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(KE'RE OS'I TE) N., A LONGING TO LOOK
INTO THE THINGS OF THE LORD [C.1996 < GK.
KYRIOS LORD + -ITY; IMIT. CURIOSITY]


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Monday, September 09, 2002 AD
Roots That Just Don't Work Anymore
Why do we still use cc? It means carbon copy. When's the last time you saw a carbon copy other than in an antiquated credit card receipt?

I just came across another such term that's outlived its literal meaning -- J-card. A J-card is the label that slips inside an audio cassette case. It is folded in a J-shape so the largest part is at the front of the case, and a smaller part shows on the back. I am making some CD case inserts, and sure enough, the stock I'm using calls these inserts J-cards. There is absolutely nothing J-shaped about a 4" square piece of paper. And the card that goes in the back of the case, which is U-shaped (at least a little closer to J-shaped), is called a tray-card.

One of my favorite etymologies is that of the word penguin. It combines pen, meaning head, and guin, meaning white. (As an aside, Pendragon and Guinnevere come from the same roots. Who'd have thought flightless Antarctic birds would have any connection to Arthurian legend?) But penguins are generally black-headed! There evidently used to be a now-extinct white-headed Atlantic seabird aptly named "penguin" by sailors from the British Isles. The name probably spread to sailors of other tongues who weren't students of etymology. So the years passed, and the original penguin bird passed, but the name survived, attaching itself to the dissimilarly pated penguins we all know and love today.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9/09/2002 07:06:00 PM • Permalink




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