Saturday, June 30, 2012

...did you know?

There is one word in the English language that can be read the same way upside-down and backwards? Can you guess what it is?


And, since we're on the topic, swim derives from Old English swimman ("to move in or on the water") from Proto-Germanic *swemjanan, which ultimately derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *swem- ("to be in motion"). This word is mostly restricted to Germanic languages, but there are possible cognates in Welsh, Old Irish, and Lithuanian. Most other Indo-European languages use words derived from Proto-Indo-European *sna- ("to swim, to flow") related to Latin nare. We also have a rare and somewhat regional English word that is also related to nare: natatorium ("swimming pool")

Friday, June 29, 2012


Culturati \kuhl-chuh-RAH-tee\ or \kuhl-chuh-REY-tayh\ , plural noun;
1. People deeply interested in cultural and artistic matters

This word is first attested in 1965 from culture + -ati and was possibly influenced by literati. The singular of culturati is either culturatus or culturato. The former is modeled after the Latin masculine singular noun form, -us, while the latter is modeled after the Italian masculine noun form -o. Neither it technically correct or incorrect because the suffix -ati is taken from both Latin and Italian sources.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Oenophile \EE-nuh-fahyl\ , noun;
1. A person who enjoys wines, usually as a connoisseur

So I haven't posted in 12 days, but I have an excuse. I've been apartment searching/moving, and it sucks. BUT, we found a great place and we're all moved in (though not all organized), which does not suck.
Here's something that does not suck. (source)
Oenophile is first attested in 1930 as a combination of oeno- and -phile. Oeno- derives from Greek oino-, which is the combination form of oinos ("wine"). -Phile is also based in Greek, it is from pilos ("loving, dear"). There is an earlier word, oenophilist, which is based on the same two Greek words and dates to 1859, but oenophile is not necessarily derived from it.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Germ \jurm\ , noun;
1. A microorganism, especially when disease-producing; microbe
2. A bud, offshoot, or seed
Germs look kind of cool if you make them colorful! (source)
This word is first attested in 1644 as "bud, sprout" from Middle French germe ("germ (of an egg); bud; seed, fruit; offering"), which derives from Latin germen ("sprout, bud"). I probably ultimately derives from Proto-Indo-European *gen- ("to beget, bear"), which is also the forebear of genus. The sense of "harmful microorganism" is first attested in 1871, which makes sense because that's about the time we started realizing that microorganisms are the cause of disease.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Masturbation \mas-ter-BEY-shuhn\ , noun;
1. The stimulation or manipulation of one's own genitals, especially to orgasm; sexual self-gratification
2. The stimulation, by manual or other means exclusive or coitus, of another's genitals, especially to orgasm

This word is first attested in 1711, though it technically dates to the 1620's as mastupration. It comes from French masturbation from Latin masturbatione, a noun of action from Latin masturbari ("to masturbate"). The etymology is not 100% confirmed, but it has long been believed to come from *manstuprare, which is a combination of manus + stuprare ("hand" + "defile oneself") with some influence from turbare ("to stir up"). It has also been suggested that the first element comes from an unattested word for "penis," possibly *mazdo-.

Another non-slang word for this act is onanism, which refers to the biblical character Onan, Judah's son. The story goes that after Onan's brother Er died, Judah sent him to fulfill his duty as brother-in-law by impregnating Er's widow. He has sex with her, but pulled out before climax and 'spilled his seed on the ground.' Doing that broke a rule and God killed him for being wicked. Some interpret the story to mean that 'spilling seed' without trying to procreate makes the act a sin.