words wholly unrelated
humble and humble pie
i’m still out rollerblading so i don’t have much time to tell you things today, but i will tell you this… even though “to eat humble pie” is an english idiom that means something like, “to bring down one’s pride” or “to humble oneself,” it is not related to the word humble.
according to omniscient lexicographers, humble pie is a corruption of umble pie, a mediæval pie made from the umbles (internal organs) of a deer. it is not exactly certain which—deer offal pie or offering a humiliating apology—is actually easier to swallow.
the word for ‘we’ in the aboriginal language of martuthunira is…
in honor of national poetry month, i present the following macaronic verse in english/martuthunira. i call it “raynor’s big day at the pool hall.”
Nganajumartangara real cool. Nganajumartangara
Left school. Nganajumartangara
Lurk late. Nganajumartangara
Strike straight. Nganajumartangara
Sing sin. Nganajumartangara
Thin gin. Nganajumartangara
Jazz June. Nganajumartangara
granted: this is only one way of saying we in martuthunira. specifically, it is a first person plural disharmonic and is used when the speaker of the we group is in a different generation from the listener. therefore if you are not in my generation and you don’t have lurking late skills or you can’t relate with thinning gin, then this gwendolyn brooks/raynor ganan 50-50 collaboration stands.
source: us and others: social identities across languages, discourses and cultures, edited by anna duszak (2002).
today in intriguing german loanwords:
urlaubsmuffel • a person who does not believe in taking vacations
its literal translation is “vacation muffle” and it describes either someone who really loves work or really hates holidays.
i went on spring break with an urlaubsmuffel last year (orson) and he spent the whole time complaining that the sun was too hot, the tequila was too strong, and the wet t-shirts were too wet. he occupied himself by working on his 2011 personal income taxes and eating melba toast. i, on the other hand, went kite surfing around mælstroms and did body shots off the fissures between my own ab muscles with the use of a bendy straw. mom was there; she took instagrams.
3 things i did not know this time yesterday
- orangutang is more correctly spelled (and pronounced) orangutan
- doctor henry heimlich (of the heimlich manœuver fame) is still alive and living in one of those ohio cities that starts with c
- chipotle peppers are not a pepper variety—they are jalapeños that have been smoke dried
it takes a brave man to admit ignorance about peppers and abdominal thrusts and whatnot—so if you knew all this stuff already, please do not judge me. i am typically pretty well informed and mom says that i know more about law & order (the t.v. show, not the political systems) than most casual watchers of the dick wolf masterpiece.
other things i did not know at various times.
words wholly unrelated
rose & rosemary & mary
did i ever tell you about the time i was having a ménage à quatre with these three chorus girls named rose, rosemary, and mary? at one point i was like, “ooh la la, rose—your special cayenne balm is making my mucus membranes shriek—in a good way.”
and she was like, “i’m rosemary, not rose.”
and i was like, “what’s the diff? it’s just a nickname.”
and she was like, “perchance, but the names—as well as the referents—are not etymologically related.”
“indeed,” chimed mary (who was working the fly swatter), “my name is not related to rosemary either.” it was at this point that we climbed down from the trapeze and sought out the nearest etymological dictionary.
it turns out that rosemary was right. she was named after the herb (which tastes great with braised goat by the way) and the herb name is actually an alteration of rosmarine from the latin rosmarinus “dew of the sea.” rose on the other hand comes from the greek rhodon “rose,” and mary probably comes from the hebrew miryam.
i was so excited about this discovery that i spent the next three hours alone in a walk-in closet with nothing but an etymological dictionary and rosemary’s special cayenne balm and i regret nothing.