Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Moms and Technology 1

It’s Thanksgiving week! I have too much to do so here’s a bunch of actual conversations I’ve had with my mom.

Her: I can’t find my paper. I know I saved it on Chrome but all that’s here is a blank page.

Me: Okay, did you save it on Google Drive?

Her: What’s Google Drive? How do I find it?

Me: Just go to the nine dots in the corner and click on it. It should be there.

Her: Okay, the paper’s not there. Can you go to my computer at home and check for it on there?

Me: …Fine.

So I get there and turn it on and…

Her: Never mind. I found it.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


I got a new router to help with my internet issues and…yeah, they’re mostly solved, although there’s still the occasional blip. Anyway, here’s what actually happened the day it arrived.
I politely told them no thank you, but I swear, if disappointment could be distilled into its purest essence, it would be that moment.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Language of Confusion: Eating Birds

Thanksgiving is a week away! So why not etymologize delicious birds that we like to eat?

This made more sense in my head.

Turkey showed up in the mid sixteenth century—at least, in regards to the bid that we now call turkey that is North American in origin. Before that, the name turkey was applied to a completely different species, the guinea fowl, which is from Africa. Those birds happened to be exported through the country of Turkey, so people started calling them that, but then when American turkey got introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century, people were like, well, clearly we have to call this bird from a different continent than Turkey turkey. It just makes sense.

Chicken comes from the Old English cicen, which meant a bird, but originally specifically meant a young bird. You know, like we use chick for today. It comes from the Proto Germanic kiukinam, from keuk-, which was a word for the sound a bird makes (and is possibly the origin of cock). That means it’s like “cluck”, so a chicken is… a clucken.

The bird duck comes from the Old English duce (pronounced duke), which is obviously just duck and is thought to be from the Old English word ducan, the origin word for the verb duck. But that isn’t sure, and it does seem kind of weird that ducks would duck. The previous word for duck was ened, and that word comes from the Proto Indo European aneti-, which is where a lot of other Indo European language derive their word for duck from. But not us anymore.

Goose comes from the Old English gos, which is a much more simplified spelling if you ask me. It comes from the Proto Germanic gans and Proto Indo European ghans-, which is actually thought to be another word taken from the sound the bird makes. And the reason the plural is geese is because of something called i-mutation, which means that people get lazy in their speaking and start pronouncing oo sounds like ee. And for some reason that became a popular way to pluralize things.

Pheasant showed up in the late thirteenth century (although it appeared a century earlier as a last name). It comes from the classical Latin phasianus, pheasant, from the Greek phasianos, also pheasant. Apparently it was named after a river called Phasis (now called Rion in Georgia) where there were a lot of the birds. And the T at the end just showed up because people said the word wrong because that’s ninety percent of etymology.

Plato and His Dialogues

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

From The Spamfiles

I just…really don’t feel like coming up with a post idea.

They give me the angry emoji in the subject line, but then a smiley emoticon in the message (which is in quotes for some reason BTW). Very inconsistent tone.

Sure, this makes sense. Presidents contact me all the time.

It’s from the Olivia Cake Designs branch of Bank of America.

This is…I don’t know what this is. They’re threatening me with photos. Are they, like, cursed or something?

What they do is within ambient of the law. I have to admit, I’ve never heard ambient used that way and have no idea what it’s supposed to mean. I even looked it up in the dictionary to see if there was some obscure definition I was unaware of, but nope. Not a clue what the hell that’s supposed to mean. Yet the rest of the spam is surprisingly well written.

Amazon wants me to see their pic. How naughty.

Honestly I’m a little disappointed in the quantity of spam I’ve been receiving lately. Some days I don’t get any at all, let alone one worthy of being posted. So if you get anything funny be sure to send it my way.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


I hate power outages.
It was horrible. I mean, I still had my handhelds but come on! I was in the middle of a game!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Language of Confusion: -Trude

I saw the word obtrusive the other day and I figured it was a good word to etymologize.

