Saturday, December 9, 2017


A true story.
My mom seems to create entertaining situations. Of course I usually end up getting yelled at.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Language of Confusion: Lows

First we did highs and middles, and now it’s time for the lows.

Bottom comes from the Old English botm (or bodan), ground (and also ground). I guess that makes sense since the ground is usually the bottom of things. Anyway, before that it was the Proto Germanic buthm, which might be from the Proto Indo European bhudhno-, which means bottom. The ground was the bottom, and then the bottom was the ground.

Low showed up in the late thirteenth century, although earlier it appeared as just lah. Weirdly enough, this word isn’t found in Old English, so it’s thought to be from the Old Norse lagr, and before that the Proto Indo European legh-, lie down or lay. That does make sense, although it’s strange that it skipped right over Old English like that. Fun fact, the low that’s a synonym for moo is not related at all, and it actually does have an Old English equivalent.

Down is actually the shortened form of the Old English ofdune, which is a combination of the words of (just of, big surprise) and dune (down). Dune (which is where dune comes from, by the way) comes from dun, which is a hill or mountain. So because things roll down a hill, we have down. Also down as in feathers is totally unrelated because of course it is.

Under is from the Old English under, which means…under. No big surprises here. Before that it was the Proto Germanic under- and Proto Indo European ndher, also under. So I guess we have a winner for least changed word.

Finally today, beneath. It comes from the Old English bineoþan, which looks fancy but is just beneath. It’s a combination of be- (which means by here) and neoþan, which is related to niþera, lowest or under, and the origin word for nether. Niþera can actually be traced to the Proto Germanic nitheraz and Proto Indo European ni-, below or down. Funny how we don’t use nether anymore when we can trace it further back.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December Goals

Holy crap it’s December already. Oh god, that means I have to get my mother a Christmas present. This is not going to be a fun month.

Anyway, goals.

November Goals
1. Sigh. Write in the book. Let’s see how badly I’ll fail it this month.
Well, I did write in it. I finished the outline (kind of). I just haven’t figured out how to get to the final confrontation.

2. Thanksgiving. Ugh, did anyone feel a foreboding chill just now?
It was weirdly not bad, mostly because it was very small so I didn’t have to deal with most of my relatives. Quite a relief.

3. Go through some old projects and notes and see if anything’s worth salvaging.
Didn’t do this, but I’m just pleased that I managed to write SOMETHING last month.

So, this month.

December Goals
1. Update etymology page. I think it’s been a few months and those words add up.

2. Hopefully write something.

3. Christmas. Yeesh.

It’s the last month of the year! What are you going to do?

Saturday, December 2, 2017


I usually write my blog posts for the upcoming week on Thursday, so this is what happened on Thanksgiving…

I mean. It’s not like Friday doesn’t exist for a reason.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Secret Origins: 5

It’s been several months since I’ve done one of these, so why not?

The word five comes from the Old English fif, Proto Germanic fimfe, and Proto Indo European penkwe, all of which mean five. Weird development, right? Penkwe to five, how the hell does that work? Plus it’s the origin of all the five words, like penta- and quint. And words you might not think of, like fist (five fingers in one, I guess), finger (they think), punch (although only the kind you drink, which is a way more interesting story) and Parcheesi. So now you all know that.

The numeral actually started out looking like a curly, backwards four. Then it got even more curly, then was just a circle in Arabic, from which it went to medieval Europe, where it looks like an upside down five. Weird, but it makes way more sense than the word’s origins.

I…guess that’s it? Not a very big one today. Pretty fascinating, though.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Moms and Technology 4

Yes, one more for the road because I don’t want to come up with an original post. This one actually took place the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, while I was baking a cheesecake. I was answering texts while trying not to get cream cheese all over my phone.

Her: How do you put page numbers and a header into a Word document?

Me: Just add page numbers and then type in your header.

Her: No I need them to be on opposite sides.

Me (never heard that before): WHAT?

Her: It’s APA format!

I had no idea. I had to go look it up, and let me say it’s ridiculously complicated. Seriously, APA, what’s so horrible about having a header and a page number on the same side? And boy am I glad I’m not in school anymore.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Moms and Technology 3

Remember the power outage I mentioned? It affected most of the state, including my mom’s house, so she was pretty bummed that she couldn’t watch her DVDs of Friends.

Me: I can bring over my laptop and you can watch it on that.

Her: Yeah, bring it, but we’ll just watch it on Netflix.

Me: I…We can’t watch it on Netflix. There’s no internet.

Her: I know. But it’s Netflix.

Me: …You can’t watch Netflix without the internet.

Her: You can’t? Why?

Me: Because you need the internet to access it like you do any website and you have no internet!

Her: Really?

Me: No power means no modem which means no internet!

Her: …Are you sure?

Me: Yes!


Her: Are you sure you can’t watch Netflix on your laptop?

I start sobbing.