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More toponyms

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November 29, 2006, 09:18
wordcrafter
More toponyms
Three of last week's "Egyptology" words (faience, natron, and Rosetta Stone) were toponyms: words derived from place names. So were two of the words presented the previous week under the "Dirksenian prose" theme (fustian; Chautauqua). So it seems appropriate to follow with a theme of toponyms, even though we've done one recently – particularly since I've recently come across a few more toponyms to add to my list.

We'll start with one more toponym of egyptology.

canopic – relating to an ancient Egyptian jar, etc. used to hold the viscera of an embalmed body
[after Canopus, an ancient city in northern Egypt]Bonus word:
viscera
– (plural noun; sing. viscus) the internal organs in the main cavities of the body, especially those in the abdomen
November 30, 2006, 15:21
wordcrafter
bialy – a flat, round baked roll topped with onion flakes (somewhat like a bagel but, unlike the bagel, it is not boiled before baking)
[after Bialystok, a city in northeast Poland]arras – a tapestry wall hanging
[after the French town of Arras, where tapestries were made]

You may recall from Hamlet, that Polonius hides behind an arras, to eavesdrop ("Behind the arras I'll convey myself, / To hear the process … ), and that Hamlet stabs him there. As Queen Gertrude relates (Act 4, Scene 1):
December 01, 2006, 09:44
wordcrafter
doolallyUK and India: dotty; eccentric; "nuts"
[Indian army slang doolally tap: from Deolali, a town near Bombay, + tap fever]As to meaning: Usages show a mild madness, not necessarily temporary and not enough to call for confinement. Hence I disagree with OED's "[of] an unbalanced state of mind", and Compact OED's "temporarily insane".

As to etymology: Some say Deolali was the site of a sanitarium; some say it was where British soldiers waited, pending transport home after their tour of duty, and were driven mad by heat, idleness and boredom. The tap may be from previous importation of tap as an English term meaning malarial fever (Pers. tap fever, heat), or directly from Urdu tap fever; ultimately it traces to Skr. tapa heat; pain; torment.
December 01, 2006, 17:52
<Asa Lovejoy>
quote:
baking)
[after Bialystok, a city in northeast Poland]


In the play, The Producers, the main character's name is Max Bialystok.

quote:
arras – a tapestry wall hanging
[after the French town of Arras, where tapestries were made]

You may recall from Hamlet, that Polonius hides behind an arras, to eavesdrop ("Behind the arras I'll convey myself, / To hear the process … ), and that Hamlet stabs him there. As Queen Gertrude relates (Act 4, Scene 1):
    Mad as the sea and wind, … in his lawless fit,
    Behind the arras hearing something stir,
    Whips out his rapier, cries, 'A rat, a rat!'
    And, in this brainish apprehension, kills
    The unseen good old man.


In St-Exupery's book, Flight to Arras, the main character overflies Arras to spy out concealed German forces. Makes me wonder if St-Ex had Hamlet in mind when he wrote it.
December 02, 2006, 17:54
wordcrafter
Today's word is not in any on-line dictionary I've found, but it's quite common in the press. I have provided the definition below.

K Street – the political lobbying industry of Washington, D.C.Bonus words:
parsimonious
– excessively sparing or frugal
metonymy – substituting one word or phrase for another with which it is closely associated, as Washington for the United States government
December 03, 2006, 11:59
wordcrafter
Two toponyms today. For the former we return to Washington, D.C., which gave us yesterday's word. For the latter we have a familiar word, but you probably did not know it came from a place-name.

Beltway – (typically in the phrase inside the Beltway) the political establishment of Washington, D.C., including federal officeholders, lobbyists, consultants, and media commentatorslimousine – a large luxurious car; esp. one with separate compartments for driver and for passengers