Obtrusive first showed up in the mid seventeenth century from the classical Latin obstrus-, but obtrude first showed up a century earlier. Its Latin origin is the word obtrudere, thrust into, press upon, or even presume. The ob- means in front of or toward, while trudere is thrust or shove. I guess something that’s obtrusive is shoved in your way. Trudere is also from the Proto Indo European treud-, which means press, push, or squeeze and is the origin word for threat. Which actually sounds like it has a more interesting origin than obtrude.

Intrusive has a kind of different, kind of similar origin. It showed up earlier, in the fifteenth century, from intrus-. Not much different so far. Intrude showed up in the early fifteenth century as a church word that meant to take possession of part of a church that doesn’t belong to you. Wow, specific. It wasn’t until the mid sixteenth century that it started to mean what we use it as. In any case, it’s either from intrusion (which showed up in the late fourteenth century) or directly from the classical Latin intrudere, to thrust. The in- means in (shocking!) and the trudere is the thrust, so thrust in. Which is pretty intrusive. Plus there’s also extrude, which means to thrust out, the ex- of course, being the out part.

Finally today, we’re looking at protrude. It showed up in the early seventeenth century (and protrusion not until the middle of the century), initially meaning thrust forward before it meant something that sticks out. It’s from the classical Latin protrudere, which means protrude or push, the pro- meaning forward and the trudere… well, you know. Thrust forward. I guess something that’s protruding is being pushed (or thrust) out?


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November Goals

Ooh, this is going to be a bad one, I can tell. October was a tough month. It seemed like there was constantly something going on, I wasn’t sleeping well and tired all the time, and, oh yeah, it finished off with a power outage that meant I couldn’t use my electronics. Because it’s not like I need those!

It was a frustrating month and I’m glad to see it gone.

October Goals
1. Write in my WIP! Please actually finish it this time!
I’m sad/frustrated to say that I didn’t work on it at all. I couldn’t figure out anything I wanted to write so rather than push it, I ignored it for a month in hopes that I would feel better about it later. I guess that’s kind of true.

2. Halloween spooky stuff, yay!
At least I did this!

3. Rake the pine needles. Yes, it’s that time of year again.
Okay, I did it, but I’ve only barely started. But this one’s not my fault. The first have of the month was so warm that the pine needles weren’t dropping, which means I can’t exactly rake them. So I’m going to have to finish this one this month, too.

Man, October sucked.

November Goals
1. Sigh. Write in the book. Let’s see how badly I’ll fail it this month.

2. Thanksgiving. Ugh, did anyone feel a foreboding chill just now?

3. Go through some old projects and notes and see if anything’s worth salvaging.

What are you up to this month? Are you hoping it’s better than October, too?

Saturday, November 4, 2017


It’s possible that I eat too fast.
I’m pretty sure it was chocolate. Like ninety five percent.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Language of Confusion: Middles

I did highs and I was going to do lows next, but then Liz reminded me that middles exist. Yeah, she does a lot of prompting for this blog.

Middle comes from the Old English middel, which of course means middle and… is it just me or does the spelling make way more sense? Anyway, it comes from the West Germanic middila, Proto Germanic medjaz, and Proto Indo European medhyo-, which again, means middle, and is the origin of a hell of a lot of words with mid and med in them, like medium and medieval and some without, like milieu and Mesopotamia. What a weirdly eclectic word. And speaking of medium…

Medium showed up in the late sixteenth century and comes from the classical Latin medium, which means half. Or, you know, middle. After it showed up as middle, it somehow got turned into “intermediate agency” or “channel of communication”. Maybe like a metaphorical halfway point? I don’t know. And like I said, medium is also from medhyo-.

You’d expect this one to be related to middle, and it is. It’s also from Old English, where it means with or by means of, and it’s traced back to medjaz and medhyo. Midst is also related, having shown up in the fifteenth century from the Middle English middes. Not much else to say here.

