’22 A To Z Challenge – M

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten Words – Forgotten Attitudes

What do we want?

GOOD MANNERS

When do we want them?

Right now!

Are we likely to get them??!

F*&@ no!

In a world where the words we use, and our attitudes, are supposedly of utmost importance, words are regularly passing out of use from the English language.  We become dumbed down intellectually, ethically, and spiritually. Here are a few words which have been forgotten, though they were in regular use just a few decades ago. Interestingly, they’re all related in meaning:

Modesty

Humility

Courtesy

Honesty

“I pray thee then, write me as someone who loves his fellow man.”  (Abou ben Adhem)

Donald Trump is gone, although, if he can evade the FBI on his magpie collection of classified documents, he’s threatening to return in 2024.  While he facilitated much of the above, and vindicated it to a too-large swath of the American population, he was not the cause of it.  He was merely a visible symptom of the cultural rot.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Be nice to each other out there.  Okay?  The life you save may be your own.

Thus endeth the reading of the first lesson.  More of the usual drivel soon.

’22 A To Z Challenge – L

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was going to be sure that I had an L of a post for this letter, then I thought, “Why be satisfied with half-measures?  Let’s go for a Double L version.  Words with two Ls in them are fairly common, but I have several which begin with two Ls.

I recently read a user strongly questioning silent letters in English words – particularly the silent G in words like ‘sign.’  Often, silent letters perform the same functions as accents in French, or Spanish.  They tell you how to pronounce the word.  If there were no G in sign, it would be a sin.

The Welsh language is well-known for its rather cavalier, creative spelling.  It has used a couple of its superfluous Ls to build names with.  There is (Desmond) Llewellyn, who was James Bond’s Q foil in several 007 movies.  His name means that he is a leader.

There is also the Welsh name, Lloyd.  Lloyd is a Welsh surname originating with the Welsh adjective llwyd, most often understood as meaning “grey” but with other meanings as well. The name can be used both as a given name and as a surname.  There is Lloyd Bridges, who went on a Sea Hunt, and then for an Airplane ride, and Doc Brown – Christopher Lloyd.

Not to be out-done, South American Spanish has also given us a couple of double-L words.  The funny animal that lives in the Andes is a Llama.  The funny animal that lives in the Asian mountains is merely a lama.  When you descend from the Andes, you might come out onto the llano, which is a flat plane.  It started as a ‘plano,’ but spelling drift is inevitable.

I’d like to blame these double initial letters on something like pronunciation rules, but I find no such basis.  😀

Parents Of Kids Say The Darnedest Things

Pros

Don’t cast aspirations on her femininity – Cast aspersions, instead.

It continues to reside in the attack. – I had to go up to the attic, to research this.

He spoke a sort of pigeon Galician – This pigeon thinks it should read pidgin.

So, needlessly to say – It was needless to use an adverb instead of an adjective.

He built the viaduct that brought the water – Then it would be an aqueduct.

Mary had a little lamb.  Her cheeks were white as snow – And the lamb’s fleece was white as snow.

The horseflies left whelps with their bites – The young whelps had welts on them.

The squad debauched from the fort – This debauched author meant debouched.

The pilot waggled the plane’s wings for an instance – an instance where it should read, instant.

The company was marketing Santinism. – They weren’t marketing the correct spelling of Satanism.

Phone gets stuck in base guitar – It’s fishy that there’s no bass.

Businessman revels how he got rich – If I were rich, I’d revel, but I wouldn’t reveal how I did it.

He sniffed his depreciation of the idea. – I’d appreciate him using deprecation

The family fortune was dilapidated – and my patience with this usage was depleted.

Amateurs

The idea has gained some exposer recently – Police arrested the exposer for indecent exposure.

Believe it or not – I found a Belief It Or Not Christian video – not wrong…. just wrong!

They were forced to be reckoned with. – I was forced to write, “A force to be reckoned with.”

An elderly none came in – but the nun would have none of that spelling.

She was dancing in the isleI’ll tell you that it should be aisle.

Vacuums don’t cause autism – Neither do vaccines.

I pulled up the parking brake leaver – Well, leave ‘er parked, and look up lever.

