About me

Get new posts by email.

About me

Planned maintenance downtime

Just to let you know, the site will be down for a little while from 7am UK time tomorrow (21st May) while a server upgrade takes place. The site should be back shortly afterwards. Sorry for any inconvenience.

This post was filed under: Notes, Site Updates.

‘Neighbours’ moves to Five

Daytime soap Neighbours is moving from BBC One to Five – Quite a coup for the latter. But when I posted about this a while back, Lawrence reckoned it’d lose a lot of viewers if this happened. Will it?

This post was filed under: Media, Notes.

False acronymic etymology

Chav I think this last went out of fashion in about 1997, but it seems to have sprung up again, and if I have to read one more thing like this or this, or have it rammed down my throat by another well-meaning friend, I might scream.

The etymology of words is rarely – in fact, almost never – acronymic.

To clear up the two above which seem to have been doing the rounds particularly virulently recently:

  • ‘Chav’ is not derived from ‘Council House and Violent’, but rather the Romany word ‘chavi’, meaning ‘child’.
  • ‘Fuck’ is not derived from ‘Fornication Under the Consent of the King’. Nor ‘For Use of Carnal Knowledge’ for that matter. It comes from the Middle English ‘fucken’, meaning to strike or penetrate.

And while we’re at it…

  • ‘Posh’ is not derived from ‘Port Outward, Starboard Home’
  • ‘Cop’ is not derived from ‘Constable On Patrol’
  • ‘Tip’ is not derived from ‘To Insure Promptness’
  • ‘Nylon’ is not derived from abbreviations of ‘New York’ and ‘LONdon’
  • ‘News’ is not derived from ‘North, East, West, South’
  • ‘Golf’ is not derived from ‘Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden’
  • ‘Shit’ is not derived from ‘Ship High In Transit’

These words all have etymologies just like any other word, mostly derived from ancient or foreign languages.

There are exceptions: Radar does indeed come from ‘Radio Detection And Ranging’, and laser does derive from ‘Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation’. But these exceptions are few and far between.

Most etymology is not acronymic, and when it is, there’s usually no lengthy, contrived back-story – so if someone spouts one of these at you, please correct them, and maybe we can stop this incredibly irritating disease in its tracks.

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. Information about cookies and the handling of emails submitted for the 'new posts by email' service can be found in the privacy policy. This site uses affiliate links: if you buy something via a link on this site, I might get a small percentage in commission. Here's hoping.