Center showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning the middle of a circle or a point around which things revolve. It’s from the Old French centre and classical Latin centrum, center, which originally meant the fixed point of a drafting compass. Did you ever use one of those in math class? Boy, were they tedious. Anyway, like most things, Latin stole the word from the Greek kentron, which could mean center as well as a sharp point (like in a compass!). And that word is traced to the Proto Indo European kent-, to prick. No snickering. Okay, some snickering. Fun fact of the day, the –er ending of center is older than the –re ending!

Half comes from the Old English half/halb/healf (depends on which dialect), which just meant half, but could also mean side or part instead of equal halves. It’s from the Proto Germanic halbaz, something divided, and might be related to the Proto Indo European skel-, to cut, but that isn’t certain. Funny how it used to mean only part of something!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Short and Spooky

This was Liz’s idea, prompted from last week’s mention of two-sentence short stories. These ones are written by yours truly.

My Two-Sentence Short Stories
Last night, I was alone in the house and so I double checked to make sure everything was locked up tight. Then when I was in bed trying to sleep, I heard the window next to me sliding open.

The doctors wouldn’t believe me when I told them there were spiders in my skull. They changed their minds when I drilled a hole in my head and they came pouring out.

After hours of scratching, I clawed my way out of my grave. But everyone ran away when they saw the decomposing flesh falling off my body.

That’s what I came up with! Can you think of a good two-sentence short story? And to finish off Halloween month, here’s a puzzle game where you dip a pumpkin in inks in an attempt to create a certain pattern. It’s super cute and fairly easy, although the higher levels will take some thinking to figure out. The only real drawback is that there’s only sixteen levels.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Language of Confusion: More Death Related Words

Because sometimes I can’t think of pithy titles.

Assassin showed up in the mid sixteenth century, coming to English via French and Italian but originally from Arabic, where it was hashishiyyin. That word actually meant “hashish users”, because apparently during the Crusades there was a sect of people who got high on hashish and murdered the opposition. Not really assassinate, though, so it’s weird that we gave it a different connotation. Fun fact, Middle English actually had it as the word hassais, which in terms of pronunciation is definitely closer to the original Arabic.

Slaughter is really just laughter with an S on the front. Anyway, it showed up in the fourteenth century as a word that could mean the killing of cattle/sheep for food or the killing of a person. It comes from the Scandinavian word slahtr, which is close to the Old Norse slatr, butchering meat. That’s from the Proto Germanic slukhtis, which is related to sla, the origin word for slay, from the Proto Indo European slak-, to strike. Well, it’s hard to kill something without striking it. Hard, but not impossible.

Injury showed up in the late fourteenth century, while just injure showed up in the mid fifteenth century. It’s from the Anglo French injurie, wrongful action, and related to the OldFrench injuriier, damage or offend, and before that the classical Latin [http://omniglot.com/writing/latin2.htm] iniuria, which could mean injury as well as a wrong or injustice. It’s made up of the prefix in-, opposite of, and iurius comes from ius, right (like a right, not the direction :P). An injury is an opposite of a right… right?

Maim showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French mahaignier, wound, mutilate, cripple, or disarm. So pretty much what we use it as today. It’s thought to be from the Vulgar Latin  mahanare, but it’s not certain and anywhere else it may be from (like related to mad) is even more speculative.

Attack is the most recent of these words, having not shown up until the seventeenth century. It’s from the French (that’s modern French) attaquer, which in turn is from Florentine Italian (a dialect spoke specifically in Florence) attaccare battaglia, join battle. It’s actually related to the word attach, but weirdly enough not with the affix definition we use with it, which is from somewhere else entirely.

Words are very confusing sometimes. A lot of the time.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Scary Stories

Subtitle, that you can, but probably shouldn’t, tell in the dark.

I’ve discovered several new short stories of the pants-crapping variety. And what else can I do but share them with you?

By one of my favorite writers. Ninety nine percent of his work is the kind of stuff that grosses you out. This story is not, and it’s also way more horrifying.

Honestly, I thought the first part was the best and a creepier story on its own. But feel free to check out the rest and see for yourself.

It’s actually a poem, and a surprisingly good one at that. Really well done.

