Issue 195, page 4

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From Mrs. S. Waitt:

A question was posed in your archive of etymology inquiries about the relation of Greek Cronos, a Titan, to chrono- meaning time. You replied that you found no indication that the Greek term for time is related to the mythological Cronos. No direct link ...but indeed there is a time-honored implied one! Cronos, that is Saturn, is indeed Father Time. In Holst's The Planets Saturn is called the "Bringer of Old Age". Cronos, Kronos, Saturn (literally "the sower" and by extension, the reaper at an appropriate season) is the senex who devours his own children (as does time devour all that it produces)!! Thank-you for making your excellent site available. 

And thank you!

From Corinne Keough:

It's a Postal Code in Canada.

So THAT'S where we (M&M) got it!

From Gene Fellner:

Speaking of hysteron proteron: viewers of South Park hear a much more contemporary example every few weeks. One of the curses often invoked by Mr. Garrison, the addled schoolteacher, is, "You go to hell and die!"

Ah, yes, Southpark...

From Adam:

I learned the words zeugma and syllepsis in my high school Latin class. I am somewhat confused, as according to the definition and examples I was given in that class, all the examples you gave of both terms would be syllepsis. What I learned was that they were very similar; the difference is that sentences with syllepsis, although they appear to have problems, actually become quite witty when you get the pun. It is therefore something you would want to do. Zeugma, on the other hand, just doesn't make sense at all, and is something to avoid. An obvious example, being the one I used on the final that year, would be "On Thanksgiving, we killed and ate the turkey and mashed potatos." Killing the mashed potatos? What? Another example: "People were strumming their guitars and trumpets." The example given for syllepsis: "The wind carried off his ship and her hopes." Although the verb "carried off" means very different things for each of the nouns in the compound noun, it still works quite well with each. Hence, syllepsis.

I might be wrong, but I just thought I'd pass on what I'd learned.

Sounds good to us!  Seems to be the theme in Espy's examples, too, though apparently he didn't catch it (nor did we!).

From Of Troy NY:

Zeugma is (was) the name of an ancient town in Turkey-it was the subject of a Nova (PBS) broadcast early fall of 2003. The city took its name from the bridge that yoked/joined both side of the river into one city.

You can see about the site at this site : 

Click on your language of choice.

Zeugma (or its root, more properly) is also part of one of the more interesting words in English:

syzygy (SIZ-uh-jee) noun
(from A Word a Day back in 1998--(

1. Astronomy. Either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun. Either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth. The configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line.

2. The combining of two feet into a single metrical unit in classical prosody.

[Late Latin syzygia, from Greek suzugia, union, from suzugos, paired : sun-, syn- + zugon, yoke.]

Zugon (yoke) is not quite the same as zeugma, but it seems close enough in spelling and meaning that it must be related. (My knowledge of Latin is scant, and I know even less Greek.. so I might well be overstepping... you'll correct me no doubt, if I am!)

They are indeed related and come from the Indo-European root *yeug- "to join".  Some other words from that root are conjugate, jugular, zygote, yuga, and even the join words (cojoin, adjoin, etc.). 

From Bruce Yanoshek:

In response to Adrian Michaels, who wrote about Zip Codes, it should be noted that it is an acronym (from Zone Improvement Plan), and so is properly ZIP Codes.

The Encarta Dictionary allows zip code (lower case).  Once an acronym is accepted as a word, it is treated like a word.  Apparently ZIP Code/zip code is on the cusp of that change.

From Steve Parkes:

Welcome back! Good to see you both after all this time. And good to see that lovely old-fashioned word char-a-banc again. My grandfather drove a sharra, as we called them, in the 1920s. (When I say "we", I wasn't around in the 1920s, of course ...) I think they developed from a horse-drawn version originally, and they differed from buses in that they were like a car, but they forgot when to stop when they were putting in the seats. Every seat has its own doors. One peculiarity in many char-a-bancs was the driving position: each seat held four people, and the driver was in the second from the right, instead of the extreme right. You can see in this picture: the steering wheel is a bit hard to spot, but the driver is wearing the white cap.  They were often used as buses, with a conductor: the poor man would have to walk up and down on the running board to collect the fares -- a dangerous position at speeds of up to twelve miles per hour!


From Donna Southwell:

When I was a child growing up in the small town of Albion, Michigan, it was a common practice, when there were two or three of us involved, to resolve issues such as who would go first by using a stick. One of us would grab the stick at the bottom in our fist. The next child would place their fist on the stick above the first as closely as possible, as would the next. When each of us had one hand on the stick, we would use our other hand, until at last, there was a very short end left and all that one could grasp was “the short end of the stick” with the tip of one’s fingers. This person was the winner and had to go first. This method of conflict resolution was generally used when going first was an undesirable outcome. We also used the same methodology when deciding which team captain would get first turn when starting to choose a team in sandlot baseball, only in this instance by using a baseball bat. In that case, the short end of the stick was a positive outcome. This methodology was handed down from generation to generation in our area, and seemed to be common knowledge by all.

Melanie is familiar with the practice of using a baseball bat in such a fashion.  Great stuff, Donna!


Or read the last issue to see what all of these people are talking about!

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