Sunday, January 29, 2017

Horn


Matthew from Cadillac asked if the horns of a goat, say, and the horns played in an orchestra are connected etymologically. The short answer is yes.

The English word derived from various Germanic and Scandinavian words. In turn, they owed their existence to the Latin cornu, horn. Originally, the word designated a bony appendage on the head of certain mammals.

It then branched out to mean something shaped like an animal’s horn. That applied to the musical instrument (which early on was constructed from an animal’s horn) and to certain containers; think horn of plenty, which is technically called a cornucopia. That makes the Latin origin quite obvious.

The word branched out into other meanings, too. It was used as a biblical symbol of strength, might, and power. It designates the device attached to motor vehicles that is sounded as a warning signal. It is the name of the high pommel of a saddle, and in colloquial use, it was a telephone. In logic, it is each of the alternatives of a dilemma.

In the 18th century, it began to be used to name an erection. That explains the word horny, and it all comes together in horny as a goat.


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.





Friday, January 13, 2017

Tend


Tend is a word all by itself. It means to bestow attention, to have a purpose, or to advance. It is based on the Latin word tendere, to stretch. That verb also contained the senses to strain or to strive.

Worth noting is that –tend was frequently used as a word part in combination with various prefixes. Some of the words in the following list are now obsolete, but they demonstrate the usefulness of this word part through the centuries.

·      attend:  To watch over something. [L. ad-, towards, + tendere, to stretch]
·      bartend: To serve drinks in a bar.[OF. barre, rigid piece of wood, + L. tendere, to stretch]
·      circumtend: To stretch around something.[L. circum-, around, + tendere, to stretch]
·      contend: To strive earnestly. [L. con-, with, + tendere, to stretch]
·      detend: To reduce the tension or the intensity of something. [L. de-, undo, + tendere, to stretch]
·      distend: To swell out. [L. dis-, away and out, + tendere, to stretch]
·      extend:  To expand or prolong.  [L. ex-, out, + tendere, to stretch]
·      intend:  To have a purpose. [L. in-, onward continuance, + tendere, to stretch]
·      mistend: To fail to give proper attention to something.  [L. mis-, badly, + tendere, to stretch]
·      obtend:  To proffer or put forward.  [L. ob-, in front of, + tendere, to stretch]
·      ostend:  To indicate directly.  [L. ob-, in front of, + tendere, to stretch]
·      portend:  To forecast or give warning. [L. por-, forward, + tendere, to stretch]
·      pretend:  To feign.  [L. pre-, before, + tendere, to stretch]
·      retend: To return.  [L. re-, again, + tendere, to stretch]
·      subtend: To form an angle; to underlie.  [L. sub-, under, + tendere, to stretch]
·      tend: To bestow attention; to have a purpose; to advance.  [L. tendere, to stretch]

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.






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