or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


This week, Carol Lay's WayLay cartoon in Salon.com is an extended riff on the word "scrotum".

The word, she tells us, "was derived from the Latin term for a container of arrows, or 'quiver'." Later, she says that "''scrotum' was also related to 'purse'."

What I want to know is, where did she find this out? I'm entirely willing to believe her, but I can't find a single source for either of those etymologies. The OED is uncharacteristically purse-lipped about it: they just tell us that it's from the Latin, with no further explanation. Answers.com says the same thing. Robert Claiborne's Roots of English doesn't even list the word "scrotum". Reversing the process and searching for "purse" or "quiver" doesn't get me any further ahead. I'm just stumped.

However, I do have a very nice little etymology by way of compensation. The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that "scrotum" led to Old English "scrud", and this word in turn gave us the modern English word "shroud". Huh!


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