Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ilene Evans Language Journal
Etymological Discoveries 6-12

6. Class
1602, from Fr. classe, from L. classis, one of the six orders into which Servius Tullius divided the Roman people for the purposes of taxation, traditionally originally "the people of Rome under arms," and thus akin to calare "to call (to arms)" (see
calendar). School and university sense (1656) is from the notion of a form or lecture reserved to a certain level of scholars. Natural history sense is from 1753. Meaning "a division of society according to status" is from 1772. The verb is first recorded 1705. Classy is from 1891. Class-consciousness (1903) is from Ger. klassenbewusst.

How has the word become associated with the state of status for people? Taxes? Hum. Class is such a big part of stories and theater. It is easily overlooked by our “wanna –be” democratic self image. It is such a big part of staus and self image.

O.E. blæc "black," from P.Gmc. *blak- (cf. O.N. blakkr "dark," Du. blaken "to burn"), from PIE *bhleg- "burn, gleam" (cf. Gk. phlegein "to burn, scorch," L. flagrare "to blaze, glow, burn"). Same root produced O.E. blac "white, bright" (see
bleach), the common notion being "lack of hue." The main O.E. word for "black" was sweart. "In ME. it is often doubtful whether blac, blak, blake, means 'black, dark,' or 'pale, colourless, wan, livid.'
" Adjective used of dark-skinned people in O.E. The noun in this sense is first attested 1625 (blackamoor is from 1547; see
moor). Of coffee, first attested 1796. Sense of "dark purposes, malignant" emerged 1583 (e.g. black art, 1590).Black list "list of persons who have incurred suspicion" is from 1692. Black market first attested 1931. Black eye in figurative sense of "bad reputation" is from 1880s. Blackberry was in O.E.; blackbird is from 1486. Black friar "Dominican" is first recorded 1500, so called from the color of their dress. black widow spider (1915) so called from the female's supposed habit of eating the male after mating (they are cannibalistic, but this particular behavior is rare in the wild). Black panther is from 1965, the movement an outgrowth of Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee. Black comedy first recorded 1963 (cf. Fr. pièce noire). To be in the black (1928) is from the accounting practice of recording credits and balances in black ink. Black Hills of S. Dakota (transl. Lakhota pahá-sapa) supposedly so called because their densely forested flanks look dark from a distance. For Black Sea, see Euxine.

We have a black waterfalls where I live, the water is dark because of the tannin released by the trees living on the river. The falls are stained with black and dark brown streaks.

Hysterical -
1615, from L. hystericus "of the womb," from Gk. hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb" (see
uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Hysterics is 1727; hysteria, abstract noun from hysteric, first recorded 1801 as a medical term.
Hysteria is so often ascribed to women, I wonder how the word got started. That hysteria was actually thought to be peculiar to women’s physiology suprized me.

O.E. gast "soul, spirit, life, breath," from P.Gmc. *ghoizdoz (cf. O.S. gest, O.Fris. jest, M.Du. gheest, Ger. Geist "spirit, ghost"), from PIE base *ghois- "to be excited, frightened" (cf. Skt. hedah "wrath;" Avestan zaesha- "horrible, frightful;" Goth. usgaisjan, O.E. gæstan "to frighten"). This was the usual W.Gmc. word for "supernatural being," and the primary sense seems to have been connected to the idea of "to wound, tear, pull to pieces." The surviving O.E. senses, however, are in Christian writing, where it is used to render L. spiritus, a sense preserved in Holy Ghost. Modern sense of "disembodied spirit of a dead person" is attested from c.1385 and returns the word toward its ancient sense. Most IE words for "soul, spirit" also double with ref. to supernatural spirits. Many have a base sense of "appearance" (e.g. Gk. phantasma; Fr. spectre; Pol. widmo, from O.C.S. videti "to see;" O.E. scin, O.H.G. giskin, originally "appearance, apparition," related to O.E. scinan, O.H.G. skinan "to shine"). Other concepts are in Fr. revenant, lit. "returning" (from the other world), O.N. aptr-ganga, lit. "back-comer." Bret. bugelnoz is lit. "night-child." L. manes, lit. "the good ones," is a euphemism. The gh- spelling appeared c.1425 in Caxton, influenced by Flem. and M.Du. gheest, but was rare in Eng. before c.1550. Sense of "slight suggestion" (in ghost image, ghost of a chance, etc.) is first recorded 1613; that in ghost writing is from 1884, but that term is not found until 1927. Ghost town is from 1931. Ghost in the machine was Gilbert Ryle's term (1949) for "the mind viewed as separate from the body."

10. Spirit (n.)
c.1250, "animating or vital principle in man and animals," from O.Fr. espirit, from L. spiritus "soul, courage, vigor, breath," related to spirare "to breathe," from PIE *(s)peis- "to blow" (cf. O.C.S. pisto "to play on the flute"). Original usage in Eng. mainly from passages in Vulgate, where the L. word translates Gk. pneuma and Heb. ruah. Distinction between "soul" and "spirit" (as "seat of emotions") became current in Christian terminology (e.g. Gk. psykhe vs. pneuma, L. anima vs. spiritus) but "is without significance for earlier periods" [Buck]. L. spiritus, usually in classical L. "breath," replaces animus in the sense "spirit" in the imperial period and appears in Christian writings as the usual equivalent of Gk. pneuma. Meaning "supernatural being" is attested from c.1300 (see
ghost); that of "essential principle of something" (in a non-theological sense, e.g. Spirit of St. Louis) is attested from 1690, common after 1800. Plural form spirits "volatile substance" is an alchemical idea, first attested 1610; sense narrowed to "strong alcoholic liquor" by 1678. This also is the sense in spirit level (1768).

11. Inspiration
c.1303, "immediate influence of God or a god," especially that under which the holy books were written, from O.Fr. inspiration, from L.L. inspirationem (nom. inspiratio), from L. inspiratus, pp. of inspirare "inspire, inflame, blow into," from in-"in" + spirare "to breathe" (see
spirit). Inspire in this sense is c.1340, from O.Fr. enspirer, from L. inspirare, a loan-transl. of Gk. pnein in the Bible. General sense of "influence or animate with an idea or purpose" is from 1390. Inspirational is 1839 as "influenced by inspiration;" 1884 as "tending to inspire."

O.E. gesiht, gesihð "thing seen," from P.Gmc. * Meaning "perception or apprehension by means of the eyes" is from c.1225. Meaning "device on a firearm to assist in aiming" is from 1588; the verb in this sense is from 1842. Sight for sore eyes "welcome visitor" is attested from 1738; sight unseen "without previous inspection" is from 1892. Sight gag first attested 1957.
"Verily, truth is sight. Therefore if two people should come disputing, saying, 'I have seen,' 'I have heard,' we should trust the one who says 'I have seen.' " [Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 5.14.4]

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