Saturday, June 24, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Language of Confusion: Full Stop

And now, to complete our sorta trilogy on speed related etymology, here’s stop words.

Stop showed up as a noun in the late fourteenth century (where it meant a plug before stopping in general) and as a verb sometime before that. It comes from the Old English stoppian, stop or close, which is a West Germanic word that’s popped up in other Germanic languages. As for before that, it might be from the Vulgar Latin stuppare (to stop or stuff with tow) and classical Latin stupa, tow. Um, that’s tow like rope fiber. No, I had never heard that before either. Nor is it related to the other kind of two.

Stall has kind of a funny history. It showed up in the fifteenth century, coming from the Old English steall, a place to catch fish or an animal stall or the Old French estale. Steall comes from the Proto Germanic stal and Proto Indo European stel-, to put or stand. The funny part’s coming up, I swear. See, it’s in the way stall evolved in English. In the late sixteenth century it became to distract someone so a pickpocket could steal from them (like a decoy), and then later in the nineteenth century that evolved into a story to avoid doing something, like stalling someone. Come on! That’s funny!

Break, which I alluded to last week, showed up as a noun in the fourteenth century and a verb sometime before that. It comes from the Old English brecan, to separate into two or more pieces, as well as things like shatter, destroy, and smash. It comes from the Proto Germanic brekan and Proto Indo European bhreg-, to break. Of course, the break we’re looking at is supposed to be the one that means resting. Well, that definition didn’t show up until 1861, meant an interval between lessons at school. So…school gave us breaks. Was it worth it? No. Definitely not.

Halt had several definitions over the years. The stop version didn’t show up until the late sixteenth century, and weirdly enough it doesn’t seem to be related to the two other versions of the world, which means lame or to limp (ever heard someone having a halting gait? That’s where it’s from). Stop halt comes from the French halte, halt, which then came from the Old High German halten, to hold. The origin word for hold. And it’s definitely not related to the other halt, which has a totally different history. What the hell.

Stay is another one with a lot of meanings that we don’t use anymore that may or may not be related. There was one that was a support or brace, which is related to another one that is a rope on a ship’s mast, both of which come from the Proto Germanic stagaz and Proto Indo European stak-. There’s also another one that’s more relevant to the subject this week, showing up in the mid fifteenth century from the Old French estai-/estare, to stay or sand. It comes from the classical Latin stare, to stand, and before that the Proto Indo European sta-, stand or make firm. Which might be related to stak. They aren’t sure, but it would make sense considering they both have stand definitions.

TL;DR: What the hell stop words. I had hoped you would make sense. You disappoint me.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More Weird Searches

It’s been a few months since I’ve done this so why not?

I’m sensing a pattern here.

Because they’re morons.

Dude. Buddy. Pal. You need to set up your calendar alerts before the holiday.

I looked up despacito to see what it was and then saw it had to do with Justin Bieber and I deleted my history then burned my computer.

…Why is Caillou bald? Frig. This is going to keep me up all night.

Ever searched for anything  and had something  funny come up?

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Sometimes cats can sneak out of the house.
Just pretend that that window has always been there.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Language of Confusion: And Slowly

Well, I did fast. Might as well look at the other side of things. Although I had a harder time coming up with words related to moving slowly. Isn’t that weird?

Slow showed up as a verb in the mid sixteenth century, and as the adjective we more commonly know it as sometime before the thirteenth century. It comes from the Old English slaw, which means slow, and before that it was the Proto Germanic slaewaz. Nothing particularly surprising here. Let’s go look at some other words related to slowing down.

Inert showed up in the mid seventeenth century meaning without force or with no power to respond. It comes from the French inerte or the classical Latin inertem, which could mean unskilled,inactive, or indolent. It also happens to be a mix of the prefix in-, meaning “the opposite of” here, and ars, art. Inert is being the opposite of art.

Brake showed up in the mid fifteenth century as an “instrument for crushing or pounding”. Which…is that how car brakes work? Apparently the word used to be used to refer to the ring through the nose of an ox, and was influenced by an Old French word, brac/bras, an arm. The arm was a lever, which became a brake, which became a word for bridle or curb before becoming a “stopping device for a wheel” in 1772. Anyway, brake comes from the Middle Dutch braeke, flax break, related to breken, to break. And that’s related to break, just kind of distantly.

Slug is kind of a weird word. It’s a bug, a piece of metal, a punch…What the hell? Oh, and the word for the thing that slithers on the ground? It didn’t mean that until the eighteenth century. Three hundred years earlier it was a lazy person, coming from sluggard. That word comes from the Middle English sluggi, which in addition to being the most awesome possibility for a plural of slug meant sluggish or indolent, and is believed to be Scandinavian in origin, although no one’s sure exactly which word it might be from.

Speaking of lazy, that word showed up in the mid sixteenth century as laysy, referring to people who were, well, lazy. Before that…no one really knows. Some people think it’s from the word lay, some think it’s from a Germanic word, or maybe Norse…It just kind of showed up one day.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Time Enough

I’ve talked about XKCD before, and how it’s not only the best stick figure comic of all time (it certainly puts mine to shame) but also one of the best comics period. And almost as if to prove why, creator Randall Munroe occasionally posts unique…well, they’re a lot more than comics. For example, there’s a long history of the temperatures of Earth, a gigantic scrollable comic, and a straight up hoverboard game.

One of the best, though, is Time, a comic that takes place over, well, time. Every thirty seconds, there was a change in the comic displayed, sometimes subtle, sometimes more major. There was something like a hundred in total, a comic book in its own right, gathered together here to click through one at a time, chronicling the story of a nameless man and woman first building a sandcastle, then going on a journey to discover what’s going on with the ocean near their village.

There’s a lot more going on than just that, and it’s honestly one of the more creative stories I’ve come across. It shows Earth during a different time period accurately, to the point where the stars displayed during the gorgeously rendered night scenes are accurate to the time period and the location.

Anyway, check it out if you’d like a little…I guess you’d classify it as some sort of speculative fiction? You’ll see.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


They say April showers bring May flowers. But I think they mean May showers. Also June showers. It never stops raining, is what I’m getting at.
Eh, what do I care? I never go outside anyway.