|Saturday, May 24, 2003||
IN the early seventeenth century, brandy was called brandewine. It was taken from the Dutch brandewijn, literally meaning ‘burnt wine’, made up as it is of branden (burn, distil) and wijn (wine). Later it came to be known as brandywine that was shortened to brandy.
The hippopotamus is a large, thick-skinned semiaquatic African mammal with massive jaws and tusks. The Greeks gave the animal its name by coining a word to describe the bulky, barrel-shaped animal that spends most of the day bathing in rivers. The two elements of the word are hippos (horse) and potomos (river).
Fanatic is derived from
the Latin adjective fanaticus (of, or relating to a temple),
which is derived from the noun fanum (temple). It was later
used in reference to those pious individuals who were thought to be
inspired by a deity. In time, the sense ‘frantic, frenzied, mad’
arose because it was thought that persons behaving in such a manner
were possessed by a deity. The earliest sense of the word referred to
a religious maniac, which led to the idea of single-minded zeal or
enthusiasm in any area.
In the early years of the sixteenth century there began to appear in Britain a wandering race of people who were ultimately of Hindu origin and called themselves and their language Romany. In Britain, however, it was popularly believed that they came from Egypt, and thus they were called Egipcyans. This was soon shortened to Gypcyans and by the year 1600 it became Gipsy. Today, a gypsy is a member of a travelling people, making a living through seasonal work or fortune telling. Their nomadic trait has led to the adjective gypsyish, for a person who may look like a gypsy or may be a wanderer.
Chocolate comes through French, from the Spanish word chocolate, which refers to a drink or other food made of a mixture of cocoa seeds and certain other seeds. The Spanish word was borrowed from the Aztecs’ word chokolatl, which meant food made from cacao seeds.
Hijack is a word completely American in origin. It is believed that hijack comes from the command ‘High, Jack!’ This is in slang a way of telling the person being robbed to raise his arms up in the air, like hands-up. The literal sense is common enough; figuratively it refers to taking over something and using it for a different purpose than the one it is intended for.
While using language, many
times certain words come up that reinforce the oneness of the human
race, the common denominator of human experience that all languages
share, showing a glimmer of hope for peace. Pait, the word for
stomach shared by Hindi and Sanskrit originally meant bag or container. Udar
is also used for stomach in Hindi, a word that again means bag.
Obviously, the idea developed out of the many items the stomach
contains: organs, food, gastric juices and so on. The Irish word bolg
means both bag and stomach. And then, the English belly is derived from
the Old English belig, meaning bag.