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Take Our Word For It Issue 181  Melanie Crowley
 Apr 08, 2003 23:55 PDT 
Take Our Word For It Issue 181

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It's new TOWFI time!

**This Week's Issue**

NOTE: The links in this newsletter are good for April 8-April 21 only
(unless the next issue is delayed).

In Spotlight, cups, coops, hoops and heaps are discussed

In Words to the Wise, we bring you the following words/phrases:

mullet (hair cut)




Parthian/parting shot

In Curmudgeons' Corner Guestmudgeon Jake Cuttler isn't notorious - yet

In Sez You... we hear more about fardels, various kinds of frogs, the
old issue switcheroo, pre-emptive strikes and smoking guns, and Romania

In Laughing Stock hear comments on Iraq by Late Night TV hosts:

**Newsletter Only Etymology**

We were feeling nostalgiac this week and decided to discuss the word
"nostalgia". If you remember your Greek you can probably get half of
this word: algia=pain. Knowing that, the tendency might be to translate
"nost" as "our", so that etymologically "nostalgia" is "our pain", but
that is incorrect. Instead, "nostos" is Greek for "homecoming", so that
"nostalgia" is the pain of homecoming, or, more precisely, homesickness.
At least that is what it means etymologically. A secondary meaning
arose in the 20th century: "wistful yearning for a past or earlier

If our favorite Indo-European root expert is correct, "nostos" goes back
to the Indo-European root *nes- "to return safely home", which also gave
us "harness". The "ness" in "harness" is the descendent of the IE root,
and it is thought to come from Old Norse "nest", "food for a journey",
while the "har-" element is thought to derive from IE *koro- "army", so
that a harness is etymologically "army provisions".

The OED doesn't seem to like that derivation of harness, by the way, but
it cannot give a better explanation. One of the earliest meanings of
"harness" was, indeed, "a soldier's equipment", apparently including his
horse's equipment, as well.

**Laughing Stock**

Please send us funny clippings or photos (text is fine, too) for use in
Laughing Stock and if we use yours, you'll get an Amazon.com gift
certificate for $10! This week Janice Pizzolorusso wins the gift
certificate. (We're catching up on getting winners' gift certificates
e-mailed to them!)

**Curmudgeons' Corner**

Don't stop being curmudgeonly! Send in your complaints!


We've updated the Donor's page. If you don't see your name there but
you donated to TOWFI, slap some sense into us! (Better yet, just e-mail

**Next Issue**

We'll be back next week with a NOE, and back the following week with a
new issue of TOWFI.

Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike

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