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This place matters

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Boldly going where every other blogger on earth has gone today

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate day, let me lay some pirate speak on you.*

Avast: Stop. Now you know. Allegedly, according to Online Etymology Dictionary, evolved from the Dutch houd vast, for hold fast. Which sounds an awful lot like hold fast, and not much like avast.
Scurvy: Disease resulting from lack of vitamin C. Which you probably knew. What I love about this word is that you knew the moment you heard it, you knew its origin had something to do with a sailor. Other diseases have boring clinical names, but sailors, by virtue of their being the primary victim, they got to name it. Which I guess is a silver lining. Some day, by the way, pay attention to how much vitamin C is in the foods you eat. You'd have to work really hard to get scurvy.
Limey:  Nickname for Englishmen. Comes from the fact that British sailors ate limes to avoid above mentioned scurvy.
Me Hearties: My homies. Okay, actually, it means sailor, descended from another definition from the word, physically vigorous. Or at least, says so. 
Ahoy!: means Yo dog!. Or something like. Alexander Graham Bell answered his invention not by saying hello, but ahoy. Didn't stick.
Booty: Slang for swag. Apparently comes from the Germanic bute, meaning exchange. Refers to a woman's butt in recent years, although I bet the terms are totally unrelated. I mean sure, a great butt is a great prize, but I'd guess booty evolved from butt. Or possibly caboose. That's just a guess, though, I've got nothing to back that up.
Three sheets to the wind: A sheet referred, not to a sail, as you might deduce, but a rope that holds a sail to its mast. If a sail's got three of its sheets untied, it's flopping and staggering all over the place. So sayeth the NPR show A Way with Words
Head: The crapper. Refers to the fact that toilets were under near the bow, and the bow is the head of the ship

*For those of you who know and care about these things, I'm obviously a ninja and not a pirate, but talk like a ninja day would be pretty quiet.

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