It reminds me a lot of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Finally, be sure to check out these two sentence horror stories. I can’t really talk more about them since that would give everything away. I mean, they are only two sentences after all.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Spider Size

I hate spiders. They have too many legs and are gross.
Maybe this is a lazy comic. Maybe it’s just an excuse to copy and paste the same image over and over again. But it’s also true.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Language of Confusion: More Deaths

First of all, the Online Etymology Dictionary updated its website and it’s awesome. Second of all, more death related words!

Drown showed up in the fourteenth century. It’s thought to be from the Old English druncnian, swallowed up by water, and possibly related to druncen, which means drunk (as in intoxicated) and drincan, to drink. And yes, that’s the origin word for drink, which is where drench comes from.

Starve comes from the Old English steorfan, which actually means to die, believe it or not, coming from the Proto Germanic sterban, to be stiff. It didn’t mean die from hunger until the sixteenth century, where “starve from hunger” was a phrase for several centuries. I guess they eventually dropped the last part, which makes sense. We have plenty of words for die but no other one specifically related to dying from a lack of food.

Bludgeon, a word I don’t get to use nearly enough, showed up in the 1730s with no real known origin. Some think it might be from the Dutch blusden, but they aren’t really sure. I posit that someone said it by accident once and it was so fun to say that everyone picked up on it.

Poison showed up in the thirteenth century as a noun and a century later as a verb. It’s from the Old French poison/puison, which was a drink, usually medical but sometimes also in the magic potion sense. Before that it was the classical Latin potionem, medicine, which, I mean, yeah, obviously that’s where potion is from. Anyway, potionem comes from potare, to water or to drink, which is from the Proto Indo European root word poi-, the origin of a weird number of words that you wouldn’t expect. Like, you’ve got imbibe on that list, and beer, and also symposium. And finally, fun fact of the day: in Old English the word for poison was ator!

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Scary Movies 2017

More Halloween spooktacular fun! This week: movies.

Hell House LLC
This is pretty standard found footage fare, but it does manage to bring with it some genuinely creepy moments. A group of people are documenting their creation of a Halloween house, which happens to take place in a notorious hotel. Creepy stuff starts happening, obviously. There’s nothing new here, but I liked it and would suggest giving it a try if you’re having a scary movie night.

The Void
This movie is pretty bad in terms of story, characters, acting, and pretty much everything else. Its one shining asset is the amazing special effects used to create the monsters. I would recommend this only because it’s watchable enough to endure so you can enjoy some really cool monsters. If you like eighties horror movies, this will be right up your alley.

Mr. Jones
Okay, if I’m being honest, I put this movie on the list because I have no idea what the hell it was about and I’m hoping that if someone else watches it, they’ll be able to figure it out. If it had more focus, it might have actually been good. The basic plot is that a couple discovers that a man living out in the woods is a mysterious artist who sends creepy figures to random people, something which is never really explained. Which…yeah, “never really explained” sums up most of the movie. You get some hints and some speculation, but not nearly enough. I’m not someone who needs every little thing explained in great detail, but something would have been nice. So skip it unless you want to see some creepy imagery.

Dark Skies
Probably the movie here that I most enjoyed. It’s a typical alien abduction story, this time involving a whole family, and it has some of the usual horror movie tropes, i.e. the dad refusing to accept that it’s true after everyone else has. But it’s still enjoyable and genuinely creepy at times, and everything about it felt well done. Definitely try it out.

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House
This Netflix original is about the caregiver of an elderly writer, but it’s also about the writer’s most famous novel, about a ghost that might very well live in the house. It’s, well, atmospheric. I guess that’s the best thing I can say about it. I liked it, but it’s probably not something I’d watch again, and I have to say I doubt a lot of people would enjoy it. If you want a gothic ghost story in the modern era, this is definitely it.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Sometimes my mom makes me go walking with her. One time I found a really neat looking feather. Another time…

It ended up just being a statue, but it was hard to tell unless you were really close. And I never did find whatever it was that ran across the road.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Language of Confusion: Feelings of Worry

These feelings certainly feel appropriate for Halloween season. At least to me.

