July 15th, 2014


Striker & Mannschaft

Apologies for the belated post, I've been having technical difficulties with my computer. Let's have a bit of a theme for the finale of the 2014 FIFA World Cup!

strik·er [ˈstraɪkə]:
origin: (1350–1400) Dutch; stryge/Finnish; strýkva= strike + -er

In short, it means "one who strikes", but depending on the scenario that can mean very different things:

1. A person refusing to work in order to show support/solidarity for a cause.
2. The mechanism inside a clock or watch, marking the hours or sounding an alarm.
3. Navel, on-the-job special training (informal) with the prospect of rank promotion.
4. An assistant blacksmith, who swings the hammer.
5. Firing pin on a gun; the striking mechanism.
6. A "forward" in soccer, whose position is key to getting goals; jock, athlete.
7. Biblical; person prone to using physical assault as a method of negotiation/coercion: "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no STRIKER, not given to filthy lucre." [Titus 1:7]

mann•schaft [ˈmanʃaft]:
origin: German; Mann= “man” + schaft= ship

A German word meaning "team", though not exclusively their soccer team (as is sometimes thought), it refers to any sports team or the crew of a ship; crew; soldiers.

Grammatically speaking, it is not used beyond sports or sea: one would not refer to a group of scientists or artists as a mannschaft. However, it is often used as a shorthand to refer to the famous German soccer team: Die Deutsche Nationalmannschaft.

Tuesday Word: vetanda

There are some words that are so rich in meaning and history that their dictionary entries read like synopses of the many installments of some epic tale, and you feel like you could research them for days and days and still not quite grasp them. Then there are others whose entries offer almost nothing yet are almost as satisfying, the dictionary's silence making them seem appealingly enigmatic rather than too boring to bother with. I suppose vetanda, from the Latin vetare (to forbid) and defined over and over and over again as simply "forbidden things," falls into the latter category. What things? Forbidden to whom?!? Mostly, though, I think it sounds like an impressive alternative to telling a young visitor to my home "No!" over and over again. The knives? The plastic bags? Paint, glue, and nail polish? Choking hazards of every imaginable size, shape and composition? VETANDA! I'M SO SCARED I DON'T EVEN MESS WITH THEM.