70 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
  2. Nov 2021
    1. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and I can only imagine the conversation between Eve and Skywoman: “Sister, you got the short end of the stick . . .”

      It's a bit funny and ironic to think that the communal/peaceful Skywoman would use such a Western-centric phrase like "short end of the stick", which as I understand it has an economic underpinning of a receipt by which the debtor and the lender used marked sticks that were broken apart with one somewhat shorter than the other. When put back together the marks on the stick matched each other, but the debtor got the shorter end. (Reference: Behavioral Economics When Psychology and Economics Collide by Scott A. Huettel; what was his source?)

      Compare with etymologies expanded upon here:

      The Long Story of The Short End of the Stick by Charles Clay Doyle. American Speech, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Spring, 1994), pp. 96-101 (6 pages), Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/455954

      Which doesn't include the economic reference at all.

    1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/455954

      Charles Clay Doyle (1994). The Long Story of The Short End of the Stick. American Speech, 69(1), 96–101. doi:10.2307/455954

    2. Lexicographers often show more credulity in positing origins of phrases than they ever would in reporting the etymologies of individual words.
    3. er the years, writers (and speakers) have experimented with numer- ous images in expressions with the same general structure and probable meaning as worse end of the staff and short end of the stick

      Not mentioned here is the idea of the "fuzzy end of the lollipop" as heard (twice?) by the character Sugar Kane Kowalczyk played by Marylin Monroe in Some Like it Hot (United Artists, 1959).

      It's the story of my life: I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop."


      The urban dictionary has an unsourced reference for Abraham Lincoln as the source, but I'm loathe to believe it without more direct sourcing.

  3. Sep 2021
    1. nabled Tristram to date his conception very exactly. It also provoked The Clockmaker's Outcry against the Author: The directions I had for making several clocks for the country are counter- manded; because no modest lady now dares to mention a word about winding- up a clock, without exposing herself to the sly leers and jokes of the family ... Nay, the common expression of street-walkers is, "Sir, will you have your clock wound up

      It also provoked The Clockmaker's Outcry against the author:

      [...] Nay, the common expression of street-walkers is, "Sir, will you have your clock wound up?"

      I've actually heard the euphemism clock in a sexual setting in my youth, but never heard the origin. This is the likely source. It's been 20 years or more since I've heard this in common speech though.

  4. Aug 2021
  5. May 2021
    1. gilding

      Any chance he's chosen this word--from among the several dozen or so at his disposal--for its homophonic play with "gelding"? Any chance at all? Betcha . . .

  6. Mar 2021
    1. Originally he had used the terms usage scenarios and usage case – the latter a direct translation of his Swedish term användningsfall – but found that neither of these terms sounded natural in English, and eventually he settled on use case.
    1. The word authority in authority control derives from the idea that the names of people, places, things, and concepts are authorized, i.e., they are established in one particular form.
    1. The term taxon was first used in 1926 by Adolf Meyer-Abich for animal groups, as a backformation from the word Taxonomy
  7. Feb 2021
    1. Good intentions, but I doubt there's any relation of the origin of the terms blacklist/whitelist to race. There are many idioms and phrases in the English language that make use of colours without any racial backstories. I haven't met any black person (myself included) who was ever offended by the use of "blacklist".
  8. Oct 2020
  9. Jun 2020
  10. Feb 2019
    1. duce

      It's really cool to see "reduce" used this way. I've never seen it like this in English, but it makes perfect sense.

      "duce" is from "ducere" which means "to lead." "reduce" is "to lead again."

      Actually, now that I ponder it, I'm having trouble seeing the metaphor we employ when we use it today.

      Edit: Holy smokes ok so the metaphor is "leading back to a more primordial state." Fascinating.

    1. &

      story time.

      "&" is a contraction of sorts of "et," the Latin word meaning "and." "&" used to be at the end of the alphabet, and was pronounced "and." When people would say the alphabet, they'd say "y, z, and per se 'and'." Over time, "and per se and" was corrupted to "ampersand."

    2. ecording

      from re- meaning "again" and cor, "heart." The word was originally active ("I call it back to my heart"), but over time took a passive form ("It is recalled back to my heart") in the Latin. Funny that it has retaken an active sense in English.

