The meaning of etymology and the etymology of other words.

10 12 2003

For anyone who doesn’t already know, “etymology” refers to the origins of words. Sort of a family tree for language. So this post is for logophiles (word lovers), who give a hoot about such things. I figure journal types are as likely as anyone to fit the bill.

Many people already know the history/meanings of the words good-bye, adieu (French), and adios (Spanish). “God be with ye” and “With God.” In fact, good-bye words in many languages have some sort of connection with wishing God’s blessing on the departing friend.

But do you know the etymology of the Italian word “ciao”? My husband taught me this. It’s very cool. The word literally means “your slave.” The closest popular phrase in English is probably “at your service.” The more I think about it, the more I like the idea behind ciao, especially as a closing to a letter. Your slave. More than your friend. More than sincere or fond or warm. Your servant. One who wants to meet your needs above my own.

George ends most of his e-mails to me and our children with the word ciao. And he means it. When I grow up, I really do want to be like him.


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6 responses

11 12 2003
ilitherian

i saw a worm today, it reminded me of poppa. i think im going to write him an email about it.

love,
luke

11 12 2003
jeannedamoff

Humility. He wears it well.

He’s one of the few people who would be honored to know that worms remind you of him. :o) He will love it if you write.

11 12 2003
ragamuffen

I somehow feel so secretive and special knowing this. Like I have this little piece of info that hundreds are trying to get their hands on and I haven’t decided if I will share. I like that feeling.

Got your Christmas letter today. Very cute. Loved the pics. I started to do a letter like that this year, I have in the past…but this year there was just too much! Anyway, thank you so much for including me in your holiday festivities in such a sweet way.

xoxox

11 12 2003
jeannedamoff

You’re most kindly welcome!

You already are special. Be as secretive as you want. ;o)

♥ EZ

12 12 2003
cmortmain

And thank you for mine, too!

You were so sweet to send me one. I love it!

12 12 2003
jeannedamoff

You’re welcome, too!

I’m glad you like it. :o)

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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