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Good vocabularies run amuck: What are your favorite words?
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Aug 8th 2012

That's it, pretty much. The Latin word for marriage was matrimonium, from mater, or mother, and monium, which generally was used to connote a state of being or an action. We got it through French, I assume.

Matricide is the same Latin root for mother, plus -cide, which is "to kill". Thus regicide (to kill a king), patricide (to kill a parent), and suicide (to kill oneself).

Aug 8th 2012

I'd think that the meaning of matrimony would have more to do with getting a kid, then, than a husband. You know? It just seems weird to me.

Aug 8th 2012

Good point, Toos, I completely missed that. Getting married doesn't make you a mother.

I took foreign language in high school and didn't like it, but in the past ten years started thinking about languages as evolutionary things that evolve, share common ancestors, and can go extinct, and now it's fascinating to me.

Aug 8th 2012

Good point, Toos, I completely missed that. Getting married doesn't make you a mother.

Well why bother then? snort

Aug 8th 2012

I took foreign language in high school and didn't like it

I took Spanish in high school and loved it. I think it was because it was mainly translations, and verbs, you know? It was about remembering the rules and verb conjugations were almost like math formulas. I really liked it and had good teachers. I can't really speak it, but I can read and write pretty well.

And the native Spanish-speakers that I know that I feel confident enough to talk back to in their language can understand me, so maybe it's not that I can't speak it well, so much as, I don't want to try.

Not to keep rambling about Spanish, but one quick story -

At the beginning of the year, we had an assignment to talk to a new kid in school, and luckily our group actually had a new kid, so it wasn't all fake. We had to ask about each other's class schedule, describe the library and school and stuff. One of the lines in the skit (we had to write it out, then recite it all in front of the class.) asked me for my telephone number.

I didn't want to give it because it'd take forever for me to say all the numbers, especially because they were several of the same number, so it'd be really repetitive. I think my phone number then had, like, 3 or 4 3's in it.

Anyways, my response was "No tengo teléfono." My teacher loved my response and then I was pretty much the teacher's pet all year. And, I got out of having to say "tres" over and over in front of the class.

Aug 8th 2012

Los pantelones de su maestro este en fuego. El lapiz de su maestro es muy largo.

Aug 8th 2012

There is a hilarious Family Guy skit where Peter tries to give a phone number to a Hispanic maid over the phone, and she repeats the numbers, and where Peter says something like "1125" she says "1155" and Peter says "No! Not two fives! Two and then a five!" and it goes on like that for several minutes. Because hispanic people aren't a minority anymore so you can now make fun of them.

Aug 8th 2012

Without even knowing Spanish, Bri said that his pants are on fire and that Jinx's lap is large.

Aug 9th 2012

I think the idea with matrimony was that it had to do with entering the "proper" state for parenthood. Romans weren't into polygamy, but wealthy men could and often did have many children out of wedlock, usually with woman of lower social classes, and the practice wasn't really frowned upon -- illegitimate children were sometimes "legitimized" if a senator's wife never got pregnant. But while being the child of extramarital affairs was not heavily stigmatized, being the mother of an illegitimate child often was: thus, getting married was the only way for a woman to really make parenthood okay. That's my guess as to why a word technically meaning "to become a mother" attached to marriage.

Aug 17th 2012

Wenis.

Does anyone know what that is without googling?

Aug 17th 2012

Boys have a penis. Girls have a wenis.

Cracks my son up every time I say it.

No. I have no idea.

Aug 17th 2012

Sounds like a combination of weiner and penis.

Aug 17th 2012 edited

I know one definition for it. (First, I typed "definitition.") But I don't think it's a real word. It seems like someone thought it should be a word, then picked a thing to call it.

It's not like "tittle." That's totally a real word.

Aug 17th 2012

I just googled tittle and wenis. Both are less fun than they sound.

Aug 17th 2012

Wenis is fun to say. It makes me giggle.

Aug 17th 2012

It's not polite to giggle at a man's wenis.

Aug 17th 2012

My wife always complains that my wenis is too rough, and wants to rub cream on it. True story.

Aug 17th 2012

Wenis.

Isn't it some kind of report that Chandler had to do for his job?

It's a great word. Wenis.

Aug 17th 2012

Isn't it some kind of report that Chandler had to do for his job?

This.

