or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, November 30, 2006

In Case

Today I discovered that a 1980s band called The Fibonaccis had an album called "Civilization and its Discotheques", which is not only the greatest name for an album in the entire history of humanity but also the greatest possible title for anything ever.

Now: where does the word "discotheque" come from, anyway?

We start with the French, because we might as well. Many young people learning French assume that "librarie" means "library", because just look at it. But it doesn't: "librarie" is "bookstore", while "bibliothèque" means "library". This is why so many people think French makes no sense. Take it from one who knows.

"Bibliothèque" comes from Greek "biblion", "book" (the source of "bible", as I should imagine is self-evident) and "theke", "case", so a bibliothèque is a bookcase, and later any place to store books--in other words, a library. ("Biblion" comes from the city of Byblos, which was integral to the trade in papyrus, from which books were made.) "Library" is from the French "librarie", which is from Latin "librarium", which means, and you may have expected this, "bookcase", since "liber" means "book".

And a disc is a record and so by extension from "bibliothèque", a discotheque is a place where a whole lot of records are stored. And played.


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