Posts Tagged ‘exact word’

Etymology Always Amazes!

I took two courses about etymology; however, the teaching style of my professor was not one of the best 🙂 He added thousands of words to his course book together with all the Latin and Greek affixes… As a second year university student, around the age of 19-20, it did not make much sense to me- I just memorized them for the exams. After years of learning other German and Latin languages, I understood it was one of the most important courses for a language student! When you know certain roots and affixes in Latin and Greek, you can easily guess the meaning of many words. When you know the history of a word, it is a piece of cake to recall it. If you are interested in languages and if you want to learn a language fast, you should really study etymology first. 

I forgot 80% of the words that I learned but I want to share a couple of interesting words and their histories with you:


n. Murderer, generally somewhat professional; esp. one who murders a prominent figure.

During the time of the Crusades the members of a certain secret Muslim sect engaged people to terrorise their Christian enemies by performing murders as a religious duty. These acts were carried out under the influence of hashish, and so the killers became known as hashshashin, meaning eaters or smokers of hashish.Hashshashin evolved into the word assassin.

Avocado (Avocado Pear)

n. Pear-shaped fruit with dark green, leathery skin, a large stony seed, and greenish-yellow edible pulp. Also the topical American tree on which this fruit grows.

Originally the Aztecs called this fruit ahucatl after their word for testicle. This is may be partly due to the fruit’s resemblance to a testicle, but also because it was supposedly believed to be an aphrodisiac. To the Spaniards ahucatl sounded like avocado (=advocate, Spanish), and so the fruit came to Europe, via Spain, under that name.Avocado pears are also sometimes called Alligator pears. The etymology of this is far more obvious; the skin of these fruits is dark green, thick, leathery, and knobbly, rather like that of an alligator.


n. Danger; vb. To risk or expose to danger.

This term evolved from the Arabic al zahr, which means the dice. In Western Europe the term came to be associated with a number of games using dice, which were learned during the Crusades whilst in the Holy Land. The term eventually took on the connotation of danger because, from very early on, games using dice were associated with the risky business of gambling and con artists using corrupted dice.


n. Infectious disease characterised by chills and fever and caused by the bite of an infected anopheles mosquito.

This word comes from the mediaeval Italian mal (=bad) and aria (=air), describing the miasma from the swamps around Rome. This ‘bad air‘ was believed to be the cause of the fever that often developed in those who spent time around the swamps. In fact the illness, now known as malaria, was due to certain protozoans present in the mosquitos that bred around these swamps, and which caused recurring feverish symptoms in those they bit.


n. A line of ancestors; descent; lineage; genealogy; a register or record of a line of ancestors.

Believed to be derived from the French ped de gru, which meant crane’s foot (the modern French equivalent is pied de la grue). The crane’s foot is said to resemble the/|\ symbol on genealogical trees. It has also been suggested that it comes from par degrés, the French for by degrees. A pedigree chart records the relationship of families by degrees.

Phony (or Phoney)

adj. Something that is not genuine; a fake or imitation.

British thieves and swindlers of old used many secret codewords. One such word was fawney, which referred to a gilt ring. They would sell these, saying that they were made of real gold. But the rings were not genuine gold, and the word phony – fromfawney – came to be used for anything that is fake or not genuine.


n. Any forced stoppage of travel or communication on account of malignant, contagious disease, on land or by sea.

From the French quarante (=forty). Adding the suffix –aine to French numbers gives a degree of roughness to the figure (like –ish in English), so quarantaine means about forty. Originally when a ship arriving in port was suspected of being infected with a malignant, contagious disease, its cargo and crew were obliged to forego all contact with the shore for a period of around forty days. This term came to be known as period of quarantine.

