Thursday, 8 March 2012

Because it didn't take to "Thomas"

It must have been five or six years ago now, the memory came to me randomly today, that we were having a sex ed lesson in our Junior School. Mr. Payne was not, perhaps, the most comfortable person to be having a Q&A on the birds and the bees with - he was one of the more feared ones: with a grey Santa beard and the rounded belly to match, as well as a propensity for shouting as us littlies quite a bit. I don't remember much of it, but what I do remember is someone saying "Why is a penis called that?" or something to that effect. Mr. Payne being a primary school teacher and not a literary genius, his response to this was "Well, why is a tree called a tree?" with no further explanation.

The question is, why is a tree called a tree?

It derives from the Old English "treo" or "treow", which derives from the Proto-Germanic "trewan", which can eventually be traced back to "deru", meaning "oak", from a language older than Chuck Norris, PIE, or Proto-Indo-European. Sound boring? If so then you won't like this post, because that, my dear reader, is etymology.

Anyone who know me will know that I'm fascinated by etymology. To anyone who doesn't know me, well, now you know that I'm fascinated by etymology. And to the majority of readers, who probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about, I'll clarify: etymology is the study of word origins. Where words come from, the roots (prefixes, suffixes and affixes,) the languages that we have to thank for the words we use today, and so on. The word comes from "etymon", a Greek word meaning "true sense", and "-logy" or "-ology" as in "the study of", from "-logia". And this is one of my passions.

Honestly, I don't care if you think I'm sad for having a fascination with such an obscure field, because it's something that interests me, and it has a hell of a lot of applications, too. When you get a basic understanding of roots and how they work to form words (cf. morphology,) you can look at the majority of words and figure out their meaning just by taking them apart. Doesn't work for everything, of course, but it's a damn useful skill to have nonetheless for those who don't spend much time among dictionaries, and even among those who do.

Take the word "misanthropy", for example. If you've seen other words that start with "mis-" or "miso-" such as "misogyny", the hatred of women, or "misocapny," the hatred of smoking, then you might know that "miso" means hate or hatred. If you've ever heard of anthropology, or the study of people, then you might also know that "anthropo-" means man or human beings. Put them together, miso- and -anthropo, and you get "hate human". Misanthropy is literally the hatred of human beings.

No dictionary required <3.

"Leo" is a Latin word that literally means "lion". My middle name, Dominic, also comes from Latin, the word "Dominus", which means "master". My surname, King, is self-explanatory in terms of meaning, and it comes from the Old English "cyning", in term from Proto-Germanic "kuninggaz", and may well be related to the Old English "cynn", or "family/race". So there you go, that's the etymology of my name :).

By the way, if you're also interested in this stuff, the website I used as a source for most of the things I describe herein is, a very useful etymology dictionary, where you can find out the root of virtually any word :). To find out where your name comes from, just type it into Google and follow up with "name origin", and it should take you to a relevant link explaining your name origin.

So there we have just a little post dedicated to a little hobby of mine :). Hope you enjoyed it. (Enjoy, by the way, can be broken into En- or "in" and "Joy", so it's literally "To bring in joy".)

~Love Leonidas
(Love, by the way, is - nah, I'm just kidding.)

P.S. If you didn't get the title, then read the sentence after the first paragraph.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there!! I found this blog by wandering over to your FB, because you had a look at my blog. Bloggers have to help each other out, no? ;)
    I sometimes quite enjoy a bit of etymology, I remember being quite happy when I learnt the word, because I like learning, and I like words.. (It helps, when you write ;)

    So here is your sort of first comment, hope you enjoy that! I was also hoping, since you like my blog, that you might like my page:


The comment form beckons. I will love you forever if you let me know what you think of this post! You may even get a cookie. Not a real one, but... okay, you get a cyber-huggle. You get something!

...Pretty please <3.

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