Not, like, the genre. Just something weird. Last week I got an email that I first thought was spam, but then realized wasn’t:

1. I didn’t order any appliance repair.
2. I looked up the case number, and it’s for a top loading washer/dryer, which I don’t even have.
3. The company it came from is in New York City, like four hours away from where I live.

So, yeah. This isn’t for me. I don’t know why or how I could have gotten this. I don’t know if someone gave them a fake email address or maybe just transposed a character somewhere. Honeil4(at)gmail(dot)com could be wondering why their confirmation email never showed up.

Anyway, I just thought that was weird. Have you ever gotten anything that was meant for anyone else? What did you do about it?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

It Gets Everywhere

It’s getting to be time to cut my hair again.
 Huh, I wonder if I could sell my hair for money to buy a new laptop…

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Language of Confusion: -Ment, Part I

Got another big multi-part series for you, because apparently I don’t learn. I’m not going to do every word that ends in -ment because that would take frigging forever. Instead I’m going to focus on the ones where I probably won’t be talking about as part of another group. Trust me, there are still A LOT.

The -ment suffix is a common one in forming nouns. It’s from French, and related to the classical Latin suffix -mentum, something added to verb stems to make it “the result or product of the action”, like how enjoyment is something that’s the result of doing something you enjoy. That follows for a lot of these words—payment is a thing you pay, treatment is how you treat, equipment is things you equip. But there are words where if you drop the -ment part, you’re left with something that’s rather confusing.

Take, for example, instrument. Instru- isn’t a word. Is it from instruct? Is an instrument a thing you instruct? That does kind of make sense…

Instrument showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French instrument/enstrument, which had the same meaning we use for it. It’s from the classical Latin instrumentum, tool, which is from instruere, which could mean to deploy or to build/erect, but also to arrange, set in order, or inform/teach. It’s a mix of the prefix in-, meaning on, and struere, which means to construct and is from the Proto Indo European stere-, to spread. And instruere is where we get instruct, although that word came to us through the past participle instructus.

So that’s one example.  There are many, many more to come.