Etymology

Words fascinate me, and have done since I was a child. I relish the rhythm of words like “characteristic” and “stiletto”, and savour the texture of words such as “ooze” or “unctuous” and the contortions they twist your mouth and tongue into as your pronounce them. But what I love most of all about words is their histories. English is particularly delightful, with words borrowed, stolen, and bastardised from languages and cultures the world over.

Hi! Someone call for me? I'm a superhero who specializes in the study of God's creation of Man in the Book of Genesi-- HOLY SHIT A GIANT BUG!
XKCD #1012

Etymology is the study of the histories and origins of words, a subject that delights, surprises, and sometimes confounds its students. This section of the site will feature posts in which I attempt to convey my some of my own delight, as an amateur etymologist, on discovering a word with interesting ancestry.

P.S. There’s an XKCD for everything. And I knew I was going to use this one as soon as I started writing this post. The joke, of course, is that the characters have gotten “Etymology-Man” confused with “Entomology-Man” (Entomology is the study of insects). The alt-text is a joke about another similar word, “Aetiology” or the study of causation, typically used in the context of medicine.

Dear Akshay

I really appreciate how much you’ve helped me with this blog, by simply sticking around as a subscriber for all these years and these many, many iterations.

Here I am, back at it again, and this time, I wanted “Dear Akshay” to be the first two words of the very first post. If this one makes it, and I don’t delete everything like I did the others, these words will be in the archives for anyone who decides to dig this deep (presuming that there are enough posts to dig through), and they’ll know that they have you to thank.

So there it is. Another first post on another digressions.in. Onwards and upwards!