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发布者: 千缘 | 发布时间: 2019-12-11 02:11| 查看数: 68| 评论数: 0|帖子模式




The word arctic comes from arktos, the Greek word for “bear.” But, giant polar bears roaming the arctic tundra aren’t the bears in reference; rather, it’s the beautiful constellation Ursa Major (“Great Bear”) in the night sky above.


Before arctic described the northernmost region of the globe, the adjective referred to the celestial regions above the sparkling night sky. Beautiful!



Today, we think of a sturdy bed frame as being “robust” and “strongly built.” Seven hundred years ago, a sturdy frame would have been “hard to manage” and “reckless” (it was going through its teenage angsty phase and hated people getting on its back all the time).


The word possibly derives from the Latin turdus, the dull brown and speckled songbirds we now call thrushes. One origin narrative explains that thrushes pecked fermented grapes left over from winemaking and would become drunk. In their loopy state, they’d behave “recklessly,” ransack the fridge, leave the door open all night, and pass out on the couch. The French expression soûl comme une grive, “as drunk as a thrush,” seems to corroborate this.

这个词可能来源于拉丁语turdus,我们现在称之为画眉的一种暗褐色斑点鸣鸟。一种原始的说法是画眉啄食酿酒时剩下的发酵的葡萄会喝醉。在这种精神错乱的状态下,他们会“不顾一切”地洗劫冰箱,整夜不关门,然后昏倒在沙发上。法语表达“soul comme une grive”“像一只画眉一样昏醉”似乎证实了这一点。


Have you ever thought that when a person bawls, it sounds like a barking dog? If so, you’re on to the Latin origins of this word.


In Latin, baulare meant “to bark like a dog,” and when the word was first adopted into English, it was only used in reference to man’s best friend. But, because distressed human beings can sound so much like dogs when they gulp for air and woof sobs of sadness, bawl is now a verb used to describe crying.



A butcher makes a living slaughtering animals to sell for meat, all kinds of animals. But, the word butcher originally referred to only a single animal: the goat.


From the Old French bochier (boc meant “goat”), butcher literally meant “slaughterer of goats.” Not surprising to see animal inspiration behind this word, right?

在古法语bochier (boc的意思是“山羊”)中,butcher的字面意思是“山羊的屠夫”。看到这个词背后的动物灵感并不奇怪,对吧?


In some places, mosquitos are so bad a canopy of netting is installed around beds to keep the menaces from aggravating sleepers.


Similarly, Ancient Greeks built kanopeions, “couches with mosquito curtains,” to block the konops, “mosquitos.” By the time the word canopy was assimilated into English in the late 1300s, it referred only to the curtain and not the couch-and-curtain ensemble.



Back in the 1800s, it was popular to hunt snipes, or long-billed birds notorious for being jittery and flying at high speeds—making them one of the most difficult game birds to shoot.


Moving too close to them would really ruffle their feathers and ruin a good shot, so the only way a sniper (snipe hunter) could possibly hit the bird was from a distance, hidden out of sight.



Fans of British dramas may know that hackneys were the Ubers of centuries past. The word originates from the Old French haquenée, or a docile horse suitable for the dainty and delicate dispositions of the fairer sex.


Hackney then came to describe any horse hired out for service (along with the coach or carriage it was attached to). Poor hackney horses suffered through the drudgery of hard and incessant labor, pounding the streets every day until they were used up. By extension, anything that’s hackneyed reflects that sense of wearied, worn-out toil.



Replacing the word tragedy with its Ancient Greek meaning turns tragic comic: “It was such a goat song the way Romeo and Juliet both die at the end!” “Goat song”? Yes, that is indeed what tragoedia means (from tragos, “goat” and oide, “song”).


Numerous conjectures try to explain this peculiar meaning; some say the earliest tragic plays were performed by actors dressed in goatskins; others relate the meaning’s origins to the fact that the goat was the sacred animal of Dionysus (the god of theater) and tragedies were the first plays created in the god’s honor.



Also related to the noble equine, a hobby in the 1400s was a “small, active horse,” perfect for pulling a cart. The name for the small horse easily lent itself to describe a tiny toy horse in the word hobbyhorse.


Hobbyhorses are fun but they don’t go anywhere, which is exactly the sense that hobby came to pick up next: a favorite pastime that “doesn’t go anywhere,” or that isn’t one’s main (and very serious) occupation.



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