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Brotherhood Quotations for the Brotherhood Week


Today is the first day of the brotherhood week in Turkey. I think the term, brotherhood, is something that most of us has already forgot. What about reminding them that “we are all different but we are all same”? I know that this post will reach to very few people; however, I want to believe in the power of social media somehow 🙂 When I check the statistics of this blog, I see that language lovers from more than 20 countries read and enjoy the same post. I guess even this is enough to see that we have no major differences… Here are some quotatations about brotherhood and unity:

You cannot contribute anything to the ideal condition of mind and heart known as Brotherhood, however much you preach, posture, or agree, unless you live it.  ~Faith Baldwin

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.  ~John Donne

The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.  ~James Baldwin

In union there is strength.  ~Aesop

Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.  ~Alexander the Great

So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.  ~Bahá’u’lláh

I look to a time when brotherhood needs no publicity; to a time when a brotherhood award would be as ridiculous as an award for getting up each morning.  ~Daniel D. Mich

Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking.  ~Mahatma Gandhi

In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.  ~Booker T. Washington

Our design is so flawed, so take everything and fill the gaps with selfless love.

We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.  ~Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.  ~Virginia Burden, The Process of Intuition

We’re all just walking each other home.  ~Ram Dass

Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.  ~Kenyan Proverb

I have often noticed that when chickens quit quarreling over their food they often find that there is enough for all of them.  I wonder if it might not be the same with the human race.  ~Don Marquis


P.S. The word “brotherhood” may not sound politically correct 🙂 As a female blogger and translator, I wanted to find another term for this but I could not find anything more suitable to the context. Any comment about that is welcomed 🙂

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Do You Want to Learn an Agglutinative Language? Think Twice!

Well, my native language is an agglutinative one, Turkish. After taking comparative linguistics courses, I understood why so few people speak Turkish because it is crazy! It is hard to guess why people speak such a hard language; its logic is very complex and confusing. There are hundreds of exceptions which makes it almost impossible to make rules 🙂 When you examine the chart below, you will see what I mean 🙂 Thanks God I am native, otherwise I would have to try hard to learn an agglutinative language!

In this chart, you see a Turkish word “muvaffak” meaning successful. By adding suffixes, you can make a whole sentence out of one word! Adding suffixes  alone is not enough because the vowels and the consonants are also changing according to the vowel or consonant that follow.

I’ve found this on internet, so I do not know who made it. However, I would like to thank the creator.

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Do You Have Problems with Your Pronunciation?

Even if you you know a language, it is almost impossible to know all the words and the way they pronounce. I am a French learner, so I generally try to read French articles and look up the dictionary for the unknown words. However, when I need to use them in a conversation, I  just cannot do anything. I know the word, I know how to spell it but I cannot be sure how to pronounce it in the right way. I have found a  very practical web site! There are 30 languages with many dialects. I find it very useful because you can also hear different pronunciations of the same word. I hope you also like it:

First you choose your language and the dialect:

You can also give some effects! Level feature enables you to change the form of the effect.

I recommend this website to my friends who are trying to learn a language online or on their own 🙂

Click here for this website.

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You Can Utter the Lines of Shakespeare!

I always try to publish articles that are interesting and informative at the same time. Just before weekend, I want to enjoy a couple of lines that resemble to the ones of Shakespeare’s. Here is a very funny chart. You just pick one phrase from each column and combine them together. The outcome sounds like wonderfully embellished lines of the sonets… They generally do not mean something beautiful but give it a try just for fun 🙂

In Turkey, if your field is Foreign Languages in university, you are supposed to study English and American Literature. I took many courses about literature, poetry and Shakespeare. That’s why I wanted to share this with you; this totally amused me when I saw it. Please do not take it as an insult by the way 😦

I also thank Chris Seidel for this great post. I cannot give the link because I came across this on Stumbleupon, I tried to reach to the link but it just did not work…  All I could find was the name of the publisher, Chris 🙂

Combine one word from each of the three columns below, prefaced with “Thou”:

Column 1	    Column 2            Column 3 

artless             base-court          apple-john
bawdy               bat-fowling         baggage
beslubbering        beef-witted         barnacle
bootless            beetle-headed       bladder
churlish            boil-brained        boar-pig
cockered            clapper-clawed      bugbear
clouted             clay-brained        bum-bailey
craven              common-kissing      canker-blossom
currish             crook-pated         clack-dish
dankish             dismal-dreaming     clotpole
dissembling         dizzy-eyed          coxcomb
droning             doghearted          codpiece
errant              dread-bolted        death-token
fawning             earth-vexing        dewberry
fobbing             elf-skinned         flap-dragon
froward             fat-kidneyed        flax-wench
frothy              fen-sucked          flirt-gill
gleeking            flap-mouthed        foot-licker
goatish             fly-bitten          fustilarian
gorbellied          folly-fallen        giglet
impertinent         fool-born           gudgeon
infectious          full-gorged         haggard
jarring             guts-griping        harpy
loggerheaded        half-faced          hedge-pig
lumpish             hasty-witted        horn-beast
mammering           hedge-born          hugger-mugger
mangled             hell-hated          joithead
mewling             idle-headed         lewdster
paunchy             ill-breeding        lout
pribbling           ill-nurtured        maggot-pie
puking              knotty-pated        malt-worm
puny                milk-livered        mammet
qualling            motley-minded       measle
rank                onion-eyed          minnow
reeky               plume-plucked       miscreant
roguish             pottle-deep         moldwarp
ruttish             pox-marked          mumble-news
saucy               reeling-ripe        nut-hook
spleeny             rough-hewn          pigeon-egg
spongy              rude-growing        pignut
surly               rump-fed            puttock
tottering           shard-borne         pumpion
unmuzzled           sheep-biting        ratsbane
vain                spur-galled         scut
venomed             swag-bellied        skainsmate
villainous          tardy-gaited        strumpet
warped              tickle-brained      varlot
wayward             toad-spotted        vassal
weedy               unchin-snouted      whey-face
yeasty              weather-bitten      wagtail

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Digital Dialects

There are times you have to sit in front of the computer-waiting for something like an e-mail- but you cannot find anything useful to do and you just kill your time on Facebook or Twitter, looking at 500 photos of one of your friends 🙂 It happens to me a lot, that’s why I bookmark the useful websites and blogs that I come across on internet. You wouldn’t believe when you hear how many websites there are that can teach you any language at the basic level. I discovered one and I immediately bookmarked it 🙂 I also recommend you to do so. There are some language exercises with audio feature as well, such as Turkish 🙂 You can also test yourself with plays after learning 15-20 new words. I hope you enjoy this website.

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Do You Want to Rearrange Your Words?

Until recently, I hadn’t know what anagram is. I stumbled upon a website which rearranges the letters of any word that you write. This is amazing because this website shows more options than one can think just looking at the letters. I like it a lot and I want to share it with you. Maybe you also enjoy seeing how many options one may have!

What is an Anagram?

noun: A word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase.

verb: To rearrange letters in such a way. To anagrammatize.

How does it work?

You just type the word you want:

Then you click on “Get anagrams” to see how many words you can have by rearranging the positions of the letters:

The only thing I do not like is that you can sometimes have words without any meaning (at least in English). I guess the computer gives all the possible rearrangements regardless of their meanings.

Anyway, it is a good and an interesting service especially for us, the language lovers. You can give it a try- after all it is free 🙂

Click here to try.

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After Reading This, Take a Little Break

We, as the computer community- or whatever you call it, do not know how to take a break! Between translations or computer-based tasks, we directly go and sign in Facebook or Twitter, we read blogs or watching some videos. This just cannot be a break because what makes you tired is the computer itself. It is very important to comfort ourselves with another way other than social media, otherwise our performance gets poorer after a couple of hours. Just think about the system when you were a primary school student. In Turkey, there is at least a 10 mins break after a 40 mins lecture in primary and high school (in university, it is completely up to the professor though). I guess, this period is defined by the scientists. Anyway, to cut it short, I found a good article by SDE Translation, telling the importance of taking breaks regularly. I also want to thank the auther for this wonderful article. I paste the parts that I find most interesting. You can always read the whole article by clicking the link at the bottom:

– … And then there comes the odd “tired day”. These are days when I  just feel like I can’t achieve much and just want to doze off. “I’m really too tired to work but this translation has to be done by such and such date, so if I rest now, I’ll never finish on time.” Many of us probably understand the feeling.

– Then there are the financial needs and worries. “I’ll never be able to pay this or this or that if I allow myself to take a break!”