Darwin advocated ‘Survival of the Fitness’ – The fittest of us know that’s not true.

It could justify killing or torchering – That spelling is torturing me.

One only has to take a looksy – to know that it should be a look-see.

I was going to lambest him for saying that – I’s like to lambaste you for using lambest.

I’m into essential oils and incest. – Does your daughter know about this?

‘The Office’ is a meaty okra show. – About as mediocre as that spelling.

She said she got a Bachelorette Degree – Blondie meant a baccalaureate!!

I have only lent in my pocket – because you gave up your dictionary for lent.

A term that attempts to draft on an air of coolness – I drank some cool draft while I looked up graft.

This woman had the gull to insult him – A little bird told me she had gall.

He’s got the saddle soars to prove it – Lets waft on over to where they are sores.

***

Now that I’ve had something to say about some things that other people say, it’s back to business as usual.  What??!  Ranting IS my usual?  I dare you to read this post and say that.   😉

Speaking English Like An Arab

Over centuries, dozens of Arabic words have entered the English language, through science, philosophy, mathematics, food, fabrics, trade and travel.

Most were introduced by inland and maritime trade along the Silk Route, while others came through the Islamic conquests of southern Europe. Not all of these words are of Arabic origin – some came from India, Persia and ancient Greece – but Arab merchants helped export them to the West.

Finally, the discovery of medieval Islamic scientists and astronomers during the Renaissance brought new words and concepts to Europe.  I have picked the top 15 most surprising words with Arabic origins.

Admiral: amir أمير

The word for this high-ranking naval commander evolved from amir, the Arabic word for a prince or ruler. The word was first documented on the island of Sicily in the 11th century, where the Arabs had ruled for 300 years.

Alchemy: al kimiya الكيمياء

The ancient branch of philosophy known as alchemy involved the study of substances and materials. Medieval alchemists believed that some liquids could be turned to gold, or a potion that would make its drinker immortal. The original Arabic word stems from the Greek term “khemeia, though some scholars also trace its roots back to ancient Egypt.

Cotton: qutun قطن

Though cotton was known to the ancient Romans, the word and the fabric were imported by Arab merchants to Europe in the late Middle Ages.

Elixir: al-iksir الإكسير

Today, an elixir is a liquid remedy with healing powers. In Arabic, it originally referred to a dry powder for treating wounds. It was later adopted by alchemists who referred to an elixir as the elusive mineral powder that would turn metals into gold.

Jumper: jubba جبّة

The Arabic word for overcoat originally entered European languages as “juppa“, valuable silk clothing, in southern Italy in the 11th century.

Macrame: miqrama مقرمة

This type of knotted textile used in craft and high fashion originates from the hand-loomed fabrics of Arabic weavers. In Arabic, miqrama refers to an embroidered tapestry or bedspread.

Mohair: al-mokhayyar المخيّر

In Arabic, al-mokhayyar was a high-quality cloth made of fine goat hair. Various forms of it were imported to the West for centuries, the most famous being the wool made from Angora goats of Turkey.

Monsoon: mawsim موسم

Early Arab sea merchants on the Indian Ocean rim used the word “mawsim” or “seasons” to refer to the seasonal sailing winds. Later, the word was adopted by Portuguese, Dutch and English sailors as they navigated extreme weather conditions off the coasts of India, South-East Asia and China.

Muslin: musuliyin موصلي

Muslin, a cotton-based fabric, is said to have derived its name from the traders of the city of Mosul, or the musuliyin, who imported it from South Asia to Europe.

Nadir: nazir نظير

In English, a nadir refers to the worst moment, or the point at which something is of the least value. But in Arabic, the word means a counterpart, and was used in medieval Islamic astronomy to refer to the diametrically opposing points of a celestial sphere.

Orange: naranj نارنج

Though both the fruit and the word came from India, Arabs introduced oranges to the Mediterranean region. For many southern European countries today, they are considered a staple fruit.

Serendipity: serendib سرنديب

The ancient fairy tale place of Serendib, which appears in One Thousand and One Nights and other ancient oral traditions, was also the old Arabic name for the island of Sri Lanka. The English word serendipity, meaning a fortunate discovery, was coined by the English author Horace Walpole in 1754.

