Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday WOLF

I'm a nerd. No really, stop, BBC! You!?! Yes, I'm in fact such a big nerd that I tend to look up word origins in my spare time because I'm fascinated by our language. The odder the origin, the better. I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications.

In any case, I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of the new acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF (oh, how clever is she? She made an acronym out of her agency's name!) Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.

Recently a follower filled me in on an interesting tidbit. Lake Erie figures into my novel NOT A DROP TO DRINK, and the original name for Lake Erie was actually The Lake of the Cat. BBC likes. Why was it the Lake of the Cat? The original inhabitants of the area were the Erielhonan Indian people, which means People of the Cat in their language. When the French showed up, they referred to the nearby lake (Lake Erie) as the Lake of the Cat.

And you know what else? "Cat"in Gaelic is... "cat." It hasn't changed, like ever. God bless you Irishfolk.

5 comments:

Jo-Ann said...

That's awesome.
I love those sorts of tidbits.
Were there cats in the New World before European settlement? Or were they referring to bobcats or pumas?
Here's a Word Origin for you: When Europeans first colonised Aust, there were fascinated by those strange jumping creatures, never having seen the like before. They eventually found some Aboriginal people and asked them what they were called. Their response, kangaroo, was later found to mean "I have no idea what you're saying."

Mindy McGinnis said...

Jo-Ann - I've heard that one before, and it was one of my favorite origin meanings to toss around at social gatherings. (I'm a ton of fun at parties:) But unfortunately I think this one is not fact-based, after some research.

A.M.Supinger said...

Hee! I laugh and learn something on WOLF days :)

Jo-Ann said...

You're right, Mindy. Seems that a linguist proved that urban myth to be wrong back in the 70's. It still has lots of traction, though, most folk around here believe it's true.

Mindy McGinnis said...

That's funny Jo-Ann that people *want* to believe it. I wanted to as well, believe me, it just seemed to good to be true.