or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


This would have been posted yesterday if I hadn't, like a complete idiot, reset the cache on my browser, which of course caused it to forget everything it ever knew about me and all my passwords, and do you suppose I could remember the password to get back into Blogger? I could not. And the auto-response thing didn't work and didn't work, and I tried six times and couldn't get an e-mail out of it, and thank goodness for real live human beings, one of whom sent me a link to the password reset page, without which I don't know what I would have done. (Thank you, Karl at Blogger.com.) You know how we're not supposed to write our passwords down. because someone else could find it and get access to our blah blah blah? Screw that. I'm recording everything from now on.


So I was walking home past a church the other day and saw the times for the various services listed, one of which was Eucharist. Now, we probably all know that "eu-" means "good", but what about the second half? It didn't take much thinking before I'd thoroughly convinced myself that it had to be related to "charisma", but then I couldn't quite see how.

The relationship, as it turns out, is there; I would have been completely poleaxed if it hadn't been, because the family likeness was too strong for it to be otherwise. The second part of "Eucharist"--which means "the Christian sacrament in imitation of the Last Supper", in case you weren't brought up all churchy-like--comes from Greek "kharis", "grace", which is kind of fitting, since grace is what observant Christians generally say over their meals. ("Grace" in all its meanings and variations in English comes from Latin "gratus", "pleasing".) "Charisma" also comes from "kharis"--in this case, "kharisma", "divine favour", presumably because that level of personal magnetism could only have been doled out by the gods.

I suspected that "charisma" and "charm" ought to be related--they look so alike! But no: "charm" is actually related (through, predictably, French) to Latin "carmen", "incantation", later "song", which word you might recognized from Orff's "Carmina Burana", literally "songs of Beuern". ("Carmina"/"carmen" is unrelated to the red colouring "carmine", which actually comes from French "kermes" through Arabic "qirmiz", otherwise known as cochineal.

And wouldn't you think that "Eucharist" and "Christian" might be related? Just look at "-charist" and "Christ"; only one letter apart! But that one is an illusion, too; "Christ", as I noted before, means "anointed", from Greek "khriein", "to anoint".


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