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{Wordtoid} Word Play, Episode 3: Written Edition (Resident Evil 2)


Hi again, this is the written component of episode three of Word Play for people who just want to read and don't feel like having Resident Evil 2 get in the way! If you want to know exactly what that series is, check out the first episode in the playlist (basically it's an LP where I talk about word histories). In episode three I discussed eight different words, which I shall list below along with approximations of the notes I read from during the episode. Enjoy!

Diamond: This comes to English through Greek and ultimately the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root a-daman and is related to another English word: adamant. "Diamond" was a term given to several super hard materials, not just the specific material we know of today, so the name was a description. The PIE root means "indomitable" or "unassailable" (literally "unable to be dominated") for the durability of such materials. "Adamantium" is therefore an alternative name for diamond.

Cord: From the Greek khorde which originally referred to intestines but the sense was later transferred to any stringy material, not just the ones inside of animals. It would get confused and become related to the word "chord" in music on the notion that stringed instruments have cords (which were originally made from intestines), but otherwise the two words are unrelated.

"Chord" gained the -h- likely to differentiate it from "cord", and is originally a shortening of "accord", and meant any two notes played in harmony. The word "accord" is Latin from a cordis meaning "of the heart" and relates to musical harmony on the notion of two hearts beating in unison.

Rook: Taken from the Hindi word rath meaning "chariot" which was the original name of the chess piece that today resembles a castle tower or rampart. But this piece's name wasn't changed to reflect the design change of the piece, as with others like the bishop (see episode two!).

Precinct: A very intimidating Latin term for a district used almost exclusively by police departments and the law (two bodies very fond of Latin terms). The Latin root is a rough cognate to the English prefix "pre-" and the word "cinch", and means to tie off or demarcate an area. "Pre-" in this case doesn't mean "before" but rather "around".

Heart: This word has a straight line back to PIE to a word of the exact same meaning, "kerd". This root is also connected to other words in English you might not expect like "credit" and "creed", both on the notion that the heart is the seat of personal traits like commitment and faith. The above entry for "accord" also shows that words related to the heart often imply cooperation or conviction (credit being a form of monetary trust and a creed being a type of belief or faith).

Sewer: This word is an example of a Latin word filtering through French (older forms of French) to make it go from exaquaria to the modern English "sewer". It didn't originally refer to what we would call sewage today, but to any runoff pipe or water system. The Latin term simply being two components ex- (out) and aqua (water).

Septic: This one was incredible simple, but I decided to leave it on here. It comes from Greek sepsis (a form of the word also currently in English and with no further cognates) and that's about as far back as we can go! Not every word has some twisty turny history.

Club: The club we see in the video is of the playing card suit variety, which of course resembles a clover. Clovers got this name from the bunching up of the leaves into a group. "Club" is Germanic in origin and originally described the knobby end of a... well, of a club. The word got the sense of "a social gathering space" on the whole "grouping" connotation that gave the card suit its name.

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About Dr Melone of us since 10:58 PM on 01.31.2012

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Hello, curious browser. I've been a reader of Dtoid for several years now and continue to enjoy the unique sense of community around these parts. I think I'll stick around, if ya don't mind.