      But of note for me is the fact that the word, albeit metaphorical, has an origin in the life of the body, not the mind.

  11. Jan 2019
  12. Sep 2018
  13. May 2017
  14. Apr 2017
    1. salient

      Etymology of "Salient"

      In the past, "salient" meant "to leap," an action. I find this interesting, because according to Vatz, a rhetor must actively create salience. A leap also implies more effort or action than, say, walking. So again, to make something salient requires active, extra effort on behalf of the rhetor.

    1. kairos

      The definition of kairos is "a propitious moment for decision or action," but I was wondering if the etymology would yield anything interesting. Nope.

      Etymology: "1930s: Greek, literally ‘opportunity.’"

    1. terremotes

      etymology: borrowed from Latin terraemotus (earthquake)

      In this scenario, meaning "rocks/earth".

    2. identity.

      c. 1600, "sameness, oneness, state of being the same," from Middle French identité (14c.), from Medieval Latin identitatem (nominative identitas) "sameness," ultimately from Latin idem (neuter) "the same" (see idem). [For discussion of Latin formation, see entry in OED.] Earlier form of the word in English was idemptitie (1560s), from Medieval Latin idemptitas. Term identity crisis first recorded 1954. Identity theft attested from 1995.

    1. signification"

      Etymology of signification: early 14c., "symbolization, representation," from Old French significacion and directly from Latin significationem (nominative significatio) "a signifying, indication, expression, sign, token, meaning, emphasis," noun of action from past participle stem of significare "make known, indicate" (see signify). From late 14c. as "meaning" (of a word, etc.).

      I thought it would be interesting to look at the etymology of "signification" (as it is a main topic of this essay) because Gates has been discussing the diverging meanings of the word in different rhetorics. It is unsurprising that the etymology defined here comes from the "white rhetoric" tradition, as described by Gates. I suppose upon further search and inquiry I could possibly find the meaning of "signification" as defined within African American rhetoric, but it would require a lot of extra effort on my part. This lack of available definition demonstrates the "glossing over" of the African American culture in the United States and the general lack of knowledge and understanding on behalf of the majority of white Americans, and is a reminder of the ignorance that is very much alive in the US.

      This reading has encouraged me to think a lot more on divergent cultural rhetorics and how awareness and acknowledgement of the validity of different rhetorics is crucial to any progress that is to be made in race relations in the US.

  15. Mar 2017
    1. lexicon

      Today's definition: a book of words, dictionary

    2. heuristic,

      The definition of heuristic is roughly "allowing someone to learn something for themselves" but I was interested in the etymology.

      Apparently, it's "early 19th century: formed irregularly from Greek heuriskein ‘find.’" I wonder if this is where we get the phrase "to find out."

    1. change

      early 13c., "to substitute one for another; to make (something) other than what it was" (transitive); from late 13c. as "to become different" (intransitive), from Old French changier "to change, alter; exchange, switch," from Late Latin cambiare "to barter, exchange," from Latin cambire "to exchange, barter," of Celtic origin, from PIE root *kemb- "to bend, crook" (with a sense evolution perhaps from "to turn" to "to change," to "to barter"); cognate with Old Irish camm "crooked, curved;" Middle Irish cimb "tribute," cimbid "prisoner;" see cant (n.2). Meaning "to take off clothes and put on other ones" is from late 15c. Related: Changed; changing. To change (one's) mind is from 1610s.

    1. histories

      Etymology of history (n): late 14c., "relation of incidents" (true or false), from Old French estoire, estorie "story; chronicle, history" (12c., Modern French histoire), from Latin historia "narrative of past events, account, tale, story," from Greek historia "a learning or knowing by inquiry; an account of one's inquiries, history, record, narrative," from historein "inquire," from histor "wise man, judge," from PIE wid-tor-, from root weid- "to know," literally "to see" (see vision).

      Related to Greek idein "to see," and to eidenai "to know." In Middle English, not differentiated from story (n.1); sense of "narrative record of past events" probably first attested late 15c. Meaning "the recorded events of the past" is from late 15c. As a branch of knowledge, from late 15c.

    2. narrative

      Etymology of narrative (adj): mid-15c., from Middle French narratif, from Late Latin narrativus "suited to narration," from Latin narrat-, stem of narrare

      Etymology of narrative (n): "a tale, story," 1560s, from Middle French narrative and from narrative (adj.).