Worry used a lot as a noun these days, but it didn’t appear as one until 1804. Before that it was just a verb, coming from the Old English wyrgan, which actually means to strangle. It comes from the Proto Germanic wurgjan and Proto Indo European wer-, turn or bend, a word that’s the origin of a ton of other words. Just so many.

One of my least favorite words, anxiety showed up in the early-mid sixteenth century from the classical Latin anxietatem, anxiety. Anxious didn’t show up until a century later, coming from the Latin anxius, worried, which is related to angere, writhe, and anguere, snake. Um, the verb snake, not the reptile. Although I think that’s where the name for the reptile comes from. Anyway, the word can be further traced back to the Proto Indo European angh-, which is where we get anger, and also angst. Speaking of which...

Angst is a very young word, having shown up in 1944. It started as a term in psychology that came from the German word angst, which just means anxiety. And as I said, it can be traced to angh-.

Nervous showed up in the fifteenth century, where it meant “affecting the sinews”, which apparently can mean a tendon or asource of power (I’ve heard that word but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it used). Of course it’s related to nerve, coming from the classical Latin nervosus and nervus, which means sinew. That word seems to be popping up a lot here.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Scary Games

Because it’s that time of year again.

You Find Yourself In A Room
Not so much scary as it is psychological, this game is a text based adventure, where you type in words and the game responds almost like a story. Except in this case the game hates you. There are a few puzzles, but they are very simple. Mostly it’s just typing “look” and the game yelling at you. Anyway, it’s a fun, if weird, way to pass the time. Be warned, there is some swearing in this.

Don’t Escape
In a twist on the escape the room genre, in these three games you want to be locked in as securely as possible. They’re a mix of time management and point-and-click, and manage to be both tense and enjoyable. Go check them out when you have some time.

Deep Sleep
I’ve actually mentioned this game and its sequel before, but now the third and final game is out and you can play through the entire series. They are very atmospheric games, Lovecraftian almost. You know, without the racism.

You doing anything Halloween-y this month? Anything scary you want to share? 

Saturday, October 7, 2017


I imagine doing this a lot.
It would be much more satisfying if they didn’t have the brain of an insect.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Language of Confusion: Murderous Methods

Time for more etymology of scary things! Today’s topic: ways to kill someone.

Stab first showed up in the late fourteenth century, interestingly enough coming to us from Scottish the word stob, which also means stab. I think this is the first time I’ve ever featured a word of Scottish origin here. I can’t believe they’re the ones we have to thank for it!

Shoot comes from the Old English sceotan, which could mean shoot or drag or even move quickly. Makes sense since shooting does happen quickly. Anyway, it comes from the Proto Germanic skeutanan, which is from the Proto Indo European skeund-, shoot, chase, or throw and is the origin of words like sheet (seriously), shout, shut, and shuttle. But it’s the sheet one that really gets to me.

Strangle showed up in the late thirteenth century from the Old French estrangler and before that the classical Latin strangulare, which you know just means strangle. They took it from the Greek strangalan, choke or twist, from strangos, twisted. That word can in turn be traced back to the Proto Indo European strenk-, narrow or twist, and the origin word for string. Which you can use to strangle someone with!

Choke showed up in the fourteenth century as another word for strangle before morphing into to suffocate, like from swallowing something. Choke is actually from a former English word, acheken, from the Old English aceocian, choke or suffocate. Before that, it’s thought to come from another Old English word, ceoke, which means…cheek.

Suffocate showed up in the early fifteenth century, coming straight from the classical Latin suffocatus, which meant deprive from air. Or, you know, suffocate. It comes from the verb suffocare, to suffocate or smother, a mix of the prefix sub-, from under, and fauces, throat. And the origin of faucet! That makes more sense than mixing from under and throat and getting suffocate.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October Goals

Wow, it’s October already, and I got like nothing done. Ugh, sometimes these goals posts are so depressing.

September Goals
1. Again, finish the book. It could actually happen this time!
Except it didn’t. I hardly worked on it at all. Part of me feels bad about it, but the other part is too exhausted to care.

