Minding Some "P's"
Still More "P's"
Lord of the Flies I
Lord of the Flies II
Caponiere to Yapp
Some "F" Words I
Some "F" Words II
What the "H" I
H Words VII
H Words VIII
H Words IX
H Words X
Sublime To.. II
Saturday Words I
Saturday Words II
Saturday Words III
2009 Kids Bee I
2009 Kids Bee II
2009 Kids Bee III
2009 Kids Bee IV
A Saturday Stew II
Bill Long 12/13/08
In this essay I will begin with the Hebrew/Jewish term haredization, followed by a brief reference to the dingo, before spending most time on cochlea and its progeny.
1. Here is an accessible and clear explanation of the Haredi, an orthodox group of non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews who live in Israel and seek to enforce their religious vision on the rest of the State of Israel. Israel is a fascinating culture because of the variety of ideological and religious groups that constitute it. I suppose one could say the same for many societies, but I think it remarkable that there are so many distinct sects within Judaism--some of which have a completely secular vision for the state and others a fully religious vision-- all of which demand a place at the table in the Jewish state. According to many definitions, the word harad is hebrew for "anxious" or "trembling," and the name of the Haredi is taken from Isaiah 66:2 (God is speaking): "But this is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word." Haredization, then, a term only first attested in English in 1988, means "the action or process of making something conform to the practice or views of the Haredim." Thus, a usage would be, "So, where do you stand on the haredization of the State of Israel?"
2. I ran into the word dingo, the wild, or semi-domesticated dog of Australia, four days ago when I was studying the thylacine or Tasmanian wolf. The reason the dingo is there mentioned is that there is a considerable debate among Tasmanian/Australian naturalists whether the entry of the dingo (no one is quite sure when it was brought in) hastened the demise of the thylacine--because the two were in direct competition for food/shelter. This web site doesn't think so. Here is a picture of the dingo, appropriately named Canis dingo.
3. Unraveling the mystery/meaning of cochlea and related words is quite a challenge. The Latin word cochlea means "a snail, a snail's shell." The Greek word underlying it all is kochlias, "a snail," with kochlos meaning "a shell-fish with a spiral shell." The Latin word concha means a "conch" or "shell-fish." So, there is something about the shell and its spiral-form of both the snail and the shell-fish/conch that is in view. In addition, the cochlea in English is a screw, the water-screw of Archimedes or the spiral cavity of the internal ear. It can even refer to a winding staircase. Think screw; think tightly wound object; think snail. Here, by the way, is a picture of a snail.
But Latin also has another very similar word, cochlear(e), cochlearis, which means "spoon." The Oxford Latin Dictionary solves the problem for us of how spoon is related to spiral/snail, when it says that the cochlear(e) was a spoon originally used for extracting snails from the shell. Neat. We have the word cochlear in English. It can mean either a spoon or a spoonful; thus it is very faithful to the Latin meaning. But let's pause for a moment on the "spoon" meaning. The Century has: "in the orthodox Greek and other Oriental churches, the Eucharistic spoon in which the consecrated elements are administered together to communicants." I found a few pictures of small spoons online, but they look like what you would expect--spoons. I don't think they are the cochlear(e) because the Century defines labis (a synonym) as follows:
"a small spoon, usually of silver, and with a cruciform handle..."
I just wonder--whether any priest functioned as a sort of "mom" by giving the "medicine" of the Eucharist to unwilling people. "Now, now, there, take your medicine like a good boy. Use the cochlear for the purpose."
As just indicated, once you are in the world of the Eucharist, you are sure to find other interesting words. The Century tells us that the cochlear is also called the labis, derived ultimately from the Greek labein, "to take." But why is "take" associated with a spoon? There is a biblical reason for it. In the Septuagint (Greek OT) translation of Is. 6:6, the word labis is used for the word translated (in English) as "tongs." The angel took the live coal from the altar with tongs and gave it to the prophet. From early Christian days, the "live coal" was used to describe the eucharist. For example, the Liturgy of St. James, considered the oldest surviving liturgy developed for general use in the Church (probably 4th century) talks about "receiving the fiery coal" (labein to pyrinon anthrax) from the Eucharistic altar. Even in contemporary Catholic descriptions of the Eucharist, it is likened to a live coal. So, the spoon may be called the Eucharistic spoon, the labis or the cochlear.
Finishing with a Bit of Problem
All this is relatively nice until we turn to some other terms. English loves words that end in "form"--i.e., they suggest a "shape" of an object. So, the OED has both cochleiform and cochleariform, and guess what they mean? Well, the OED defines cochleiform as "snail-shaped" and cochleariform as "spoon-shaped." So far so good. Then, you look at the Century (if you are a dictionary-reading person), and discover only cochleariform. Well, no problem, you think. It must mean "spoon-shaped." Until you read the definition: "having the form of a snail's shell; helicine; helicoid." Just if you were wondering, helicine means "spiral; coiled," and it is "applied to certain small arteries of the penis and clitoris." Well, we won't go there now... Actually, in English we have helicine, helicoid and heliciform--all of which mean the same thing: er... cochleiform. I think the Century must be mistaken, though I am not going to exhume the bodies of the editors to tell them...
Yikes, out of space again, with just a few more words--and that should just about do it...