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Etymology - plurals/back-formation

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165251.  Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:30 am Reply with quote

Q: What's quite interesting about cherries and peas, and why would it affect your kudos?

The word 'cherry' comes from the Medieval French cherise (c.f. cérise), and mistakenly apprehended as a plural, hence the word 'cherry' was coined for the singular.

The word 'pea' comes from the Old English pease, and was similarly misapprehended as a plural, hence the coining of the singular 'pea'. (This is not related to 'appeasement', however.)

The greek word kudos, meaning 'magical glory' has also been mistaken for a plural, especially in sentences like "He received many kudos for his victory". The consequent singular kudo is quite rare, but has, according to the OED, been around since the early 19th Century.

This phenomenon is called 'back-formation' and is related to the beautiful misapprehension called 'junctural metanalysis', whereby words changed when placed together, especially with articles:

The originals were:

a napron (small table-cloth or napkin)
a norange (orange)
an ewt (newt)
a numpire (umpire)
an ickname ('eke name')

165257.  Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:45 am Reply with quote

Also, according to post 3454:

Adder - was naddre
Naddre was the ME for ‘snake’ and related to the Old Norse ‘nathre’.

Auger - was nauger
Nauger was derived from the OE ‘nafugar’ which was a ‘nave spear’ a tool used to bore holes in the hubs of wheels for the insertion of spokes. Interestingly ‘nafu’ meant ‘centre’ and gives us ‘navel’.

It also mentions the original forms of the words "Eyas" and "Aitchbone", but I've never even heard of the new versions of those words.

165263.  Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:51 am Reply with quote

Here is a norange ewt:


165366.  Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:33 am Reply with quote

Maybe we could photoshop an orange newt in an apron umpiring a cricket match and ask "what's odd about this?" or something.

165393.  Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:10 pm Reply with quote

And his 'ickname' would have to be 'Tiny'. (You see, he's my newt.)

165556.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:39 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
And his 'ickname' would have to be 'Tiny'. (You see, he's my newt.)

You mean Titch, surely?

165558.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:40 am Reply with quote

an ickname ('eke name')

link to eke-names.

165589.  Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:18 am Reply with quote

Well, excellent. Say no more.


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