2. Update the etymology page again. I always forget this and then I have a million words to do and it’s a pain.
At least I did this.

3. Make some new cross stitch patterns. Shut up! I like it! Don’t you judge me!
And this.

Not good considering that I didn’t do the most important thing. I don’t know why it’s getting so hard to just finish it. Sigh…

Anyway, this month.

October Goals
1. Write in my WIP! Please actually finish it this time!

2. Halloween spooky stuff, yay!

3. Rake the pine needles. Yes, it’s that time of year again.

Stupid pine needles. Although I might not have to rake them until the end of the month considering how hot it’s been lately. So what are you up to this month? Anything fun?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Look Up

One night, after Peaches got out, I kept hearing her meowing but when I looked out the door I couldn’t find her anywhere.

She got off the neighbor’s roof all right, so I wasn’t worried.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Language of Confusion: Working Words

And now, synonyms for work. Because…I don’t know. Pretend I had a reason.

As a noun, work comes from the Old English weorc/worc, which basically just means work. It’s from the Proto Germanic werkan, also work, and before that the Proto Indo European werg-o, to do. The verb of the word has a slightly different origin. It’s actually a mix of two Old English words, wyrcan (cause, achieve, or make) and wircan, which is from a different dialect and can mean operate, function, or set in motion. Both words are from the Proto Germanic werkan, but it’s amusing to see how the words divided and joined back together like that.

Toil showed up in the early fourteenth century as both a noun and a verb, which was actually spelled toilen. The slight difference follows the word back in history, as in Anglo French the verb is toiller, meaning pull or drag, and the noun is toil, from toiler, to agitate. What a difference an L can make. But both words are from the Old French toeillier, drag around or make dirty. Before that they’re thought to be from the classical Latin tudiculare, crush with a hammer. That doesn’t make much sense, but neither does toil now meaning work hard these days.

Labor showed up in the fourteenth century, coming from the Old French laborer and classical Latin laborare, work. Nothing super interesting about this one, although labor did used to mean to plow back in the French. Weird how some uses of the word don’t get passed along.

Job is a relatively late word, not having shown up until the mid seventeenth century. It actually comes from a sixteenth century phrase, “jobbe of worke”, meaning a single task. Before that, no one’s really sure where it came from, although one theory is that it’s from gob. It’s hard to believe that such a common word these days just kind of popped into existence.

As a noun, Employ didn’t show up until the mid seventeenth century, but the verb showed up two centuries earlier meaning to expend or to apply something for some purpose. It comes from the Old French emploiier and classical Latin implicare, which sounds like implicate because it means implicate. It’s actually a mix of the prefix en-, in, and plicare, to fold. To employ is to fold in. And guess what, imply is from the exact same word. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Totally Legit Comments

Last week (Monday, in fact, right before my last spam post was due to go up) I got a spate of comments on my last month of blog posts. There were about fifteen, all from someone named “Koi” with a bunch of Thai letters at the bottom. So yeah. Spam.

I’ve gotten tons of fake comments before, usually in barely comprehensible English. But these were perfectly readable. In fact, they seemed familiar.

Kate might recognize this, as she’s the one who said it first. They were all cribbed from other comments. From the same post even! How lazy is that? A lot of them were generic enough that I would not have recognized them right away. But then there are ones like this:

Podcasts while knitting…sounds an awful lot like Liz. Sure enough, she’s the one who actually said this.

Alex would certainly agree with you, considering he said the exact same thing.

Andrew added a few more words when he made this post. Several of them were like this, just taking pieces of the original. As if I’m not going to notice. Maybe it would have been less suspicious if they didn’t upload all their comments on the exact same day, most on posts that were weeks old.

This isn’t an isolated incident since William mentioned that the same thing happened to him. Any of you had any crazy comments lately? Do you think the spammers really believe we’re not going to notice?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Not A Clue

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen me remark on how my glasses broke. Like, right down the bridge. I don’t have glasses now, I have two half glasses.
Thankfully I now have my new glasses. That I will be keeping far away from fat cats.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Language of Confusion: More Tops

And now more words for top, this time focusing on peaks.

