Cephalogenic

or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

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Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Once More With Feeling

I'm heading off to New York in a few hours and will probably not be posting anything for a week or so, not that anyone would notice, given my recent spotty record, but I leave you with this:

I was writing something else yesterday and used the word "tautology" and, well, what's the deal with that? It looks like "taut" plus "-ology", but it obviously can't be related to "taut", and what can possibly make sense in light of its meaning ("the unnecessary repetition of words expressing the same idea", sometimes used to comic effect as in Dr. Zoidberg's reference to "the murdered body of Amy's dead, deceased corpse")?

You'll never guess. Or maybe you will, but I didn't. It's actually three Greek words shoved together in such a way that the breaks are disguised by vowels: "to" plus "auto" plus "-ology". And now it makes sense: "auto" means "self" or "same" ("automobile", something that moves by itself instead of needing an animal to pull it), so a tautology is the saying of the same thing. Twice. Or five times, if you're Dr. Zoidberg.

2 Comments:

Blogger D.J. said...

Have a good time! And don't fret about the paucity of updates; after all, how many times can you complain that Salon.com started a sentence with "On Thurday [sic], Kerik plead [sic] guilty to federal charges..."?

Thursday, November 05, 2009 9:20:00 PM  
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Friday, November 06, 2009 11:30:00 PM  

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