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Monday, January 5, 2009

Words of the Week

It was another day that wasn't any good for being outside. Twice I put on the snowpants and the boots and headed out with the dog. The first time we made it as far as the compost pile. Four legs didn't even help Maggie. Her back legs went out from under her once and I fell down once. We tried again in the afternoon after the sun had been out a while. Well, all that did was put a glaze on the top! We made it as far as the mailbox and turned around.

So, how about some word fun? I've been saving up.

Roue and moue do not rhyme! roue = roo-A = a man devoted to sensual pleasures; moue = MOO = a small grimace or pout.

I learned interesting etymologies of the names of two South American countries. Venezuela means "little Venice." Amerigo Vespucci saw natives' homes built on stilts and it reminded him of Venice! Argentina comes from "argentium" the latin for silver (the element symbol for silver is Ar), because it was rumored that silver mines were located there. In fact, the explorers were referring to the appearance of a river they named Río de la Plata with the sun shining on it.

Remember "ogee?" It actually turned up in a crossword puzzle I did yesterday! And here's another good short word "kohl." It's a dark powdered mineral historically used for eyelining- think of the Egyptians with their eyes outlined in black.

And finally, I think I caught Jeopardy in a goof. I know, I've already been told that this is a pretty arrogant claim. But, you know me, I think I'm right. The category was "Wood you or woodn't you." The clue was something like "to long for or from the Latin word for punishment." The answer, of course, was "pine."

But the genus for pine, Pinus, comes from "pei" for fat, sap, or pitch. It went through Old English "pin" to congeal, and ended up as pinus. The Latin for punishment is "punire" to inflict a penalty on. Earlier Latin was "poena" --> penalty --> penal.

Oh, wait... I just figured out where the Jeopardy clue is coming from. I (of course) was focused on the TREE. The verb "to pine" does come from the Latin for punishment --> torture ---> Old English "pinian" = cause to suffer. So if you are pining after someone you are suffering in your longing for them.

1 comments:

Gina said...

This is pretty... looks cold!

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