      Etymology of Narration (n): early 15c., from Old French narracion "account, statement, a relating, recounting, narrating, narrative tale," and directly from Latin narrationem (nominative narratio) "a relating, narrative," noun of action from past participle stem of narrare "to tell, relate, recount, explain," literally "to make acquainted with," from gnarus "knowing," from PIE suffixed zero-grade gne-ro-, from root gno- "to know

    1. dialectic
    2. trivium

      Definition: "grammar, rhetoric, and logic," the first three of the seven liberal arts in the Middle Ages, considered initiatory and foundational to the other four: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music.

      Etymology: From Latin "trivium," tri (three) + via (road); a place where three roads meet.

      Wikipedia has it broken down as "grammar, logic, and rhetoric" = "input, process, and output." This is pretty consistent with Enlightenment thinking that logic is the process and rhetoric is the presentation. I'm interested in how this gets appropriated to a trivium of "syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics."

    1. unperturbed

      early 15c., from un- (1) "not" + past participle of perturb (v.)


      late 14c., from Old French perturber "disturb, confuse" (14c.) and directly from Latin perturbare "to confuse, disorder, disturb," especially of states of the mind, from per "through" (see per) + turbare "disturb, confuse," from turba "turmoil, crowd" (see turbid). Related: Perturbed; perturbing.

  16. Feb 2017
    1. grist for his mill,

      Ah, yes, "grist for his mill," that phrase we all know!

      I was really thrown by this phrase, so I thought others might find this helpful:

      If you say that something is grist to the mill, you mean that it is useful for a particular purpose or helps support someone's point of view.

      def. anything that can be turned to profit or advantage

      Etymology notes: Grist is the corn that is brought to a mill to be ground into flour. In the days when farmers took 'grist to the mill' the phrase would have been used literally to denote produce that was a source of profit.

    1. datum


      ˈdādəm,ˈdadəm/ noun 1. a piece of information. 2. a fixed starting point of a scale or operation.

      I thought the etymology was interesting, too: From the Latin dare (to give). The Latin datum (something given), brings us to the mid 18th century usage of datum (a given).

    1. concepts

      etymology of concept: 1550s, from Medieval Latin conceptum "draft, abstract," in classical Latin "(a thing) conceived," from concep-, past participle stem of concipere "to take in" (see conceive). In some 16c. cases a refashioning of conceit

    2. gnat

      Old English gnæt "gnat, midge, small flying insect," earlier gneat, from Proto-Germanic *gnattaz (source also of Low German gnatte, German Gnitze); perhaps literally "biting insect" and related to gnaw.

      The gnatte is a litil fflye, and hatte culex he soukeþ blood and haþ in his mouþ a pipe, as hit were a pricke. And is a-countid a-mong volatiles and greueþ slepinge men wiþ noyse & wiþ bytinge and wakeþ hem of here reste. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]

      Gnat-catcher, insectivorous bird of the U.S. woodlands, is from 1823.

    3. hitherto

      From Middle English hiderto, corresponding to hither +‎ to.


      Old English hider, from Proto-Germanic hideran (source also of Old Norse heðra "here," Gothic hidre "hither"), from Germanic demonstrative base hi- (compare he, here). Spelling change from -d- to -th- is the same evolution seen in father, etc. Relation to here is the same as that of thither to there.

    4. metaphors

      Nietzsche seems to have some degree of curiosity concerning this term.

      The etymology of "metaphor": late 15th century, from Middle French metaphore (Old French metafore, 13th century), and directly from Latin metaphora, from Greek metaphora "a transfer," especially of the sense of one word to a different word, literally "a carrying over," from metapherein "transfer, carry over; change, alter; to use a word in a strange sense," from meta "over, across" + pherein "to carry, bear"

      The role of the term "transfer" in the evolution of this word is curious, as it suggests a certain level of action implicit in metaphor... metaphor as an activity.

    1. desideratum

      Etymology: desiderare (Latin) --> desideratum (Latin) mid 17th century: from Latin, ‘something desired,’ neuter past participle of desiderare (see desiderate)

      Definition: something that is needed or wanted.

    2. Heiglw

      Um, what?! I had no idea, until this very moment, that heigh-ho was an actual word and not a nonsense-sound for the Seven Dwarves to sing.

