What amazing creatures words are. When you think of the word, ‘platypus’, what is foremost in your mind? Of course you think of how odd it is that the creature has a duck-like bill, but the word ‘platypus’ actually means ‘flat-footed’.
Where does the word, ‘parrot’ come from? It comes from Perrot, or Pierrot, meaning ‘little Pierre. Pierre, Pedro, Peter all come from the the same root, ‘root’. As Christ said of Peter, ‘on this rock I found my church’. One certainly doesn’t connect a parrot with a rock, but someone, at some time, happened to name a parrot, ‘little Peter’.
When something is covered with hair it is said to be ‘pilose’; the plural of such things is ‘Pilosi’. It’s not likely that Nancy will point that out to people!
What do we English-speaking people call the people from the Phillipine Islands? We call them ‘Philipinos’ (with an ‘ef’ sound), yet they can’t call themselves that. They call themselves ‘Pilipinos’ because they have no ‘ef’ sound in Tagalog, their native language.
Look at how differently we can spell words in English – ‘flocks’ and ‘phlox’! Why can’t we speakers of English agree on how to sound out words? English words such, as, ‘bough, dough, tough and cough’ drive foreigners crazy when they attempt to learn our language.
Although the word ‘yoga’ is similar in spelling to the word ‘yoke’, who would realize that the word ‘yoga’ means ‘a yoking’?
And, of course, there is a word for everything imaginable. The porous opening of a sponge in called ‘osculum’, and the plural is ‘oscula’. A woman who has never borne a child is ‘nullipara’. There’s no post-PARtum there. Who would think of naming a type of horse after a dove? But the word, ‘palomino’ means, ‘dove-colored’.
‘I came, I saw, I conquered’, is a well-known phrase, but what do you call that type of grammatical construction? It’s called, ‘parataxis’. It seems like the word would refer to some sort of disease or have something to do with taxes.
Someone who acts bold from being drunk is called, ‘potvalliant’. It sounds more like someone who smoked too much pot!
And finally, the root of the word, ‘cynic’ is ‘dog’. Confer ‘dog star’ -cynosure. And, of course, cynosure means someone in the limelight – a top dog.