From The Latin Intro Ducere
Do you know where the word "introduce" comes from? It comes from the Latin, Intro Ducere, meaning "to guide into"
As such, when you introduce you guide something into the issue being discussed, usually some new information, such as the etymology of a relevant word in that context. This happens in some works, when the etymology of words is used as a way to introduce bits of exposition, an explanation to a situation, a point or even a "Reason You Suck" Speech
. This trope shows that the speaker is cultured, smart and - usually - in control
, as most people in a pickle don't really worry about etymology. Usually starts with "Do you know where the word 'X' comes from?" - Note that the little etymology lesson must turn out to have something to do with the matter at hand.
The examples may also be etymological fallacies ("logos" is greek for "word", which is where "logic" comes from, so logic is just toying with words) or just plain nonsensical pseudo-etymology (Did you know Jesus actually was a zoophile? He was a carpenter, and "carpenter" is "carp" "enter").
Anime and Manga
- Watanuki does this to a woman in XXX Holic, explaining that she doesn't love Doumeki, only admires him. Admiration, from Latin, Ad - On and Mirare - being amazed. At least, that's how it goes in Portuguese. He then proceeds to explain the Japanese etymology, and proceeds to use said little etymology lesson to make his point.
- In Busou Renkin Doctor Butterfly says that the word "Carnival" comes from "cannibalism" (It Makes Sense in Context). Nobuhiro Watsuki said in the liner notes of the tankoubon that this was a goof on his part (it actually comes from abstention from meat for Lent) and said to call it Butterfly's mistake In-Universe.
- Bones: The Victim of the Week was a guy who seemed to really be Santa Claus. This gives them another opportunity to bicker Like an Old Married Couple. Booth's remark isn't quite From The Latin Intro Ducere, but Brennan's correction is.
Brennan: Kriss Kringle. From the North Pole. Lives above a toy store - This is further evidence that our victim, is indeed, the mythic figure known as Santa Claus.
Booth: Mythic. Coming from the Latin, "Myth", meaning "doesn't actually exist."
Brennan: No. From the Greek, "Mythos", meaning "word."
- CSI had one when Grissom investigated the death of a man who had Down's syndrome. After catching the murderer, Grissom calls back to an earlier conversation where the murderer called the victim a "retard" (Grissom corrected him, of course) and informs him that "retard" means "to hinder", so the killer's life "just got retarded".
- In Firefly, River comments on Mal's name, saying "Mal. Bad. In the Latin."
- The liner notes to the P.D.Q. Bach recording Oedipus Tex & Other Choral Calamities make the parenthetical claim that the name "Alamo" comes from the French, meaning "in the style of one of The Three Stooges."
- In the first Mameshiba video, Green Pea, the trivia is that the French word for dandelion, "pissenlit", means "urinate in bed".
- XKCD strip 1319, "Automation", which demonstrates the futility of automating software tasks, claims that "automating" comes from the roots "auto-" (self) and "mating" (screwing).
- In Archer Krieger is discussing replacing Ray's paralyzed legs with mechanical ones. Ray refers to them as "robotic legs", but Krieger says that it's not robotics, it's bionics, "From the Greek, for like—'kick-ass'!" Ray asks him if there's a Greek word for "insane".
- Teachers tend to do this to make a subject stick.
- A joke: Do you know where the word "Politics" comes from? "Poly-", meaning "Many" and "-tics" meaning "Bloodsucking parasites."
- Another joke: "Ex" means "former" and a spurt is a drip under pressure. So an "expert" is a "former drip under pressure".
- Several of Dave Barry's columns include completely made up joke etymologies:
"Perspective" is derived from two ancient Greek words: "persp," meaning "something bad that happens to somebody else," and "ective," meaning "ideally somebody like Donald Trump."
The very word "insect" is a combination of two ancient Greek words: "in," meaning "a," and "sect," meaning "repulsive little creature."
The hypothesis—which comes from the Greek words "hypot," meaning "word," and "hesis," meaning "that I am looking up in the dictionary right now"...
- Jack Handey:
"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Basically, it's made up of two separate words — 'mank' and 'ind.' What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind."
- Often used by preachers, especially when explaining complicated words in The Bible. (Usually justified since the New Testament was originally written in Greek, after all.)
- Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, gave us the following case of etymological fallacy:
"Divide the name Adam
into two syllables, and it reads, a dam
, or obstruction... it stands for obstruction, error, even the supposed separation of man from God."