Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's cooler than being cool?

I don't feel like posting today. I've got a case of the doldrums (from 1811, from dulled)
So seriously, I'm so uninspired today that I'm going to tell you the etymology of the thing I bought today. Which I thought was really, really lame until I read the etymology on the Online Etymology Dictionary. I assumed sofa came from the Spanish sofa, probably from French, probably from Latin, right? Nope. From Turkish sofa from Arabic suffah. Neato.
Neato can do you one better. It goes all the heck the way back to proto-Indo-European nei (they think) which meant shine. Anyway, neat started being used by the young whippersnappers in the '30s to mean very good. Neato dates from 1968. 
By the way, a neato VP at my company pointed me in the direction of this cool mini-story about the history of words that mean cool (apparently dope is back, according to the little bar graph. Kids today. Can't even come up with their own slang). Seems cool has been cool constantly since it became cool to use cool to mean cool in the 40s. Although the Online Etymology Dictionary says that that usage actually dates back to jazz slang. Sometime I'll have to look into why all our slang seems to come from black urban slang. But not right now. Right now I'll tell you that cool, meaning chilly, goes back to Old English col, which goes way back to proto-Indo-European gel for chilly or frozen. Associated with cool cash as far back as freaking 1728. I'd assumed cool cash came from the more modern sense of cool. Meaning calmly audacious since 1825. So cool as in cool customer  dates back to before cool as in cool. Not that I'm claiming cool customer goes back to 1825. Unfortunately I can't tell you because I can't find a good idiom etymology site to save my life. I can't find any idiom etymology sites, for that matter.
Bed. Now. Stay cool my friends. Stay cool. 
Oh yeah, and I bought a sofa. My cats need something new to destroy.

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