Tag Archives: Etymology

Words that are a foot-and-a-half long?

While reading a bit of commentary from north of the border, I came across a word, a big word unknown to me, sesquipedalian.

So I had to look it up, and Douglas Harper and his Online Etymology Dictionary don’t disappoint.

1610s, “person or thing a foot and a half long,” from Latin sesquipedalia “a foot-and-a-half long,” from sesqui- “half as much again” (see sesqui-) + stem of pes “foot” (from PIE root *ped- “foot”). As an adjective 1650s. Meaning “sesquipedalian word” (1830) is from Latin sesquipedalia verba “words a foot-and-a-half long,” in Horace’s “Ars Poetica” (97), nicely illustrating the thing he is criticizing.

Words that are a foot-and-a-half long? That certainly describes Conrad Black. But I do like him and his writing. His insights are a good perspective of whatever he’s commenting about.

Black’s trial and imprisonment is a case of the power of vindictive bureaucrats using the State to pursue their perverted senses of justice. Far too many people, from Martha Stewart to thousands of black men, have been wrongly caught up in the corrupt, highly profitable justice system.

There’s a lot of money in prisons. And we must demand reform! It’s time to reduce the prison population.

ajh

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The Origins of Easter

Besides the Jesus Part, Of Course

Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Ēostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing donned by people who were baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English.”

ajh