Safari: safar سفر

The English adopted the Swahili word for journey – safari – in the 19th century for their hunting expeditions in East Africa. Though a safari today involves an organized trip to spot wild animals, its origins are from the Arabic “safar”, or journey, a reminder of the crucial presence of Arab sea merchants on the East African coast.

Sugar: sukkar سكّر

Another word to have travelled the Silk Road is sugar, which was originally produced in India. By the sixth century, sugar cane cultivation reached Persia, and was brought into the Mediterranean by the Arabs, who produced it extensively.

Tariff: ta’riff تعريف

A tariff in Medieval Arabic means a notification. It was introduced to western languages around the 14th century through commerce on the Mediterranean Sea, where it referred to the bill of lading on a merchant ship, or the statement of products and prices for sale.

WOW #74

Yeehaw, buckaroos, this here’s a rootin’, tootin’ yarn about three funny, over-the-hill characters.

Not that three!!  That there is a picture of me and my brother and sister!  😯  How did that get in here?

No, I’m talking about the even older and less significant, Middle English comedy trio of

ROOTLE

TOOTLE

AND

FOOTLE

Do not confuse Rootle with The Rutles, a fake British band that became a real one, much like the fake American band, The Monkees, did.

Rootle is the sometimes-used British alternative verb form of root – to root about like a hog.
to turn up the soil with the snout, as swine.
to poke, pry, or search, as if to find something

Melodious little Tootle means to toot gently or repeatedly on a flute or the like.
to move or proceed in a leisurely way.

Hong Kong English driving instructions include, If pedestrian do not move advantageous, tootle him gently.

You can get footloose with Footle, if you act or talk in a foolish or silly way, loiter aimlessly; potter, or talk nonsense.

Trust the English language to confuse those who are trying to learn it – three words – one basic spelling – two different pronunciations.  😳

Showing the difference between Canadian English and British English, I was taught to putter, rather than potter.  To ‘potter’ would require a throwing wheel, and a kiln.  For me to ‘putter’ only takes a long, strangely-shaped stick to get the ball rolling.  Golf is a lovely walk in the sun and fresh air – spoiled by having to chase a little white ball.  It’ll be par for me to be rootin’ and tootin’ again in a couple of days.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

If you have never remarked, at least to yourself, about the number of English words that are almost the same size and shape, have almost the same letters and meaning, and yet are different…. You’ve never done a crossword puzzle.  😳

Where to find Guinness – Any decent bar – but in the crossword, you have to work sideways.  What is the second latter?  Is it Eire or Erin?

Claim – is it aver, or avow?

Price rise – bump or jump?

Cell inhabitants – nuns or cons?

Prohibit – bar or ban?

Talk a lot – yak or gab?

Geological period – era or eon?

Sleep – nod or nap?

The top – acme or apex?

Peak – top or tip?

Not real – fake or faux?

Hand warmers – mitts or muffs?

Gourmet delicacy – snail or quail?

Hurled – flung or slung?

Comics dog – Otto or Odie?

Over – atop or upon?

The 411 – info or data?

Stop up – plug or clog?

Exploited – milked or bilked?

Wicked – evil or vile?

Senate yes – aye or yea?

Kick out – eject or evict?

Made mad – angered or enraged?

Outdo – beat or best?

Pants part – seat or seam?

Agree with – sync or side?

Father-involved – parental or paternal?….or, if mother’s involved – prenatal

Old-time actress, in five letters – starts with GA.  Ooh!  Ooh!  I got this!  Green Acres TV show – Eva Gabor.  Oops. Sorry!  Even old-timier than that – Greta Garbo!  Same five letters – different order.  Rats!

Dog food brand (in four) – Iams or Alpo

Because of the product that they provide, crossword composers are usually exacting and precise in the usage of words in both their clues, and solutions.  Sadly, illiteracy and incorrect usage creep in, even among the best.

The solution to doesn’t want to, is the six-letter word averse, not the seven-letter adverse, which means, unfavorable, contrary, opposing.

The correct response, (in four letters, second letter I), to lay low is kill.  To hide, is to lie low.