– he work I force myself to do when I’m tired is of alesser quality, less creative, and is produced slower than when I’m rested. Moreover, I’m not as good at noticing details, not as sharp when I’m tired.

–  I quickly saw the benefit of focusing on people for a while, and letting my body and my brain relax and take it easy.

–  Life pass by very fast when you’re busy and if you don’t make time to think about priorities, you might wake up one day wondering where it has all gone. I work to live, not the other way round. I love my job and I work hard, but I also know there’s more to life than being stuck in front of an LCD screen typing away on a keyboard.

–  It has happened to me that after working several hours on a text, I took a break and after the break I could notice big mistakes right away that I hadn’t seen before. Sometimes I can be stuck on a word or expression and after getting away for a while, I have better ideas and can solve problems more quickly.

– By taking a break, I don’t mean going on Facebook or Twitter, reading blogs or answering emails, but shifting attention. Doing something else, completely different by getting away from the computer.

– Try not to eat too many sweets, cakes, biscuits, crisps and the like (That is actually challenging for me) during your breaks but eat fruits and veggies instead, it’s brain food.

– If you can, go somewhere for the week-end, or a week, or more, during which you focus on people and don’t think about work. You’ll feel even more motivated and inspired when you come back!

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Conflicting English Proverbs

Our ancestors always found a summarizer sentence or phrase for any kind of situation in life. They said “the pen is mightier than sword” for emphasizing the importance of education and bureaucracy instead of ignorance and war. This is a very good saying; however, it seems that they were a little bit confused! Since they also said “actions speak louder than words”. They just do not have one attitude towards the life, but they have multiple attitudes towards different situations. Please do not get me wrong, I have no intention of joking about our old people. However, this piece of information (down below) proves that we, as people, can justify almost any actions we make. It is just funny and it does not require thinking so deeply. Just enjoy the proverbs below and see how conflicting we can be! The source of this image is not certain, but I want to thank the creator of it. I hope you enjoy!



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Keep up with the Latest English!

Not just English but every language produces new sayings and the grammer rules. This is quite normal because “everything is changing” and the language itself is a living thing. In my opinion, it is not true to label the changes as “mistakes”. It is just hard to witness a change, we all have a language habit and the new generation is replacing our habits with new patterns and rules. Maybe, the next generation will not suffer as much as we do 🙂 I do not have solid ideas about the new rules or patterns. I am trying to keep up with novelties and enjoying to see how far a language can be  flexible. Crawford Kilian wrote a wonderful article explaining this issue. I pasted only the part about the changes. I recommend you to read the whole article if you are interested. You can find the link at the bottom of the page as usual.

1. “Thank you very much.” “No problem.” In Old English, the answer would be: “You’re welcome.”

2. “Me and him went to the Canucks game.” In Old English, “me” and “him” are in the objective case, not the subjective; in New English, “I” and “me” and “he” and “him” are interchangeable: “Dad gave he and I tickets to the Canucks game.”

3. “Snow and sleet is falling on the Coquihalla.” Old English treats a compound subject as plural. New English doesn’t know what a compound subject is.

4. “The Sedins played great in the third period.” In Old English, verbs take adverbs, not adjectives: “The Sedins played brilliantly in the third period.”

5. “You did real good in your presentation, you’re sure to make the sale.” In Old English, you do real good when you donate to the Red Cross, and you do really well when your presentation impresses your audience. Also, in Old English, you put a period or semicolon between one independent clause and another if you don’t want to use a conjunction like “so.”

6. “We’ve done alright since we moved to Calgary.” In Old English, “alright” is alwrong. We say “all right.”

7. “The company has less full-time employees, but the amount of part-timers has grown.” In Old English, “less” and “amount” apply only to non-count nouns like “flour” and “wealth.” It says “fewer employees” and “number of part-timers.”

8. “The committee made a fulsome study of the problem.” In Old English, “fulsome” means insincerely flattering. In New English, it somehow means “full.”

9. “She’s an alumni of Simon Fraser.” In Old English (and Old Latin), “alumni” is the male plural of “alumnus,” and she must be an alumna of SFU.

10. “So I’m like, ‘What’s your problem?'” In Old English, “I’m like” is pronounced “I said.”

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