March 5th, 2015

Animaniacs- Yakko Warner

Wednesday word: gadzooks

Gadzooks:

interjection/exclamation: (a mild oath)

Origin:   Late 1600s, English, archaic.

So... just how many of our seemingly benign exclamations and slang terms have potentially offensive or blasphemous origins?

The exclamation "gadzooks" sounds so silly and innocent in our modern language, but it's origins are believed to come from the exclamation "God's hooks" indicating the nails of the Crucifixion. A conversation led me to wonder at the origin of this silly word, and I was pretty surprised at what I found! :-)    (Other variations ranging from the even sillier to the possibly even more offensive: gadsbobs, godsookers, gadslid, and gadsniggers)
words are sexy

Thursday word: amphisbaena

amphisbaena (am-fuhs-BEE-nuh) - n., (classical mythology) a poisonous serpent with a head at either end, able to move in either direction.



A medieval drawing of an amphisbaena.

A curious beast, to be sure, and possibly an inspiration for Dr. Dolittle's Pushmi-Pullyu. For certain, it has given its name to a genus of New World lizards with heads that look similar to their tails. In mythology, they are said to have been created from the blood dripping from Medusa's head as Perseus carried it over the Libyan desert. Most curious to me is that it has some connection with ants: Pliny the Elder claimed that they ate ants, while some sources give it the epithet Mother of Ants. Adopted in English in the 14th century from Latin, ultimately from Greek, from amphís, both ways + baínein, to go.

---L.