Aug 17th 2012

I had to look it up.

Aug 17th 2012

Chandler had a nubbin.

Aug 23rd 2012 edited

If something is severed (is that the past tense of "sever"?), does it have to be a clean cut? Like on my family's coat of arms, we have griffin heads, "erased", which means that the heads have ragged or rough line on the end of the neck. As if they've been gruesomely ripped off.

So, is it right to say they're severed? Or is that usually used with a more clean cut? Like, a griffin that had to face the guillotine, rather than just the wrath of an angry strongman?

Aug 23rd 2012

I think it speaks to the suddenness of the separation more than whether it was a clean or messy break. You could sever ties with your in-laws, and that would likely be messy. On the other hand, someone found a severed cats head in the street nearby -- on Garfield Lane, in fact, because sickos have a sense of humor too -- and it was as clean a severance as you could imagine. Severance pay, for that matter, can be a tidy sum or the result of a messy round of layoffs.

Aug 23rd 2012

Then I think I'm right in saying it. I mean, a griffin would have feathers and flesh and bone and arteries and stuff. You'd have to rip through all of that pretty quickly to decapitate him. Otherwise, you'd still have the head attached, somewhat, to the body.

Aug 23rd 2012

I thought a griffin was just a made up thing in Harry Potter.

Aug 23rd 2012 edited

Well, it is made up. But it's not from Harry Potter. It might be in Harry Potter. It's like a half lion, half eagle thing. It's got an eagle head, but with pointy ears. Or something.

In heraldry, it has the same traits, sort of, of a lion and an eagle. Like, what it means. I don't remember what they are. But it's some of both. Bravery and something. Like the eagle and the lion are both strong animals, so it's a strong animal.

A fake strong animal.

My family shield has three of their heads ripped off, on a black triangle. And the thing on the top, that goes on the top of the hat thing... I can't remember what that is called... is a man's hand gripping a griffin's claw. Like a bloody stump of a griffin's foot.

In heraldry, you just have a description of the coat of arms, and you have a lot of leeway in the art and backstory, apparently. I don't think the man-defeating-griffin story really has anything to do with anything. It's just that we have parts on ours. So, obviously, my ancestors killed those mo-fos.

Aug 23rd 2012

Does every family have a coat of arms? Please forgive my ignorance. But if my family has one, I'd sure like to see it.

Aug 24th 2012

Well, there's probably one for every name.

They were given (are given? I don't think they still do it, but I don't know. I've seen one with a kind of recent date...) to individuals, not really families. So that's one reason why there can be different styles of shield, like different designs for the same name.

And each descendant of the particular individual is able to modify it in any way. Like, the oldest son might use it the same way as his father. The second son might change some element that's blue to be red or something, but keep it generally the same.

Then, also sometimes when a couple would marry, they would combine both coats of arms. That's called "marshalling." Check out that crazy example.

English, Scottish, French, like those sort of European countries did the coat of arms thing. Scandinavian countries didn't. Any sort of emblem that those people would use would have been for their region, rather than name.

In our family, we know what whichever king assigned the English guy I'm descended from - the severed griffin heads. So, we have it on a sign and stuff for reunions. The folks that stayed in England, though, changed it up over time. My brother visited that town or village a few years ago and saw variations of the emblem, mixed with others, on super old graves and stuff.

It's just a starting point, I guess, since the way it's drawn or even the general shape of it, like you can have it on a square, or whatever, it's all up to you.

Sometimes you can trace it to your ancestor, but in some cases you can just find a name and region or name and country.

Like, we don't know what my grandma's would be for her name - it's common enough, and there are some from Ireland and some from Scotland. Her family's from Scotland, so we used an old description for her name from Scotland. It's probably not technically right, but it's used traditionally for her name, from olden days, from her country. Close enough.

It's got six black lions sticking out their red tongues. I think it's fun to read the descriptions, because there are all kinds of weird details like that.

Aug 24th 2012

someone found a severed cats head in the street nearby -- on Garfield Lane

Mondays, right?

Aug 24th 2012

Her family's from Scotland, so we used an old description for her name from Scotland. It's probably not technically right, but it's used traditionally for her name, from olden days, from her country. Close enough. It's got six black lions sticking out their red tongues.

I hate to burst your bubble, but I think you just found her old Black Sabbath albums, not her coat of arms.

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