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This week's theme is undecided. Today's entry fits two themes I'd been planning, and it again concerns the salmon's lifestyle. The fish's very name probably comes from its lifestyle, for its swim upstream requires it to leap [Latin salire] over small waterfalls.
    Salmon fishing may be the oldest ongoing regulated profession in the English-speaking world. Regulation began before the Norman invasion.
    – David R. Montgomery, King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon‎ (2004) (ellipses omitted)
In pre-industrial days salmon teemed in the rivers of Great Britain, along with much-smaller fish called fry and parr.¹ UK regulations protected both the mature salmon, returning from the ocean, and the smaller salmon, called a smolt, that had not yet left its native river for the open seas. Fry and parr were unregulated, for they are different fish with different coloration.

No one realized that the fry and parr, despite their coloration, are in fact the same fish as the salmon in still-younger stages before it takes on its silvery color. (This was not proved until 1883.) The reason for the distinct terms parr and fly is now gone, but the terms survive.
    the 1.2 million fry released each spring from the hatchery face no easy path from infancy to adulthood. Each little salmon must gradually metamorphose into a different sort of fish, a smolt, capable of making the transition to life in salt water.
    National Geographic, August, 2009 (ellipses omitted)
smolt – a young salmon when, at about age two years, it becomes covered with an adult's silvery scales and first migrates from fresh water to the sea
parr – a young salmon, between smolt and fry
fry – a very young salmon, one that is no longer living off its yolk sac, is feeding, but is not yet dispersed from its nesting ground [more generally, the very young of other fish or many-egg layers, such as frogs]


From Montgomery: "Rivers across northern Europe were once full of salmon. By 1960, salmon were extinct in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Today salmon have been all but exterminated from the rivers of Spain, France, Portugal, Denmark, Finland and the Baltic states. Just four European countries—Norway, Ireland, Iceland, and Scotland—still have comparatively healthy populations of salmon. Only remnants remain of continental Europe's once mesmerizing salmon runs."

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Fry and parr arose as words from a more-primitive science that didn't realize that they were the same fish as the salmon. This week's theme will be words arising from scientific mistakes.

. . .A certain goose visits the coasts of Great Britain every winter. For centuries it was believed that the young goose grew within a shell that its mother attached to seaside trees or timbers. It's not entirely a nutty idea, for the creature in the shell sends out feathery-looking feeders.
. . .The name of the goose traces back to 1227, and three-and-a-half centuries latter that name was applied to the shell-creature.
. . .We now know that this goose breeds in the arctic waters, not within coastal shells. But its name remains firmly attached to the critter in the shell.

barnacle – one of a group of marine crustaceans, with feathery feeding appendages, which in the adult stage live permanently fixed to rocks, boat hulls, etc.
[also, the bird formerly called barnacle; now called barnacle goose, to distinguish it from the shell creature]

There's a nice symmetry here. The words fry and parr come from a mistaken belief that certain different-looking creatures were two different animals (and not one animal at different life-stages). Conversely, barnacle arose a mistaken belief that certain different-looking creatures were one animal at different life-stages (and not two different animals).
 
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Who knew that a simple fish could have so many different names? <G>
 
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Oh, most any old ichthyologist, I imagine. Roll Eyes

Hmmmm... "Smolt" sounds like a fishy story from the Hebrew scriptures. You know, "...with the jawbone of a sea turtle Salmonson smolt ten thousand..." Wink
 
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Those fish are learning to play baseball in their schools. The Red Sox just released a pitcher named Smolts.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Well, kerby, it's nice to see you again!
 
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hystericalmedical: having or relating to hysteria, a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and, sometimes, physical symptoms without an organic cause
from this: 1. trans. and figurative: with convulsive or morbid emotion or excitement 2. in weakened use: extremely funny, hilarious

The medical word comes from Greek hystera womb, because the condition considered as affecting women only (supposedly caused by a problems with the uterus). A male, it was thought, could not be "hysterical".

Think that notion is totally antiquated? Think again. Folks use the phrases "hysterical female" and "hysterical woman" far more than the male/man counterparts. GoogleNews for recent decades shows the former ten times as often as the latter.
 
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I've always thought that word a little sexist in etymology.
 
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Originally posted by kerby:
Who knew that a simple fish could have so many different names? <G>
According to Montgomery's book, there's even more.

Fry, parr and smolt only apply to the young salmon, before it enters the ocean. When it returns from sea to river, it's either a grilse, a salmon or a kelt. The smaller grilse has spent only one season fattening itself in the open sea; the salmon has grown asea for the usual several years; and the kelt is the occasional salmon that survives spawning and "lives to unite another day".
 
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Originally posted by wordcrafter:
hystericalmedical: having or relating to hysteria, a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and, sometimes, physical symptoms without an organic cause…The medical word comes from Greek hystera womb


It is important to separate the everyday use of hysteria, implying excitability, emotionality, or plain ‘over the top’ from its medical use. Laurence Sterne, anticipating our grandiose neologism: ‘psychosomatics’, wrote in his book The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, "A man's body and his mind are exactly like a jerkin and a jerkin's lining: rumple the one, you rumple the other."
What wonder, then, commented Sir Francis Walshe, if we meet bodily and also psychological disturbance in the same human person. Is not one as real as the other ?
Walshe’s scholarly discussion* supported Babinski’s definition# of hysteria in the strictly medical context: "Hysteria is a special psychical state which reveals itself principally by disorders that are primary, and accessorily by secondary disorders. The primary disorders can be produced in certain persons by suggestion with a rigorous exactitude, and made to disappear by persuasion alone. The secondary features are subordinate and primary."
The dangers of the diagnosis which can overlook latent physical disease have been exposed by Eliot Slater, a distinguished authority: " The diagnosis of 'hysteria ' is a disguise for ignorance and a fertile source of clinical error.” ¶
• #Babinski JF. Sem. Med. (Paris) 1909;29:3.
• Babinski, J. F. (1901). Revue Neurol., 9, 1074.
• *Sir Francis Walshe, M.D., F.R.S. Brit. Med. J 1965, 2, 1451-1454
• ¶ Slater E. Brit. Med J 1965;1:1395.
 
