#1
I realise many words we know today were taken from Greek, Egyptian, Basque, cultures, etc. but where did they originate from before that? Who decided to invent them? Who decided to call grass “grass”, and what was the reason behind his choice?

I've always been interested in etymologies and the power behind words, irrelevant of their actual meanings.
But what does the Pit think? Is the word “poop” funny because of how it sounds, or because of what it means?

And if you were to invent one word to describe something, what would it be?
#2
Your ass.
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trying when there seemed to be no hope at all
#4
poop just sounds funny, it could mean broccoli for all i care i'd still chuckle when i heard it
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#5
I wonder about these things every once in a while, and I've come to the conclusion that it's usually pointless to 'worry' about it.

Poop is funny to small children because of it's meaning.

Kurang.


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#6
It originated with cavemen pointing at things and making grunting noises to represent them. Then the cavemen met other cavemen and realized their grunts were different.

The rest is pretty much the same thing.

And poop is only funny because of the context. If I said "caca," you wouldn't think it was as silly. But a Spanish-speaking person might think it was funny though.
#9
Grass translates to "green shit that grows out of the earth"

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#10
Quote by AngryGoldfish
Who decided to call grass “grass”, and what was the reason behind his choice?


Hippies, because it sounded good to them.
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#11
Quote by AngryGoldfish
Who decided to call grass “grass”, and what was the reason behind his choice?
That would be me, back in college in 1951.
I said: This marijuana is a great-ass way to get high.
Great-ass caught on for a bit locally,
but it quickly evolved into the contraction you now hear: gr-ass or simply grass.
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#12
Quote by SomeoneYouKnew
That would be me, back in college in 1951.
I said: This marijuana is a great-ass way to get high.
Great-ass caught on for a bit locally,
but it quickly evolved into the contraction you now hear: gr-ass or simply grass.


Well played, sir.
#13
Quote by Oxford American Dictionary
ORIGIN Old English græs, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch gras, German Gras, also ultimately to green and grow .

After that, it gets too hard to trace. Whoever named all this stuff must've named oranges before they named carrots, though.

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#14
Quote by SteveHouse
After that, it gets too hard to trace. Whoever named all this stuff must've named oranges before they named carrots, though.
yeah

But "oranges" has a round feel to it? Or maybe it has a round feel to it because we always associated it with knobbly orange things you eat.
#15
Quote by AngryGoldfish
I realise many words we know today were taken from Greek, Egyptian, Basque, cultures, etc. but where did they originate from before that? Who decided to invent them? Who decided to call grass “grass”, and what was the reason behind his choice?

I've always been interested in etymologies and the power behind words, irrelevant of their actual meanings.
But what does the Pit think? Is the word “poop” funny because of how it sounds, or because of what it means?

And if you were to invent one word to describe something, what would it be?


The words were adopted from different languages, not cultures.

And if you are referring to English, those aren't the right languages. Basque isn't even an Indo-European language, I doubt there are any ancient Egyptian words in English though you can find Arabic ones that are used mostly coming through Spanish (Alcohol, Assassin, Admiral, Cotton, etc.), and there aren't many Greek words either, though a decent number of affixes were adopted from them.

Latin gives us many words via commonly used affixes, and most of the higher vocabulary is from French, due to the Norman invasion of England and subsequent imposition of French as the language of high culture. The most commonly used basic words tend to be Germanic or Nordic in origin. Words from those three, Latin-French-Germanic, comprises most of our vocabulary. Greek adds another much smaller but significant percentage.

You should read some basic linguistic texts if you are interested in this stuff. Not sure about good texts though as most of the linguistics course I took at uni primarily used journal articles, or specialized texts at the more advanced levels. I'm sure there are some basic introductory works out there though. Historical linguistics may be a subfield of interest for you.


As for grass, http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=grass

O.E. græs, gærs "herb, plant, grass," from P.Gmc. grasan (cf. O.N., Ger., Goth. gras), from PIE *ghros- "young shoot, sprout," from base *gro-/*gre- "that which grows" (cf. L. gramen "grass"); related to grow and green. Sense of "marijuana" is first recorded 1938, Amer.Eng. Grasshopper is O.E. gærshoppa (cf. M.Swed. gräshoppare, Ger. Grashüpfer); as a term of reproach, from Eccl. xii.5. Grass widow (1528) was originally "discarded mistress" (cf. Ger. Strohwitwe, lit. "straw-widow"), probably in allusion to casual bedding. Sense of "married woman whose husband is absent" is from 1846.

"[G]rasse wydowes ... be yet as seuerall as a barbours chayre and neuer take but one at onys." [More, 1528]


Edit: Wikipedia has a handy pie chart to show word origins.

Last edited by bajeda at Nov 4, 2009,