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November 01, 2009, 18:03
This week we'll look at toponyms: words from place-names.

Siberia – a cold, inhospitable place, or a place of exile, banishment, or imprisonment

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November 01, 2009, 18:33
Robert Arvanitis
When in Siberia, beware the shatuny.

November 01, 2009, 18:40
Is Siberia Lavrenty's brother?

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.
November 02, 2009, 19:36
A rare one today.

Lethean – pertaining to or causing oblivion or forgetfulness of the past
[from the river Lethe, a river in Hades in Greek mythology. To drink its waters would cause one to forget the past. The word lethargic is related.]

November 03, 2009, 20:08
magenta – a color, variously described as purplish red, deep purplish red, purple-pink, and light mauvish crimson
[a dye producing this color was discovered shortly after the Battle of Magenta, in Italy]

You'll find the name applied to colors that, to my eye at least, look quite a bit different. These three samples seem close to the norm: one, two, three.
November 03, 2009, 20:28
Robert Arvanitis
Inspired by wordcrafter, found an excellent site which explains many of the chromatic phenomena. It also offers a neat color wheel so you can identify colors by their "RGB" code


November 03, 2009, 21:42
The article is correct in pointing out that there isn't a one-to-one correspondence between color and wavelength, but magenta is not the only non-spectral color. For example, the entire bottom edge of the CIE chromaticity diagram consists of non-spectral colors (I suppose one could call most them shades of magenta, but the lower left side is purple). In fact, I'd argue that the colors of most things are non-spectral, because they reflect wavelengths all across the spectrum, in very complicated ways.
November 10, 2009, 16:08
Here is the use I see most often for magenta:
November 10, 2009, 19:43
Nice to see you again, LlamaLady. I liked this comment from your site:
The high cost will deter others from using this color promiscuously.
Interesting use of promiscuously.
November 14, 2009, 18:17
hackneyed – overfamiliar through overuse; triteHackneyed comes from hackney – a trotting horse suited for routine riding or driving.

Some say that the latter word comes from Hackney, a borough of London, England, where such horses were raised; others say it comes from Old French. Take your pick. OED tells us that "although the word-group has engaged the most eminent etymologists, its ulterior derivation is still unknown."
November 15, 2009, 20:22
Today's word is the end of a long etymological chain. English got it from French, which created it from an Old French term (which has also come into English, and is much more familiar). That Old French term traces back to Latin, which (probably) got it from Greek, which took it from a city name (so it fits our toponym theme), which city was named for a person (so it's an eponym), whose name in turn comes from a goddess's name (eponym). Does that make today's word an epo-epo-toponym?

The goddess-name is today mostly associated with shoes, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with footwear.vernissage – a private showing held before the opening of an art exhibition

. . .From a French word created from their word vernis, meaning varnish – you can see the connection with art. vernis is from the city of Berenike (modern Benghazi, Libra), active in the early use of (and trade in?) varnish.
. . . Berenike was founded when the local princess, the king's daughter, married Pharaoh Ptolemy III of Egypt. A nearby major city was relocated to the new and better location, and was re-named after the new bride, whose Greek name was Berenike. (Today she's usually called by the modern form, Queen Bernice II of Egypt. A scurrilous tidbit: This was her second marriage. Her marriage to husband #1 had "terminated shortly thereafter by his murder when he was caught in flagrante delictu with her mother.")
. . .The name Berenike means "to bring victory". Nike was the Greek goddess of victory – it wasn't always a brand of shoe!

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