Monday, September 22, 2014

Cool Etymology Entry 3

Humor (n.): the quality of being amusing or comic, esp. as expressed in literature and speech.

Pronunciation: /ˈhjuːmə/
Black Bile
Etymology: Ancient philosophers thought that our bodies were made up of a mixture of four liquids. These liquids were what created our temperament (which, get this guys, actually means mixture!). The four "humors," as they were known, were blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. Blood lead to optimism, phlegm to slowness, yellow bile to a short temper (the Latin word for bile is "chole" so having too much yellow bile lead to a choleric temper), and black bile made you melancholy (melancholia in Latin quite literally means "the state of having too much black bile"). If there was any imbalance in these humors, a person would become eccentric and strange. Later "humor" became an synonym for oddness. Eventually it evolved into its current meaning, an adjective for someone who brings laughter to the strangeness of life.

First Use: 1340AD Ayenbite  
'To þe bodye of man comeþ alle eueles uor þe destempringe of þise uour qualites oþer of þise uour humours'



Friday, September 19, 2014

Cool Etymology Entry 2

Broke (adj.) : ruined financially, bankrupt; (often less seriously) penniless.

Pronunciation: /brəʊk/

Etymology: Many banks of post-Renaissance Europe would give porcelain tiles to their customers who they felt had enough credit. These tiles were called "borrower's tiles." When customers took out a loan, a copy of their information would be imprinted onto the tile. This way when the customer wanted to borrow more money, they would need to display their tiles so the banks could see if the customers had reached their credit limit. If the borrower had reached their credit limit, the bank teller would break the tile on the spot. Hence the phrase "I'm totally broke."

Earliest Use: 1597


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cool Etymology Entry 1

Clue (n.): a piece of evidence or information used in the detection of a crime or solving of a mystery.

Pronunciation: /kluː/

Etymology: Theseus of Greek mythology went to kill a minotaur in a labyrinth unraveled a clew (ball of string) behind him so he could find his way back.

The current use wasn't even in existence until the 16th century when the spelling began to change. Eventually the meaning began to be metaphorical than physical.

Earliest Use: 1393 Confessio Amantis
'She did him have a clue of threde'



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Risk, Trust, Gamble, Nothing, Desire


The risk was in washing all my blues with my whites
Writing my paper the day it was due
The risk was in walking, alone through the nights
In a dress too easy to see through


The trust was in my step on a high mountain peak
Leaving the window open in rain
The trust was in hoping he does not deem me weak
That he does not wish to cause me pain


The gamble was in adding the cup to the tray
Eating sushi from the gas station
The gamble was leaving without my pepper spray
In trusting I'm not just a temptation


'Risk' is not a strong enough word for the fear I feel
'Trust' and 'gamble' don't begin to relate
The hopelessness in planning on needing time to heal
In having to leave the house with armor plate


Desire is in wishing my sisters could sing
Without labels as sirens or whores
Desire is in relief with more daylight in Spring
In wanting love without bruises and sores

I risk my life when I trust the night
I gamble my peace when nothing can save me
And I desire only to love, to love with all my might