Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Daily Hump: Hark the Herald Angels Sing...

...glory to the new born Hump.

I spent the past few weeks anxiously pouring over my beat-up copy of the OED hoping to find that one special word that best memoralizes this moment. Sweat dripped from my brow as word after word were crossed off the Hump contender list (actually, total lie, no word ever gets crossed-off the Hump contender list--you think I won't hump boob or poop deck? Just wait for what '07 brings). But finally, FINALLY, I found that one word that best captures the heart and soul of today's celebration. So, without further adoodoo, Ladies and gentlemen, I give you WordHumper's 100th post. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you reek.

Why reek you ask? Well, let's just say WordHumper kind of stinks. I mean, I love etymologies and all, but the WH eats up a good hour of my day, everyday. And since the site has been live AdSense has made me a whopping $2.46. So, on an hourly basis we're talking just over 2¢. I'm not making a career out of this anytime soon.

Anyway, let's hump to it. Although we know reek to generally mean "to emit a noxious stench" or "to be pervaded by something unpleasant" (e.g. this site reeks of grammatical inconsistencies and blatant half-truths) it originally referred specifically to the emission of smoke. The word can be traced back to the Old Norse reykr, meaning "smoke". And where there's reykr there's Reykjavik, whose name literally translates to "smoky bay." As well, reek's root lives on in modern Dutch's ruiken meaning "to smell."

Tomorrow: Hump #101

reek [Online Etymology Dictionary]
reek [OED]

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:: posted by David, 8:26 AM


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