A Taste of Garden Etymology

7717687746_cb5f70b4a1_oToday, I’d like to pay a little homage to my vegetable garden. With all the rain and heat we’ve had this year, things are thriving. The tomatoes are attempting a coup and the cucumbers have made a break for the world outside the fence. Needless to say, I’ll be pickling and canning like crazy for the next few weeks.

But before I’m swept up in the harvest, I thought it would be fun to share a little garden etymology with you. So let’s dig right in! Continue reading

Nervous, Excited and Enthusiastic

happy_monster_by_pseudooctopus-d4rnfylAs some of you may have heard, the first international editors’ conference, Editing Goes Global, will be taking place in Toronto from June 12-14. Some of you may also know that I will be speaking at the conference. I will be co-presenting a session called “Introduction to Networking: It’s Not as Scary as You Think” with fellow blogger and EAC member, Sue Archer. (If you haven’t already, you should really check out Sue’s blog, Doorway Between Worlds.) Continue reading

Emerging from the Dark (Matter)

Zombie brain illustrationHello to some of my favourite people on the Internet!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have been up to my eyeballs in work since January. The kind of work that drains all the energy out of your brain so all you want to do at the end of the day is pretend to be a satiated zombie (i.e., sit still, and maybe drool a little).  Continue reading

Where’d Your Winter Wardrobe Come From?

Winter in Dunrobin
Yesterday, about a foot of snow fell here in Ottawa. It’s very pretty — and my husky loves it. But it’s also very cold, especially when you have cracks in the soles of your winter boots. Don’t worry, I rushed out and got some new boots, which are toasty warm and perfect for being dragged through the snow by a highly enthusiastic dog. Continue reading

Y is for…

YetiWell, September is in full swing. School is in session. And before long, the leaves here in Ottawa will put on the best show of the autumn. Then winter will be back. I’m not sure how I feel about that, so to distract myself, I’d like to offer the next instalment in my Vocabulary Series. Astoundingly, we are at the second last letter of the alphabet, the yummy letter Y.

This time, I’ve chosen three nouns with diverse origins. The first I chose because its original meaning is quite different from how we think of it today.

Yacht (noun)

Etymology:   First appears in the 1550s as yeaghe, meaning a light, fast-sailing ship. Comes from the Norwegian or early Dutch jaght, which both come from the Middle Low German jacht, meaning to chase or hunt. It’s a short form of jachtschip, which was used to describe a fast pirate ship, and literally means a ship for chasing. Jacht comes from jagen, meaning to chase or hunt, which in turn comes from the Old High German jagon, which comes from the Proto-Germanic yago–, which can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European root yek–, all meaning to hunt.

Definition:   A light sailing boat; a power-driven boat equipped for sailing or cruising.

Example:   “Oh no! Captain Evilbeard and his dread pirate yacht are gaining on us.”

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My second word choice is something I eat regularly. But I knew nothing about its origins before today.

Yogurt (noun)

Etymology:   First appears in the 1620s. The English is a mispronunciation of the original Turkish word yogurt, in which the g is soft and would sound more like a w in English. The root yog means to condense, and it is related to the words yogun, meaning intense, yogush, meaning liquefy, and yogur, meaning knead.

Definition:   A semi-solid and somewhat sour food made from milk fermented by added bacteria. Also spelled yoghurt and yoghourt.

Example:   “Captain, if we throw the barrels of yogurt overboard, we might be able to outrun him. But then we’ll be out of breakfast foods.”

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And I couldn’t pass up my final word choice. I find it fascinating how we have embellished its original meaning.

Yeti (noun)

Etymology:   First appears in 1937. Comes from the Tibetan yeh-teh, meaning small manlike animal.

Definition:   A hairy manlike or bearlike creature said to live in the highest part of the Himalayas. Also known as an abominable snowman.

Example:   No one knew for sure, but legend has it that the yeti fell in love with Evilbeard’s beard. Whatever its motivation, the yeti saved the lives of our entire crew that day.

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As always, etymological information and definitions come from a combination of the Oxford Dictionary of Etymological English, the Oxford Dictionaries Online, and the Online Etymology Dictionary.


Image credit: InsignificantYeti @ deviantART