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Miscellaneous words

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March 07, 2011, 11:17
Miscellaneous words
Here’s a timely word, from yesterday’s Fox Trot comic strip:

This makes no sense unless you know what a kraken is.
So what is a kraken?

kraken – a mythical sea-monster of enormous size [from Norwegian]The concept of a Kraken goes back at least as far as a 1250 text in Old Norwegian. It is called a kraken in the English translation, made 1917 (see next-to-last paragraph of chapter 12) but that word is not in the 1250 original, which calls the monster a hafgufu.

What does this kraken-monster look like? Unclear. Tennyson gave it “giant fins”, but later changed those fins to “giant arms”. Sometimes it’s a vertebrate (as the fish in Fox Trot; the gigantic four-armed fish-man in the movie Clash of the Titans (1981), which becomes dinosaurian in the 2010 re-make), but more typically (as in Pirates of the Caribbean) it’s a giant octopus that can engulf and drag down a ship at sea.

Enjoy the video clips.

Interestingly, the word for “octopus” is similar to “kraken” in German (“Krake”) but not in other Germanic tongues: English, Icelandic, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
March 07, 2011, 20:09
Robert Arvanitis
Not to be confused with Dagon...

March 09, 2011, 19:17
mandation – the issuance of a mandate; that is, of an an official order or to do somethingPalin’s detractors hooted her for this statement, asserting that this “mandation” isn’t in any dictionary. And indeed it isn’t. [OED has it, but with a totally different definition: “The action of committing a speech, etc., to memory”.]

The dictionaries are wrong. The word is not at all uncommon. Here’s a recent example, from a respected person of note. Early users include Jeremy Bentham in 1839 (Principles of Judicial Procedure, ch. XVIII §3), Walter Scott in 1822 (The Fortunes of Nigel), and a 1783 etymological work.

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March 11, 2011, 06:34
A shady word. From Latin umbra, shadow.

adumbrate1. to report or represent in outline, giving the high points
(also 2. to indicate faintly or partially;
. . . .3. to foreshadow or symbolize;
. . . .4. to overshadow)
March 11, 2011, 19:48
temerity – rashness; foolhardy contempt of danger; excessive boldness
May 23, 2011, 01:00
Here is an untimely response to a timely word.

In norwegian, although the word "blekksprut" (literally "ink-spray" is often used for octopus, "blekksprut" is really a generic word for cephalopods, and octopus would be "åttearmet blekksprut" or "eight-armed ink-spray".

However, another word in Norwegian for the common octopus (Polypus vulgaris) is actually "krake", and the definitive form of this would be "kraken". Thus, one would imagine that the original imagining of the kraken took the form of an octopus.
May 26, 2011, 21:42
Oh, I love 8-armed ink-spray!

I have to tell a story on my husband. When he was a little boy, he asked his mother how babies got "out of the stomach." His mother said that the baby came out "between the legs." He thought for a moment and said, "But what about an octopus?" Big Grin
July 12, 2011, 11:29
diamanté – fabric covered with rhinestone or a sequins (also, the stones themselves)And on the much-discussed subject “What is art?”, a British comedy duo argues that strip-tease is a form of art. (see here, starting at 0:56)
July 13, 2011, 13:53
fugleman – a leader, especially a political leader
[Wordcrafter note: I would add that its usually a contemptuous term for a two-bit underboss serving under a more important leader. Do readers agree?]
July 13, 2011, 14:58
Robert Arvanitis
Quite literally "wing man."

In the US in particular, a wing man is a best friend. When a fellow wants to pursue a girl at a bar, for example, his wingman will chat up her inevitable companion, to give his friend the opportunity.

In military context, it is the demonstrator whom the other soldiers follow in a drill.

In more than a few decades, have not run into the negative sense cited; rather surprised we'd stretch for such an example.

July 13, 2011, 16:10
I've never run into it in a particularly negative context either. As Robert says, it's from the German, meaning a wing man in the military.

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.
July 14, 2011, 09:30
Today’s word has several meaning. The etymology is evident in the first.

pommel – [from Old French pomel little apple]
1. a rounded knob on end of the handle of a sword [counterbalancing the weight of the blade] or a dagger
2. the part of a saddle projecting up in front of the rider
3. gymnastics: on a pommel horse, either of the two rounded handles that the gymnast grips

The etymology is also evident in an old, poetic use of the term, to mean a woman's breast.
July 16, 2011, 09:05
Today’s word is in the news and, interestingly, it is etymologically akin to coffin. coffer – a strongbox or small chest for holding valuables;
figuratively, coffers – the financial reserves of an organization
. . . (also, a decorative sunken panel in a ceiling)
July 16, 2011, 10:02
Robert Arvanitis
For many years Obama's colleagues brayed on about the "well-funded" and "secure" "Social Security lockbox." (Germanic roots there.)

Now that it is found to be empty, the language switches to Latin roots, with fitting overtones of death.

Alas for taxpayers unborn.

July 16, 2011, 13:11
SS was looted long before Obama arrived.

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.