Whurdling through etymology
- No: negative reply, early 13c., from Old English na (adv.) “no, never, not at all”, from ne “not, no” + a “ever”.
- Not: negative particle, mid-13c., unstressed variant of noht, naht “in no way”.
- Nothing: Old English naþing, naðinc, from nan “not one” + þing “thing”. Meaning “insignificant thing” is from c. 1600. As an adverb from c. 1200. As an adjective from 1961.
- Nowhere: Old English nahwær “nowhere, not at all;”. Similar constructions were attempted with nowhat (1520s) and nowhen (1764), but they failed to take hold and remain nonce words.
- Nonce: abstracted from phrase for þe naness (c. 1200) “for a special occasion, for a particular purpose,” itself a misdivision of for þan anes “for the once,” in reference to a particular occasion or purpose, the þan being from Middle English dative definite article þam.
Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ). Pronounced as ‘th’ in thick. The letter originated from the rune ᚦ in the Elder Fuþark. Eth (Ð, ð; also spelled edh or eð). Pronounced similarly to the th in English “the”, but it never appears as the first letter of a word, where þ (Thorn) is used in its place.
More to come; now there’s a threat
Note: to “whurdle” is to wander through a book or website without any guidance other than whim. Yup; I made it up.
Really: click on the pics to see ’em as big as poss – it’s worthwhile.
Wednesday the First
Apparently – don’t remember myself but judging by the pictures – a HOT day:
The thistle head is one of several big (Scottish?) thistles which have appeared on the north side of the pond. Butterflies becoming more obvious in the sun. Blackbirds and, unusually(?), a robin basking in the heat.
The palest of purple flowers and common blue damselflies mating in the canal.
Onward to Shireoaks Woodlands where the scarlet pimpernels are very much in evidence. The cinnabar moths aren’t so common but teasels are ubiquitous. I love the almost architectural appearance of teasels. Small pink flowers (what? Common storksbill?) are scattered about. The ant’s aphid farm was back down near home again.
Thursday the Second
A very butterflyish day.
Skippers – there’s large and small – can never be sure which is which until I see both at the same time.
Meadow browns and ringlets are fairly similar and it sometimes takes two looks to distinguish them.
First place I’ve seen marbled whites and cinnabar moths. Well the first place I’ve known what I was seeing, anyway.
Ladybird and a ladybird larva(?). Spider with a mating damselfly about to provide dinner and a spider going for a walk.
Moer nats, nets, nits and nots
- gnat Old English gnæt “gnat, midge, small flying insect,”
- net: Old English net “netting, network, spider web, mesh used for capturing,” also figuratively, “moral or mental snare or trap,”
net: “remaining after deductions,” 1510s, from earlier sense of “trim, elegant, clean, neat” (c. 1300)
net: “to gain as a net sum,” 1758.
net: “to capture in a net,” early 15c.
- Knit: Old English cnyttan “to tie with a knot, bind, fasten”.
- Knot: Old English cnotta “intertwining of ropes, cords, etc.”.
- nut: “hard seed,” Old English hnutu
- Narwhal: 1650s, from Danish and Norwegian narhval, probably a metathesis of Old Norse nahvalr, literally “corpse-whale,” from na “corpse” + hvalr “whale”. So called from resemblance of its whitish colour to that of dead bodies.
Friday the Thirdplanefinder”
Shireoaks Carnival:(is that a word? – ’tis now) shrub in a Shireoaks garden caught my eye. The band and procession processed from the level crossing to the showground. The bee tent was probably the most popular (entirely personal opinion). Narrowboat Calvert was passing as I left.
A few yesish words for balance
- Yes: Old English gise, gese “so be it!”, probably from gea, ge “so” + si “be it!,” third person imperative of beon “to be”. Originally stronger than simple yea.
- Yester-: Old English geostran “yesterday”.
- Yea: Old English gea (West Saxon), ge (Anglian) “so, yes,”
- Year: Old English gear (West Saxon), ger (Anglian) “year”.
Interestingly (or not?):
Y: a late-developing letter in English. Called ipsilon in German, upsilon in Greek, the English name is of obscure origin. The sound at the beginning of yard, yes, yield, etc. is from Old English words with initial g- as in got and y- as in yet, which were considered the same sound and often transcribed as Ȝ, known as yogh. The system was altered by French scribes, who brought over the continental use of -g- and from the early 1200s used -y- and sometimes -gh- to replace Ȝ.
Tuesday the seventh
The thistles are showing really well. A ringlet and three views of a skipper.
The spider is Tibellus oblongus Google tells me — eventually.
Roger: masculine proper name, from Old French Rogier, from Old High German Hrotger, literally “famous with the spear“. As a generic name for “a person,” attested from 1630s. Slang meaning “penis” was popular c. 1650-c. 1870; hence the slang verb sense of “to copulate with (a woman),” attested from 1711.
The use of the word in radio communication to mean “yes, I understand” an abbreviation for “received.” Said to have been used by the R.A.F. since 1938.
The Jolly Roger pirate flag is first attested 1723, of unknown origin; jolly here has its otherwise obsolete Middle English sense “high-hearted, gallant.”
Roger de Coverley, once a favourite English country dance, is so called from 1685, in reference to Addison’s character in the “Spectator.”