Hey etymology corner fans! 2018 is upon us, even if it’s only been here for a small amount of time. You could even call that small portion a quantum, just like the leaps our good boy Mr. Bakula takes in that one show. But I’m not a physicist, I’m a word-thing-guy, so let’s start with the fact that quantum is a direct borrowing from Latin. In Latin the word was a bit more interrogative, basically translating to “how much?” This leads to a whole lot of good questions.
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Shing! Snkt! Kachow! Oh no, it’s a knife and it’s really sharp watch out oh nooo
Nah, it’s just etymology corner. Let’s talk about sharp things! Sharp is a Germanic word from the Proto-Germanic *skarpaz. If we dial it back to the Proto-Indo-Europeans, we get *sker- meaning “to cut”. That influences a ton of words, like a screw, which cuts into wood as it is applied.
Proper nouns can be very fun to look into, so let’s give it the ole’ etymology corner treatment. It’s time to start pouring your money into the coffers of the rich, and what better way to do so than to shop at Amazon!
I was too busy to do one last week, so I decided to just do a short etymology corner tonight. It accidentally turned out really long because I learned a Spanish word. Anyway, let’s talk about Gatorade!
Today I went to the etymology corner! And today we’re going to talk about the enormous roots in the word journal. The word is a wholesale borrowing from French, who got it from a Latin word that we also stole and still use, diurnal. It means the same there as it does now- something that takes place during the day. The same term via different languages gave us diary. The same sort of borrowing happened with a journey, which is travel taken over the course of a day, and sojourn, staying for a day. When the day’s work is declared over, we adjourn. Wow! That was a short one!
You say etymology cornér, I say etymology corner! I wanna talk about tomatoes! And just to warn y’all I’m gonna get a little ranty and stray away from etymology because the Colombian exchange is FASCINATING.
So pre-Colombian Mexicans named this fruit they cultivated tomatl because the Nahuatl language is very fond of putting L’s after T’s. Tomatl comes from tomana meaning “to swell” and translates to something like fat water thing. Later Azteca named them xitomatl after breeding them to be even bigger and that just means “fat water thing with navel”. Tomatoes have belly buttons, y’all!
Books! Germanic languages use this term rather than the Romance libro, likely because the ancients used tablets of beechwood to write on before combining these tablets into books. This same *bokjon is the root of buckwheat, since the seeds of buckwheat look sorta like beech nuts.
So Rachel stole the bit of “Dandelion” that I was excited about. I’ll dig deeper into the “dens leonis” (that lion tooth idea has been around since medieval Latin) but first, some other names for the weed!