Peak didn’t specifically mean the top of a mountain until the seventeenth century, although it actually a century earlier meaning a pointed top. When it showed up then it was a variant of pike, a long pointy stick, which in turn is from pick, which somehow leads us back to pike again. They’re all related is what I’m getting at. Peak has no further origins, but pick and pike have further histories that I’m sure I’ll get to someday. I know this is a bit of a cop out but oh well :P.

Maybe this one won’t trail off to nowhere. Apex first showed up in the seventeenth century from the classical Latin apex, which means point. Or, you know, apex. It’s thought to be related to the verb apere, to fasten or fix, from the Proto Indo European word ap-, to take or reach. The reason that an apex is the tip of something is because in Latin it was also a word for “the small rod at the top of the flamen’s cap”. It was…fastened onto the tip.

Acme showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Greek akme, which of course means acme. It can be traced all the way back to the Proto Indo European ak-ma-, where the prefix ak- means be sharp or rise out. No great mysteries here! But it is a fun word to say.

Summit is the earliest of these wrods, having showed up in the fifteenth century. It comes from the Middle French somete and Old French somete. Which, yeah, just means summit, but it’s actually the diminutive of som/sum, the top of a hill. Before that, it was the classical Latin summum, summit, from summus, high, which is related to super, on or over, and yes that’s where super comes from. It’s actually from the Proto Indo European root *uper, which means over, which gave us words like hyper and over, as well as super, summit, and even sum. Man, I should do a post on all the uper words.

Whew. That was quite a wild ride, wasn’t it?


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

From The Spamfiles

It’s been a while. I think. Maybe. Anyway, here it is again!

If Veronica could send email, this is exactly what she would send. Only more desperate.

"We here by today receive this payment". So close to sounding like a real person! Seriously, the first AI to pass the Turing test is going to be a spambot. Just you watch.

There was a period where I was getting at least one of these a day, all with the same message, all with different email addresses. I’m really kind of confused as to what they’re trying to do here. Also, we all know who the real evil bitch is, and it’s the person who ends “You know what” with an exclamation point instead of a question mark.

Ignoring the fact that it says “responde” and the two differing prices…who the hell spends more than eight hundred dollars on a lamp?!?!

How about he take responsibility for his own happiness and not expect a woman to do it for him, hmmm?

Also, I’ve gotten like five spams in the past month all from someone named Melissa. Or Mellissa. Why is every spammer named Melissa all of a sudden?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Think She Does It On Purpose

This is a lot of what my birthday is like.

Seriously. Just let me pick out my own clothes.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Language of Confusion: Tops

And now words for things that are above.

The earliest top was probably the noun version, meaning the highest point of something. It started as the Old English top, which means, well, top. And it comes from the Proto Germanic tuppaz, but before that it’s a big old question mark. All the other tops come from it, like the spinning kind of top, to top something off (which showed up at some point between the mid fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), and the adjective (end of the sixteenth century). How disappointingly boring.

The earliest known tip showed up in the thirteenth century and meant to strike or occur suddenly—it might be related to tap), and it’s where we get things like tipping point or tip one’s hand. It’s thought to be related to the Middle Low German tip, which is significant because that’s where the tip that we all know as meaning the end of something. That tip didn’t show up until the fifteenth century and in addition to being Middle Low German is probably Scandinavian in some way. I have to admit, I had no idea that the first tip had that definition. I always wondered why a tip-off was called that.

Above comes from the Middle English above/aboven, which was also pronounced aboun or abow. In any case, the word comes from the Old English abufan, above [https://en.glosbe.com/ang/en/abufan], which was originally onbufan. See, that bufan means above or over, and the on unsurprisingly means on (it turns out that there are a lot of words where the on- turned into a-, like asleep and alive). Bufan is actually a mix of be, which means by and ufan, which once again just means above and is from the Proto Germanic ufan- and Proto Indo European upo, under. More on that in a second, but basically above is a nesting doll of words meaning above.

