Cephalogenic

or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

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Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, September 29, 2006

Necking

As I said recently, I've become enamoured of the TV reality show Project Runway, which continues to surprise and delight. One of the things that makes it even more delightful is the blog Project Rungay, in which two decidedly pink gentlemen have fun alternately lionizing the contestants and tearing them and their creations to shreds. (The blog's motto: "They sew. We rip.")

One word that appears a lot on the blog is "gorgeous", and I had to wonder where on Earth that word could have come from. "Gorge" is the French word for "throat", and "-ous" is a suffix that turns a noun into an adjective, but could there possibly be any connection--could a word that means "beautiful" have anything to do with the throat--or was it just another one of those coincidences?

It turns out, to my complete amazement, that every instance of a word containing "gorge" in English has the same source: they all, somehow, include the sense of "throat".

A gorge, for starters, is a narrow ravine, and a moment's reflection will suggest that a word meaning "throat" is a predictable name for such a geographic feature. (A similar geographic word, "gut", is often used in Newfoundland, for similar reasons: just look at these pictures, with such captions as "View of the village looking towards the gut".) "Gorge" as a verb is also throat-related: it means "to shove food down your throat", as does "engorge", which later came to mean simply "to fill to excess", as in "a blood-engorged tick", and "disgorge", literally "to eject through the throat".

And finally we come to "gorgeous", which, suggests Answers.com, comes from Old French "gorgias", "jewellery-loving, elegant", and what better place to display jewellery than a smooth swan-like throat?

1 Comments:

Blogger TheGayBoys said...

That is gorgeous! We had no idea. Thank you for the lesson and the shot-out, darling.

XO
T&L
ThePRGboys

Saturday, September 30, 2006 8:48:00 PM  

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