The pedant in me says that core group is not a cadre!  A cadre is a frame or border, which contains other things placed inside.  If you’re pretentious enough to use the word cadre, then your core group are the newbies.

Muss one’s hair.  Tussle means wrestle, scuffle or struggle  It’s not accurate, unless we’re talking about Amos, from the 9 Chickweed Lane comic strip – tousle comes from the Scottish touse – to handle roughly – to dishevel.

Finally, we get to related things which occur serially and sequentially, but are not identical.

Festive nights are not eves!  Eve is the short form for evening, the time when light and dark are about the same – dusk, twilight, nightfall, even gloaming – depending on the date, perhaps from Six P.M. till Nine.   ‘Nights’ continue through till sunup the next morning, but very few festive parties do.

To fill a pipe does not mean tamp.  They are two separate actions.  A pipe must first be filled, before the tobacco can be tamped down for a slow, even smoulder.  It’s why Scotty stopped smoking a pipe.  When he was smoking someone else’s tobacco, he crammed so much into the bowl that he could hardly draw.  When he was smoking his own, there was so little that it wasn’t worth it.

Ties vs. laces.  I see teenagers all the time, whose shoes have been laced, the ends of which are dragging on the ground, untied.  I often wonder why they, or someone else, don’t step on a trailing end, and produce an epic face-plant.

Unlatch a gate – open.  I can unlatch a gate, and leave it for the dog, or the cows, or even my buddy the burglar, to open when it is necessary, or convenient.

Assuming that the therapy session goes well, and the meds kick in, I’ll be back, as usual, in a couple of days.  You’ve been warned.  😉

To Sleep – Perchance To Dream

I can almost understand why Good Christians think that God, or Jesus, speaks to them, or why schizophrenics listen to the voices in their head – not that there’s much observable difference.

I know that the voices aren’t real, but they come up with some great ideas.

Actually, the voices are quite real.  They’re just completely internal, not external in any way.  They’re me!  It’s a good thing  that I’m eccentric enough to accept the weird thoughts that pop into my head, or I could be startled, or even frightened, by things my mind comes up with on its own, when I’m not holding the reins tightly.  I can see why those who wish to organize and control their thoughts, would want to blame someone/thing else for ideas and views that they might feel are somehow ‘deviant.’

I often awaken from naps with things bubbling around in my head, including solutions to stubborn Word Jumbles.  After being retired for 11 years, I still have dreams about work.  Since so much of my life revolves around writing and the English language, it is no great surprise that I often wake to words.

I recently became conscious, to the word/name ‘Kaiella’ in my head.   At first I thought that my subconscious had coined a new word, but research soon showed that, in Hawaiian, it means ‘happy girl,’ and in Arabic it means ‘sea goddess.’  I am amused that camel chasers, sitting on sand dunes, have a word for sea goddess.

My most complex day was when I woke up wondering why the name of Italian film director Sergio Leone, and that of African country Sierra Leone were so similar, and what they meant.  Leone was easy.  It’s an Italian word meaning lion, or lion-like.  It’s why the name Napoleon means Lion of Naples, even though he was born French, on the island of Corsica.  We’ll follow that lion to Africa later.

Sergio means guard/protector in Italian, as do Serge in French, Sergei in Russian, and the army title sergeant in English.

Sierra is a Spanish word from the Latin serra, meaning, a saw.  It describes a chain of mountains which is spiky and saw-toothed.  Sierra Leone has one, a segment of which resembles a crouching lion.  But if Sierra Leone looks like a lion, what is the Sierra Nevada, for which the American state is named??  😕

That’s easy!  The Spanish word nevada simply means snow, and Sierra Nevada refers to Rocky Mountains so tall that their peaks are perpetually snow-covered.

On the same day, I found that, besides being a gadget for manipulating objects by remote control, particularly in atomic reactors, Waldo is a diminutive of the name Oswald, from the German meaning God’s ruleBurkholder is a German name, but refers to citizens of the Low Countries – The Netherlands/Belgium.  I think I sprained a brain muscle.  Come back soon to watch me heal.  😀

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – VI

Something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue

BINGE-WATCH (verb)
To watch (multiple videos, episodes of a TV show, etc.) in one sitting, or over a short period of time
Due to COVID19, there’s been a shit-ton of this going on over the last two years.  Netflix may end up ruling the planet.

