Tuesday, April 13, 2021

SOME WORD ORIGINS

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WALRUS:
  • The origin of the word walrus derives from a Germanic language, and it has been attributed largely to either the Dutch language or Old Norse.
  • Its first part is thought to derive from a word such as Old Norse valr ("whale") and the second part has been hypothesized to come from the Old Norse word hross ("horse").
  • The Old Norse word hrossvalr means "horse-whale" and is thought to have been passed in an inverted form to both Dutch and the dialects of northern Germany as walros and Walross.
  • An alternative theory is that it comes from the Dutch words wal "shore" and reus "giant".

By the way:

According to Lennon’s childhood friend Pete Shotton, Lennon was inspired to write I Am the Walrus as a nonsense song after receiving a letter from Stephen Bayley, a pupil at his old primary school Quarry Bank. The letter revealed that a teacher was having his class analyse Beatles lyrics. Lennon asked Shotton to remind him of a playground rhyme they’d known from childhood:

Yellow matter custard, green slop pie, all mixed together with a dead dog’s eye.
Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick. Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick.

This became “Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye”, followed by a stream of mostly meaningless nonsense.

“Let the fuckers work that one out,” was his response to Shotton when he’d finished.

By the way #2:

The song’s title came from Lewis Carroll’s poem ‘The Walrus And The Carpenter’, from the book Through The Looking Glass. Lennon later realised with dismay that he’d identified with the villain of the piece.

It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles’ work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realised that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, shit, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, ‘I am the carpenter.’ But that wouldn’t have been the same, would it?
- John Lennon, interview 1980

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HIPPOPOTAMUS:

The Latin word hippopotamus is derived from the ancient Greek híppos, "horse", and potamós, "river", meaning "horse of the river".

In English, the plural is "hippopotamuses", but "hippopotami" is also used.

By the way:

A repost from Bytes:

Two Indian gentlemen on a train were deep in discussion.
One said “It is W - O - O - M."
“No,” said the other, “It is W - O - O - M - B."
“No, no, no you silly, silly man, it is W - O - O - M !”
“W - O - O - M - B !”
A refined English lady, looking and sounding somewhat like Dame Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey, overhears and eventually addresses them:
“Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear, the word is spelt W – O – M - B. Womb.”
One of the Indian gentleman pauses, looks at her and says:
“With all respect madam, we really do not think that you know what it sounds like when a hippopotamus farts underwater.”







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BUFFALO:

The word buffalo is derived from the French “bœuf,” a name given to bison when French fur trappers working in the US in the early 1600s saw the animals. The word bœuf came from what the French knew as true buffalo, animals living in Africa and Asia. Although this name was a mix-up of two different animals, many people still know bison as buffalo today.

By the way:

From a 2019 Bytes post:

Buffalo Wings are breaded, generally deep-fried and then coated or dipped in a sauce consisting of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and melted butter. But why are they called Buffalo Wings? The dish was invented in 1964 at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York by Teressa Bellissimo. The story is that at the time chicken wings were inexpensive and undesirable, primarily being used for stock or soup. When Teressa’s son Dominic arrived late at night with several of his friends from college, Teressa needed a fast and easy snack to present to her guests. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings (normally thrown away or reserved for stock) and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce.


Teressa Bellissimo

By the way #2:

Buffalo Gals" is a traditional American song, written and published in 1844 by the blackface minstrel John Hodges. The song was widely popular throughout the United States, where minstrels often altered the lyrics to suit local audiences, performing it as "New York Gals" in New York City, "Boston Gals" in Boston, or "Alabama Girls" in Alabama. The best-known version is named after Buffalo, New York.

The chorus is:

Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight?
Come out tonight,
Come out tonight?
Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight,
And dance by the light of the moon?

The Western Writers of America chose it in 2010 as one of the Top 100 Western Songs of all time.

The lyrics are a reference to the many "dancing girls" who performed in the bars, concert-hall dives, and brothels of the Buffalo, New York, Canal district, which at that time was the western terminus of the Erie Canal and the site where canal and freighter crewmen received their wages.
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RHINOCEROS:

The word "rhinoceros" comes from the Greek "rhino" (nose) and "ceros" (horn). The plural in English is rhinoceros or rhinoceroses. The collective noun for a group of rhinoceroses is crash or herd. The name has been in use since the 14th century.

By the way:

There are now five different species of rhino in the world. Two of these are native to Africa – the Black Rhinoceros and the White Rhinoceros – and three of these are native to Asia – the Indian Rhinoceros,Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros. The Black Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros are all listed as Critically Endangered – this means that they have a 50% chance of becoming extinct in the next three generations.





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