If I were a Roman or a Greek, I'd probably laugh my head off every time I encountered a "fancy" word. The meaning of such a word is quite obvious if you can parse it and see the words "underneath" it. Once you can do that, many words become trivial: "the country between two rivers", "knowledge about life", "love of knowledge", "right-handed on both sides", etc.
The examples above are most likely known to you, so here is something new.
Science - derived from scindere, which means "to cut". It happens so that in Romanian scindare means "to break", "to decompose", "to divide" - pretty much the same meaning. However, the Romanian word for science is ştiinţă, which comes from "a şti", meaning "to know".
So it turns out that the word science basically means "reverse engineering". Every hacker is a scientist too, because hacking is about pulling things apart and understanding how they work. In the same fashion, every scientist is a hacker (provided they are advanced enough in their field). Perhaps this can be used in a discussion about hackers, perhaps now people will understand me when I use the term "hacker" outside the realm of computers?
The words scissors and scythe have the same origin, which is an obvious thing now - both instruments are used for cutting.
Disaster - there were times when people believed that stars bring luck. Star is astrum in Latin, astron in Greek, astru in Romanian. Dis- is a prefix meaning "without". Therefore disaster means "away from stars" or "without stars", i.e. "without luck".
Today the word disaster is used for events that are not just unlucky, but events that imply a great deal of evil, danger, damage, loss, etc... Of course, no one notices that.
Shit - you may be surprised, but it is closely related to science! Its meaning is "to separate" [the living matter from the non-living matter], or "to separate from the body".
Note: please don't use this against scientists and hackers :-)
Terminator - this one is rather simple, to terminate means "to end", so it was easy to figure out why the movie with Schwarzenegger was called that way. But let us explore the low-level details: it is based on terminus, which means "end" or "boundary line". Here comes the interesting part - originally the word terminator was introduced to have a name for "the line that separates night from day [on a planet]". That is, if you zoom out and see Earth from outer space, you will be able to see the terminator.
Hollywood is more popular than astronomy, so I am not surprised that the word was hijacked and its modern meaning is "Arnold Schwarzenegger" :-)
p.s. the examples in Romanian were there just to show how languages are related, I am not implying that Romanian is one of those basic languages from which other ones were derived.
Comment from: virusok [Visitor]
like your study :)
seems quite interesting and I fancy some more…
while the origin of “science” and “disaster” made me go like:
‘hmm.. that is interesting…’,
when I got to “shit” and “terminator” I started laughing, and I do like a little bit of laugh in any morning :D
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