Martin O’Leary had no idea he’d be tapping into the internet’s unexpected recent obsession when he tweeted several etymology charts that he constructed using information from etymonline.com and the OED. It’s safe to say he was a bit taken aback by the response.
I had my own personal “Slumdog Millionaire” moment as I scanned through the specific words that Martin chose to etymologize. My first deja vu moment set in when I saw the etymology for the word “taste,” which as Martin so astutely shows us, is born from the word “smell.”
If, like me, you’ve watched “The Big Stink,” episode of The Magic School Bus on Netflix 147 times this week (my son completely dedicates himself to one episode per season), then Miss Frizzle has already explained to you, many, many times, that the majority of what we taste actually comes from what we are smelling as we chew our food. Who knew? Oh yes, I did. How could I forget? After all, “All’s well that smells well!”
As I approached another tweet in response to Martin’s mindboggling gift to Twitter, once again, I was shocked to find this word’s etymology was yet another random fact that, by some odd twist of fate, I had come to know.
The word Daschund literally translates to “Badger Dogs.” Having had a weenie dog of my own for many years, and a tree with many squirrel tenants in my yard, I learned very early each morning that Daschunds love to hunt, and that squirrels are the closest creatures to badgers in suburban areas.
Husband, neighbor, bumpkin.
Here is where my Slumdog moments ends and I join the rest of Twitter in their awe of Martin’s mindblowing madness.
However, being married with a long history of apartment tenancies, I should have known that “husband” and “neighbor” are both close cousins of “bumpkin,” which Dictionary.com translates as “ .”
Sounds about right.
When another enlightened yet curious Twitter user, Not A Dog, asked Martin, “WHAT’S THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD “DOG”? ASKING FOR A FRIEND THANKS,” O’Leary was quick to shift roles from etymologist hobbyist to mystery detective…