CHIASMUS (noun) Rhetoric
a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases, as in
“He went to the country, to the town went she.”

DECATHECT (verb) 1930-35
To withdraw one’s feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss
from de-cathexis, the investment of emotional significance in an activity, object, or idea.
He thought it best to decathect from his cherished toy, since he would soon have to sell it.

EPISTEMIC (adjective)
of or relating to knowledge or the conditions for acquiring it
An example of something epistemic is a journey to discover new sources of truth.

FOREMOTHER (noun)
A female ancestor
Virginia Woolf was the foremother of writers like Joan Didion.

HORSEFEATHERS (noun)
Something not worth considering
This usage refers to something which does not, and perhaps cannot, exist – like feathers on a horse.  In the MASH TV show, Colonel Potter’s usage of the term horse-pucky, is a euphemism for the round, puck-like material often found on the ground behind a horse.

INFIRMARY (noun)
A place (as in a school or prison) where sick or injured individuals receive care and treatment
A large medical facility
Like the forgotten roots of dis-ease, this word shows that it is used by those who are infirm.

FLOTSAM (noun)
the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water
material or refuse floating on water.
useless or unimportant items; odds and ends.

JETSAM (noun)
Goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore

LAGAN (noun) Law
anything sunk in the sea, but attached to a buoy or the like so that it may be recovered.

MAJORDOMO (noun)
A man in charge of a great household, as that of a sovereign, a chief steward
a steward or butler
a person who makes arrangements for another
Alfred was Bruce Wayne/Batman’s majordomo.
In the TV show, Magnum PI, Higgins was ostensibly the majordomo for the author, Robin Masters.  His name comes from the Irish Gaelic uiginn, meaning Viking.

MARMOT (noun)
Any bushy-tailed, stocky rodent of the genus Marmota, such as the groundhog
In 2021, Wiarton Willy, Ontario’s albino groundhog equivalent to Punxatawney Phil, died before Groundhog Day.  Somehow his handlers failed to mention that fact until late November.  They may still be looking for a replacement – for all the difference it makes.

MUFTI (noun)
Civilian clothes, in contrast with military or other uniforms, or as worn by a person who usually wears a uniform
A Muslim jurist, expert in the religious law
The Army agent behind enemy lines, tried to blend in, disguised in mufti.

SAGGITATE (adjective)
shaped like an arrowhead
Sagittarius, the name of the astrological sign of The Archer, the bowman, doesn’t actually refer to the bow, or the man, but to the arrow which is launched – for all the difference it makes.

STARDUST (noun) alternate definition
A naively romantic quality
There was stardust in her eyes every time her beloved entered the room.
Astrophysicist, Carl Sagan said, “We are all stardust.”  He meant, literally, that we are composed of heavier atoms which were produced when stars die and go (super)nova.

So, our vocabularies are expanding to match our waistlines.  I’ll be dropping some more great words in a couple of days, in a vain attempt to lose weight.   😉

The Origin Of Woke

How do you get a guy to stand in a closet, while you seal him in by bricking up the door??

Strictly a hypothetical question!  That odd-shaped portion on my basement wall is where the electrical panel used to be…. and I have no idea where that irritating neighbor got to.

And Google is no damned help.  I hate that auto-complete!  I type in How do you…. and I get back
….do the Hokey-Pokey?
….get picked up at a gay bar?
….serve curried Iguana?

I believe I found the birth of Woke, and it’s further back than you might think.  I woke from a refreshing afternoon nap, wondering how the narrator in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, kept his victim from just breaking out.  It turns out that he chained the loathed sot to the back wall, tightly enough so that he could not get loose.

I studied the tale in Grade 12 English – old enough to deal with some of the darker themes.  Living out in the boondocks, the teacher only explained a bit of the story motivation, and being an Anglophone-Canadian, managed to mispronounce the Spanish name.  He spoke ah-mon-tee-yad-oh like ah-mon-till-lay-doh.

