Saturday, January 19, 2013

Two Fact-Clusters to Haunt You Over Sunday Brunch (Invite Me)

1.  "Foible" is a word so heavy with the suggestion of being of Yiddish origin, and yet it is not.*

(It is from Latin-via-French (originally from the word for "to weep") and is related to "feeble" in an interesting way I will now relate.  It was used around the 17th c. to refer to the top third of a fencing blade, which is the weak part, and extended metaphorically around the second half of that same century to describe a personal weakness.  Its meaning has softened slightly since then, depending on where you draw the line between a weakness and a personality trait.  The same cannot be said for "feeble," which is still a mean thing to say about someone.)

My mother did warn me in stern tones today over Saturday brunch (let's make it a marathon, yes?) about trusting the Internet too much, so I am also accepting donations of the OED, or very smart people who fit on a bookshelf.

2.  And, here's a tune from the original king of the Finnish tango, Olavi Virta, about whom more later (hereafter to be abbreviated AWML).  Its title translates into English, I'm told, as "Why I Am Sad."

*"Foible" in Yiddish is "di shvakhkeyt."


Marisa said...

Your blogger profile doesn't actually have this, your real blog, on it. Confusing.

Jane said...

I bet I'd fit on your bookshelf, but I'm not great at etymology. Anything you want to know about foreign investment, though-- I'd be there, on your bookshelf.