or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Break

Last Christmas, I see, Jim and I had the usual traditional Christmas dinner. This year we said the hell with it. There are only the two of us, and it doesn't seem worth making an entire turkey, plus all the accompanying dishes, so we're having beef stew. Non-traditional, yes, but it works for us (plus it has the usual root vegetables, so it's not as if we're having, say, sushi.) Also, we're making stuffing to go alongside it.

While the beef was stewing away in the slow-cooker, we watched "A Christmas Story", which I had seen bits and pieces of over the years but had never seen in its entirety. (It's moderately funny, but not that good: I don't know how it became such a Christmastime staple.) One of the jokes concerned a hideous lamp in the shape of a woman's fishnet-stockinged leg: the box in which it was packed was marked "FRAGILE", which the dad misread as the must-be-Italian "frah-JEE-lay".

As it turns out, he was right, more or less. "Fragile" in English is also "fragile" in Italian, but it's pronounced with the stress on the first syllable.

Knowing that, it's a sure bet that "fragile" is from Latin, and that, as it turns out, is a pretty good bet to take: it's from "fragilis", which is itself from "frangere", "to break".

The root "frag-" is also, as a few seconds' thought will disclose, the basis of "fragment", a broken piece of something. "Fragrance", however, is predictably unrelated: it's from Latin "fragrare", "to emit a scent".


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