      Def. used typically to express boredom, weariness, or sadness or sometimes as a cry of encouragement

      Etymology: The phrase "Heigh-Ho" was first recorded in 1553 and is defined as an expression of "yawning, sighing, languor, weariness, disappointment". Eventually, it blended meanings with the similarly spelled "hey-ho".

    1. perspicuity

      Etymology: late 15c., of things; 1540s, of expressions, from Latin perspicuitas "transparency, clearness," from perspicuus, from perspicere "look through, look closely at"

      I looked this up because there was an embarrassingly long moment in which I understood "(or economy)" as a synonymous suggestion, taking the phrase "perspicuity (or economy)" to mean something like "finance and economic concerns," which made no sense in context. In retrospect, I was clearly thinking of the word "pecuniary," but I thought I'd keep the etymology available in case anyone else had a similar moment of confusion. Concision. They just wanted concision.

    1. "Belles Lettres,

      etymology: 18th c. French; "fine letters" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petitio%20principii

    2. Rhetoric

      The etymology of "rhetoric" that Whateley is referencing: early 14th century, from Old French rethorique, from Latin rhetorice, from Greek rhetorike techne "art of an orator," from rhetor (genitive rhetoros) "speaker, orator, teacher of rhetoric," related to rhesis "speech," rhema "word, phrase, verb," meaning literally: that which is spoken.

    3. a.scertai1111

      early 15c., "to inform, to give assurance," from Anglo-French acerteiner, Old French acertener "to assure, certify" (13c.), from a "to" (see ad-) + certain "sure, assured" (see certain). Modern meaning of "find out for sure by experiment or investigation" is first attested 1794. Related: Ascertained; ascertaining.

    4. etymology

      late Middle English: from Old French ethimologie, via Latin from Greek etumologia, from etumologos ‘student of etymology,’ from etumon, neuter singular of etumos ‘true.’

    1. Potter's Field

      def. ˈpädərz ˌfēld/ noun historical "a burial place for paupers and strangers."

      I then thought that "Potter's Field" might be a corruption of "pauper's field," but it turns out the etymology is "from the mention in Matthew 27:7 of the purchase of a potter's field for use as a graveyard," according to Merriam-Webster.

  17. Jan 2017
    1. symbol

      Etymology: Greek σύμβολον mark, token, ticket, ‘tessera’, < σύν sym- prefix + root of βολή , βόλος a throw (compare συμβάλλειν to put together, < σύν sym- prefix + βάλλειν to throw)

      See the excellent documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Trailer here. There is a lovely discussion of Paleolithic hunting techniques, which collect around the throwing of spears. The film thus brings together both the projections of the spears and the projections upon the cave walls. And just as hunting is not a representative task but rather a performative task design to produce an effect, so too are the cave paintings.

  18. Jun 2016
    1. What Is The Primordial Reference For The Phrase 'Publish Or Perish'?

      Garfield, Eugene. 1996 “What Is The Primordial Reference For The Phrase ‘Publish Or Perish’?” The Scientist 10:12. 11.

    1. Did you know“Publish or perish” has been worrying researchers for 60 years Publish. Or. Perish. These three little words describe the constant pressure on academics to publish their research and make their name. But this is not a new phenomenon; these three words have been keeping researchers awake for over 60 years. The phrase was coined in 1950 by Kimball C. Atwood III, a geneticist at Columbia University (1). Although never written down, it struck a chord with researchers, and, so legend has it, it was just a month before the phrase found its way back to Atwood, in an address given by a visiting lecturer. Despite the long history of “Publish or Perish”, it is likely to ring around the halls of the world’s research institutes as long as competition among researchers for limited funds and positions continues to intensify. Reference (1) Sojka, R.E. and Mayland, H.F. (1991) Driving Science With One Eye On the Peer Review Mirror

      Publish or perish origins

  19. Apr 2014
  20. Nov 2013
  21. Oct 2013
    1. Some have not hesitated to apply to etymology for the origin of every name or word;

      danger of etymology, it can be over done and lead to no deeper insight. should be used with care

    2. Etymology,

      The history of words and the way they change is significant and effects our understanding

    3. Etymology, which inquires into the origin of words,