Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Daily Hump: Cinch

My friend Bob Wexler and I were having an IM discussion this morning regarding another one of our kooky, get-rich-quick, harebrained business ideas (actually, I'm not going to discuss it here because it just may be viable...). His final declaration was our plan is "a cynch." Obvious spelling errors aside (and most likely the observation would ultimately prove patently false), it got me thinking: Why is something that's easy a "cinch"?

The idea comes from one of cinch's many definitions: "A firm or secure hold" (OED). Cinch's sense of facility is an American invention, and a relatively recent one at that, first making an appearance around 1898. The word cinch originally referred to the girth of a saddle and came from the Spanish cincha, also meaning "girdle." The Spanish came from the Latin cingulum ("girdle" again) which came from the Latin verb cingere, meaning "to surround, encircle." And this can be traced back even further to the Proto-Indo-European base *kenk- meaning "to gird, encircle." Related words include precinct, succinct and, interestingly, shingles ("The inflammation often extends around the middle of the body, like a girdle.").

cinch [AHD]
cinch [Online Etymology Dictionary]
cinch [OED]

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:: posted by David, 1:27 PM


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