Similarly, it took me 46 years to figure out that the "horizon" is horizontal.
When I talk to people about these two words (quart and horizon), half of them respond by saying "Duh. What rock have you been living under?" The other half, though, says something like, "Oh my goodness! Now I'll be able to remember how many quarts are in a gallon! Thank you!"
I realize that most words in the English language share etymological roots with other words. What I'm looking for are common words whose etymology is enlightening and dead obvious once you think about it, but which intelligent educated people are often completely unaware of.
posted by alms to writing language (142 answers total) 113 users marked this as a favorite
This one fits with your theme, albeit in a different language. When I was learning French I was told that the word coupable, which means guilty, comes from the verb couper, which means 'to cut.' So if you were worthy of having your head cut off your were cuttable > coupable > hence culpable cheap nfl jerseys in English.
I just like that one a lot. It would probably make some Frenchmen and women slap their foreheads.
posted by fso at 9:56 AM on May 4, 2010 cheap nfl jerseys [4 favorites]
Damn. tencent piece doesn't actually cheap jerseys say "ten cents" anywhere on it. It's officially a dime, and we're just supposed to know that that's a tenth of a dollar and/or ten cents.
posted by Etrigan at 9:59 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]
No idea if it's too obvious, but of course the province Newfoundland is new found land. wait for it. When I was learning French I was told that the word coupable, which means guilty, comes from the verb couper, which means 'to cut.'
That's a cool story, but wrongit comes from the Latin culpare, to blame, like the English "culpable".
I like that jaded and jade are from the same root, although it's probably a little too obscure to be obvious. ("jade"=an old worn out horse)
posted by phoenixy at 10:03 AM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]
An OVAL is shaped like an egg.
posted by asockpuppet at 10:04 AM on May 4, 2010 [13 favorites]
A reunion is to unite again. A reunion.
posted by fso at 10:04 AM cheap nfl jerseys on May 4, 2010
Oh, and the drug Prilosec was the first drug that worked by inhibiting the action of the parietal cells, and its a mashup of "parietal low secretion."
posted by selfmedicating at 10:05 AM on May 4, 2010 [2 favorites]
The equator is an imaginary line that divides the globe into equal parts. Not sure if these apply, but the words 'canola' and 'nylon' are somewhat acronymic (is that a word?). Canola oil is "Canada oil, low acid" and Nylon simply names the two cities in which said substance was invented (New York, London).
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