or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Found and Lost

I don't know about you, but I use Wikipedia all the time, like ten times a day at least, so I figure they've earned some money from me in their current fundraising drive, and so of course I made a donation. I'm not about to try to tell you how to spend your money, but maybe they should get a few of your charitable-donation bucks this holiday season, too. It may be flawed--you can't just take every single thing you read on it with faith, because it is created and edited by fallible human beings--but it still ranks as one of the greatest collaborative efforts in the history of humanity, and I hope it sticks around.


Another website I use kind of a lot is the Online Etymology Dictionary, because I couldn't always be bothered to go look something up in the OED or one of my etymological dictionaries or whatever. Just now I was reading a Slate article on password security and came across the following sentence:

In May, a twentysomething French hacker broke into several Twitter employees' e-mail accounts and stole a trove of meeting notes, strategy documents, and other confidential scribbles.

No, there's nothing wrong with it--a Christmas miracle!--but I briefly misread the word "trove" as "trouve", and then I had that blinding flash of insight: the French verb "trouver", "to find", is the source of English "trove"!

It obviously must be, so I went to the Online Etymology Dictionary to confirm this, and was horrified to read the following sentence:

As this usually meant ancient hordes, the term came to mean "treasure horde" in popular use.

No! No no no no no! "Horde" and "hoard" are not the same thing!


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