Up comes from the Old English up or uppe, which we all know just means up. It comes from the Proto Germanic upp-, and that’s from upo, too. Since upo could also mean “up from under”, it morphed into over in places and now we have up. And above, apparently.

High comes from the Old English heh or heah, both meaning high but with what I have to call way more sensible spellings. Heh and heah come from the Proto Germanic haukhaz, which is “uncertain in origin” (i.e. they don’t know where it came from). The reason it has the g in there is because it was supposed to have a guttural sound in it, but apparently people stopped saying it that way and never bothered to update the spelling. Fun fact, there used to be another high that meant thought or understanding, but it hasn’t been used since the thirteenth century.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Writing Update

Since this blog was supposedly started to talk about writing, maybe I should talk about it a little?

My writing pace has slowed way down (obvs), because unfortunately I’ve been so tired at the end of the day, mostly mentally, and just want to have some fun and relax. Also I really need to have a show on in the background while I write and my streaming has been terribly choppy lately. I know that’s a stupid thing to complain about as a deterrent for writing but IT’S TRUE.

I like the book I’m writing. It’s getting near the end now. I want to set up for the final confrontation although I haven’t quite figured out how that’s going to happen. I mean, I know what will happen when it does, I’m just not sure how to get to that point. I’ve been really pantsing this one. I’ve already made a bunch of notes of things I need to add in editing. Editing! Oh man, I hate to think what that will be like. This first draft is a steaming hot mess. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be editing for the rest of my life.

I also have ideas about what I might want to write next. Several well-formed ideas that I’m not sure if I want to write, one interesting but barely there idea that will likely never get written, and one, the most likely next candidate, that could be good if I can get it past the idea stage. We’ll see.

So that’s the situation here. What’s your writing like? Any good ideas brewing?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

While I Was Away

Sometimes you just wish you could stay away.

I call those times “2017”.
Haven’t done one of these jokes in a while. Kind of a different reason than usual, too.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Language of Confusion: Merge

Kind of a short one this week. My mind’s not fully back from vacation yet.

Merge showed up in the mid seventeenth century, so not all that long ago in etymology terms. It comes from the classical Latin mergere, which actually means things like immerse, dip in, plunge, or…drown. This is turning out to be my kind of word! It’s thought to come from the Proto Indo European mezg-, which means dip or plunge, where it was rhotacized, which basically means that they shoved an R in there for no particular reason. As to why it means combine these days, it probably is because in the eighteenth century it became a legal term for “absorb an estate, contract, etc. into another”. I guess that’s plunging in?

Emerge showed up in the mid sixteenth century, making it older than merge up there. It comes from the Middle French √©merger and classical Latin emergere, rise or bring forth. See, the e comes from ex-, which means out here, while the merge is dip in. So instead of dip in, it’s dip out. Or dip in out? And there’s also emergency, which also comes from emergere. Just with a -ency after it. I guess an emergency is something that rises up suddenly.

Finally, submerge showed up in the seventeenth century from the French submerger and classical Latin submergere, sink. Pretty straight forward here. The sub- means under, so with merge it’s to dip or plunge under. I think this one made more sense than the other two.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September Goals

Well, I’m back. Back doing stuff. Writing. Editing. Working. And it sucks.

So goals or whatever.

August Goals
1. Finish the book! I don’t know how many more words it’s going to be, but I think I’m getting close to the end. The final confrontation is close…
I didn’t finish it, because of course not, but I did get quite a bit done. I’m almost there!

2. Again, start outlining it. There’s a bunch of stuff I need to figure out.
Hey, I actually did this! It’s a miracle! Plus I figured stuff out! WOO!

3. BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not enough cake.

And now, for this month.

September Goals
1. Again, finish the book. It could actually happen this time!

2. Update the etymology page again. I always forget this and then I have a million words to do and it’s a pain.

3. Make some new cross stitch patterns. Shut up! I like it! Don’t you judge me!

So that’s what I have planned. What are you up to this month?