I re-read the tale on the Internet recently, and was discussing it with the son.  Poe’s works have always been classified as horror.  That’s how my teacher presented it.  Like Romeo and Juliet, this was a valid story of Renaissance, upper-class hatred and competition between families and commercial groups – possible, even likely to happen, given the opportunity.

The son said that, when he studied it, approximately 1988, his (female) English teacher explained that it was all allegory.  The story-teller was just an alcoholic, who was symbolically imprisoning his weakness, and getting sober.  So I guess, no AA back then??!  The dark horror story had been changed into a bright, kind, redemptive one of rehabilitation and personal triumph.

Personally, I find that interpretation to be ridiculous, but I wonder if any of you were presented with it.  😕   😳

There’s always tomorrow.  CU then.

Through A Theist Glass, Darkly

How fear of Atheism gets some Christian Apologists all turned around, mirror-image.

If Atheism are true, and there is no God

  1. Humans were moist robots
  2. Humans had no mind
  3. Humans had no emotion
  4. Humans had no free will
  5. If universe is at it is, and yet we know that universe will end one day, then the universe will be in doom
  6. There is no good and no evil if atheism is true

If there is no final Judgement, it’s like somebody murdered someone else, deep in the forest and nobody saw it happen, then they wouldn’t get arrested or charged or put in prison.

# !  That’s a very emotion-driven, sensationalistic claim but, SO WHAT.  We are what we appear to be – sentient beings, constantly striving, constantly learning, constantly improving, always trending upward, for the betterment of ourselves as individuals, and as a race – and all of it without an absentee-landlord puppet-master, so, we are hardly robots.

# 2  Oh, these poor Christian Apologists – they are nothing without their God-crutch.  I don’t know how to rebut this assertion, except to say that it is silly and untrue.  I did not ask the writer to explain and justify his claim.  Previous similar attempts have just produced bewildered responses like, Of course it’s true!  That’s obvious! when it is definitely not obvious.

#3  First we had no thought.  Now we have no feelings, without God the orchestra leader.  Such a bleak, morbid, and dismal outlook!  😯  While the belief in the existence of God can’t be proven, for writers like this, perhaps it is better that he continue to do so.  He seems to need some solid emotional and psychological support to keep from slipping into the abyss of clinical depression.

#4  Another unsupported, mirror-image claim.  😕  If God exists, as writers like this claim, and He ‘knows all,’ past, present and future, then His perfect and unchanging plan means that everything we do is predestined, and there is no such thing as free will.  Only the nonexistence of God in any way makes us free – but that’s only another thing that worries such writers.  We should only be free (?) to agree to worship their God.

I don’t know how he equates free will, with a deity which has a Top Ten and 603 following commandments about what you can eat, drink, wear, and who you can do it with.

#5  English is not his first language.  Perhaps this cavil makes more sense in Korean.  He’s right.  Whether God exists or not, the Universe will, one day, die the heat-death of entropy – a very natural occurrence.  It’s just that we won’t be around to experience it, so he’ll have to explain to his mental-health counsellor, why he attaches the word ‘doom’ to it.

#6  “Good” and “Evil” do not exist as tangible entities.  “Evil” tends to be a term used by religious/Christians, indicating intent.  Atheists usually substitute ‘good and bad,’ natural descriptors which can exist without a God.  Good is that which increases my well-being and/or happiness.  ‘The greatest good, for the greatest number.’  Bad is that which decreases my well-being – and those around me, and the entire human race.

Being convinced to drink disinfectant to, ‘cure COVID’ might even make me happy, but it does not increase the well-being of my widow, or my children, who are now without a father and provider.

***

While he does not use the word in his final complaint, he implies the Hell out of the concept of ‘Fair.’  Fair is where you take your pig, to have it judged.  The Universe is supremely disinterested in the human concept of justice.  Things like his example occur all the time.  Again, SO WHAT??!  !sneppah tihS

Even the existence of his hypothetical God does not guarantee justice, or ‘fair.’   Someone like failed-Catholic, Adolf Hitler, might repent at the end, confess his sins, plead for forgiveness, and go to Heaven, while Anne Frank is sent to Hell.  👿