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I've always thought that word a little sexist in etymology.

Which is why its use in psychiatry has been deprecated. What used to be called hysteria is now usually called conversion disorder (see Merck and Dorland's).


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Good to see you again, Pearce, and with a most pertinent post!
 
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hysterical – medical: having or relating to hysteria, a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and, sometimes, physical symptoms without an organic cause
from this: 1. trans. and figurative: with convulsive or morbid emotion or excitement 2. in weakened use: extremely funny, hilarious


This always makes me think of the scene in The Producers . . .seen here from Youtube.


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Yes, Pearce, we've missed you.
 
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And I'm happy to see that howling cat avatar again!
 
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Two words today, since we missed yesterday.

oxygen – a certain gaseous chemical element, essential to life
[based on the original, mistaken belief that this element is an essential component of acids. From Greek oxys sharp, acid + -genes formation, creation (as in "genesis"). The term was first coined in French, by Lavoisier, as principe oxygine ‘acidifying constituent’.]

For our second word: We saw that hysteria was once considered a disease of women. Another disease may perhaps have been considered a disease of men, because most women who have it show no symptoms or only very mild ones; in any event, it has a peculiarly male name.

gonorrhea – a venereal disease involving inflammatory discharge from the urethra or vagina
[so called because it was thought to be a discharge of semen. Greek gonos seed + rhoe flow; flux]
    A joke (modified) from Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . .: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein:
    Which of these four does not belong with the others: AIDS; gonorrhea; a condo in southern California; herpes?
    If you' re easily offended, do not paint over for answer: Gonorrhea. You can get rid of gonorrhea.
 
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We learned some time ago, that gemstone jade took its name from Latin for flanks, kidney area, because it was thought to cure pain in that area.

Another gemstone took its name from the belief that it would cure or prevent drunkenness. You could drink all you wish, and yet remain sober. A remarkable blessing indeed!

Greek methys meant "wine" and led to similar words meaning "drunk" (adj.) and "make drunk". Prefix them with a- "not", and you get today's word.

amethyst – a precious stone consisting of a violet or purple variety of quartz; also, that color
 
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methys

Homeric Greek μεθυ (methu) 'wine' is related to English mead, Sanskrit madhu, (the current Russian president' name family name Медведев (Medvedev) < медведь (medved' 'bear', literally 'honey-eater' is also related); the adjective is μεθυσος (methusos 'drunk with wine'. The more common word for wine in Greek is οινος (oinos, whence oenology 'the study of wine', cf. latin vinum, whence English wine; this common Indo-Euroepan word is thought to be a loan from a Semitic langugage, cf. Akkadian īnu, Hebrew יין yayan 'wine'.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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this common Indo-Euroepan word is thought to be a loan from a Semitic langugage, cf. Akkadian īnu, Hebrew יין yayan 'wine'.

Is the name, "Enos" connected?
 
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Many cultures believed that a certain bug would crawl through the ear into the brain. They named it for that trait: in French its name means ear-piercer, in German ear-worm, in Turkish ear-fugitive, and in English ear-wiggle. It has an interesting use as a verb.

earwig – a small elongated insect with a pair of pincers-like appendages at the rear
. . .noun (obsolete?): an ear whisperer, flatterer, parasite
. . .verb (informal): eavesdrop
    What I always say about your salads, Annie, is that I may not enjoy eating them but I learn an awful lot about insect biology. My appreciation of the anatomy of an earwig has increased enormously ...
    –Alan Ayckbourn, Table Manners (a play; presented in London's Globe Theater in 1974)

    It's half past one, and I'm sitting at a window table, and the people at the table next to me are talking about their latest film. And no, I'm not trying to earwig, it's just that it's bloody difficult when you're sitting on your own not to hear what the table next door is talking about when they're so close to you they're practically sitting in your lap, and where the hell is Amanda anyway?
    – Jane Green, Mr. Maybe (ellipses omitted)
The earwig some interesting characteristics, some of which we can compare with another creature we've seen this week, the barnacle.
    . . .How many penises does a European earwig have? The answer is two (one for special occasions). [It] carries a spare one in case the first one snaps off, which happens quite frequently. Both penises are very brittle and relatively long, often longer than the earwig itself.
    . . .Which animals are the best-endowed of all? Barnacles. These beasts have a penis [that] can be seven times longer than their body.
    – John Mitchinson and John Lloyd, The Book of General Ignorance (ellipses omitted)

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Is the name, "Enos" connected?


I don't think so: Hebrew אנוש /ʔenoʃ/ 'mankind' is connected with Arabic 'ins, nas 'men', 'mankind' and Akkadian nishu 'people, nation'.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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earwig

The -wig in earwig has nothing to do with wig either, which is from French perruque (transmogrified by folk etymology perhaps). The Old English word is earwicga 'ear' + 'insect'. There was a homonym of wicga in Old English and that word means 'steed'.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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The Book of General Ignorance

Not the most scholarly of works ...


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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The Book of General Ignorance

Not the most scholarly of works ...


You making fun of my bible?


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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Originally posted by Proofreader:
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The Book of General Ignorance

Not the most scholarly of works ...


You making fun of my bible?

See my post in the Q&A forum re: Agnotology
 
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