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snapd commented on the word knuckle
I am not an expert on anatomy or butchery but my sense is that the word knuckle seems to be more associated with human, veal and pig. I am not aware that one talks about beef knuckle, horse knuckle, deer knuckle or the joints of other animals as being knuckles. If this is true, the linguistic geography and specie or food-type associations would be a unique dimentsion to the use and meaning of this word. It is also one of the many kn/gn words that are associated with food, digestion, learning such as knowledgem gnaw, etc.
September 4, 2009
snapd commented on the word Mississauga
One more from Wikipedia: "According to the oral histories of the Anishinaabe, after departing the "Second Stopping Place" near Niagara Falls, the core Anishinaabe peoples migrated along the shores of Lake Erie to what is now southern Michigan. They became "lost" both physically and spiritually. But, the Mississaugas migrated along a northern route by the Credit River, to Georgian Bay, to what were later considered their traditional lands on the shores of Lake Superior and northern Lake Huron around the Mississagi River. The Mississaugas then called for the core Anishinaabe to Midewiwin (return to the path of the good life). The core Anishinaabe peoples formed the Council of Three Fires and migrated from their "Third Stopping Place" near the present city of Detroit to their "Fourth Stopping Place" on Manitoulin Island, along the eastern shores of Georgian Bay.
By the time the French explorers arrived in 1720,citation needed the Mississaugas were a distinct tribe of Anishinaabe people. They had moved from the Mississagi River area southward into the Kawartha lakes region. From this location, a smaller contingent moved southeast to an area along the Credit River, just west of modern-day Toronto. The French identified the peoples as Mississaugas.
Alternate forms of the name are Mississaga, Massassauga and Missisauga, plural forms of these three, and "Mississauga Indians". Before the Anishinaabe language replaced the Wendat language in mid-17th century as the lingua franca of the Great Lakes region, the Mississaugas were also known by their Wendat name."
September 2, 2009
Also from Wikipedia: "The Mississaugas are a subtribe of the Anishinaabe First Nations people located in southern Ontario, Canada, closely related to the Ojibwa. The name "Mississauga" comes from the Anishinaabe word Misi-zaagiing, meaning "Those at the Great River-mouth."
snapd commented on the word tin
Tin is often an adjective as with tin-plate (tinned) but it can be literally a plate made of tin. Coating with tin protects metals from corrosion so you can have tinned copper, tinned steel, and so forth. Tin is also a key alloy used with copper to make bronze and was essential in the creation of tools that were made in what we call the bronze age. But tin is remarkable in other ways. It melts at temperatures lower than frying oil; it is soft and malleable so it is easily made into very thin foil (tin foil used to wrap chewing gum before the advent of aluminum or plastic) and tin is not a common metal. It is found in granite-like rock which is very hard until it weathers and decomposes. When hard, extracting tin from this rock is very difficult. A great deal of tin comes from so-called 'placer' deposits where the minerals of the granite have softened and decomposed, leaving the tin loose. The lighter minerals wash or blow away leaving naturally sorted sands of tin which can then be sintered and melted to be used to alloy or coat other metals.
Tin is not a common metal so its use in different cultures often required shipping the metal considerable distances. No matter how you look at it, metal or ore shipment involves considerable weight and any volume is difficult to transport. This commerce came with linguistic as well as cultural associations and skills. In this sense, tin, is one of the key metals--like silver, gold, copper and later iron--that shaped the interaction of peoples in different places. The synonymy of words in different languages for tin may be one of the key links.
But tin is remarkable in yet another way. It, along with some metals such as lead and some minerals, acts as a fluxing agent which lowers the temperature at which touching minerals will melt and fuse. Thus many glazes in pottery are achieved with the aid of tin as part of either the clay or a coating slip. The presence of tin allows the potter to make better use of a lower-temperature fire to create ceramic ware. Tin-based glazes are opaque and provide the background (often white) for brilliant colored ceramic tile coatings or plate decoration. A ceramic plate may well be tin-coated much as a metal plate might be tinned or actually made of pure tin. A tin plate can quickly melt over a hot fire. All of this informs the various expressions such as tin-pan alley, or 'tinny' or tinsmith.Tin may be a small, short, word but its footprint is large.
August 6, 2009
snapd commented on the word sardonic
Sorry for any confusion: I am not sure my note was accepted to my suggested word 'sardony'
There seem to be many words which lack a complete complement of forms. Sardonic is one of them. I cannot say "I am tired of your sardony" in a manner similar to how I can say "I am tired of your anger". Instead I must always attach a noun or verb to the adjective or adverb. Is there a name for these kinds of imperfect or irregular words? As a class, do they derive particularly from any linguistic river that has contributed to English? Should there not be a word 'sardony'?
July 23, 2009
I've had it with your sardony!
snapd commented on the word ticker
Wordnick should have a new category for some words: 'expressions'. Could one look up an expression? Not easy to do in most dictionaries as an expression is not a word. It is also not a quote or quite an adjective or adverb. Nor is it necessarily slang. It may be specialized usage, however. In this case, my question is: is the expression 'bum-ticker' a term deriving from the ticker-tape of elegraphy or does it refer to the slang use referring to the heart or a clock? Extended, does 'bum-ticker' describe more than just bad news and general trends such as a stock-market crash? As such, expressions evade wordsmiths and linguistics generally.
I've had it with your sardony!
snapd commented on the word family
The definition of family leaves out some of the larger social-physical dimensions that once was part of the word. It once referred not just to people related by sharing the same space, but more broadly the same place, as a village, or a large house with its complements of servants (which might be as many as several hundred). The more recent emphasis on blood relation or small family or group dilutesd the communal place association that tends to extend more toward clan or even tribe in addition to those 'employed' in the management of the opoeration (servants, slaves or not).
See p. 133 sewction 2.82 Carl Darling Buck's A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages, University of Chicago Press. The identity of the word broadens as it extends into adjacent languages. Or is it the other way round?
May 28, 2009
snapd commented on the word obituary
I do not have more definitive etymological information from Serbo Croatian but I find this mention from arl Darling Buck's A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in Principal Indo-European Languages University of Chicago Press page 133 section 2.82 (Family) number 6 to be interesting:
Serbo-Croatian obitelj: Church Slavonic obiteli ‘dwelling’ (of monks), ‘monastery’, from obitati ‘dwell’
The resemblance to obit is too startling for it not to merit further investigation?
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