Friday, May 15, 2009

[WFOTM] Word Facts of the Moment

So, I stole this book from work: "Word facts and phrases," which I have found to be inordinately hilarious. So I thought I would occasionally bug the hell out of my listers by divulging the secret history of some of the English language's craziest phenomenon.
* * * * *

The etymology of this word is uncertain.*

Johnson says, "As it was anciently written gebrish, it is probably derived from the chymical [Chemical] cant, and originally implied the jargon of Geber [] and his tribe." Geber was an alchemist, and, as Nares says, "Considering the great prevalence of that affected science, and the early ridicule thrown upon it, [Johnson's theory] is not improbable."

*I don't think they needed to elucidate further, really.

ed. Note: I think this might also be one of those words, like "Gyp," which don't appear to modern users to be highly culturally insensitive until you realize it's foundation.

No comments:

Post a Comment