Cephalogenic

or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Name:
Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Red Hot

You can see where the name came from.

Yesterday at work I was working with some yarn--Patons Allure, if you must know--and I noticed that one of the colours, all named after gemstones and rare things, was Garnet, which in French is Grenat. It's interesting to find a word in one language that's an anagram of the same word in another language, but what really grabbed me was the shape of the French word: "Aha", I said to myself, "that has got to be from the same root as 'grenadine' and 'pomegranate', and therefore 'garnet' must be related to them also."

And so it is.

"Pomegranate" is from Old French "pome", meaning "apple" (the modern French word is "pomme", and has left traces in English as "pomade" and "pomander"), and "grenate", "multi-seeded", akin to "grain" and "granular"; a pomegranate was considered a sort of apple with many seeds inside. (I have never heard "pomegranate" pronounced any way but "POM-uh-gran-ut" in North America, but it's generally, maybe always, "POM-gran-ut" in England. Answers.com lists this English pronunciation first, which generally means it's the most common or at least the preferred pronunciation: but is it really pronounced that way in this country, or on this continent? Ever? Maybe it is, but as I say, I've never heard it.)

"Grenadine"--the family resemblance is obvious--is a flavouring syrup made of pomegranates. "Grenat" came in French to mean "pomegranate-red", a good description of the colour of a garnet. And an alternate spelling of "grenat" in Old French, "gernat", is what was alchemized into the English word "garnet".

3 Comments:

Blogger Peggy said...

I like the way you analyze different roots of words. They often reveal connections I never thought of, like in the colour garnet and pomegrenate. However I have to make a correction on this posting. Pomegranate is called grenade in French. Grenadine juice or syrup is made from a different fruit: grenadine (spelled same way in English and French). Grenadine has a totally different taste than grenade and probably got its name because it's full of seeds inside also, but smaller.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Peggy said...

OOps ... wrote too quickly. Spelled pomegranate wrong the first time.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ana said...

What you wrote about "garnet" and "grenat" reminded me of two pairs of words:

Algeria vs. Argelia (Spanish)

crocodile vs. cocodrilo (also Spanish)

I'm sure there are plenty more that I can't think of!

Sunday, April 16, 2006 4:13:00 AM  

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