"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Thursday, March 12, 2009


[continued from the Last Post]

The verb “laugh” comes from the Old English hliehhan, an onomatopoeic word (soundimitating).

Note some of the origins of words that represent such sunny sentiments:

HAPPINESS (noun) Origin: Middle English (in the sense ‘lucky’): from the noun HAP + -Y where HAP (archaic) = a mass noun meaning luck or fortune.

LAUGHTER (mass noun) Origin: Old English hleator, of Germanic origin; related to German Gelächter, and to Origin of ‘laugh’ ~ Old English hlaehhan, hliehhan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German lachen. Gelotology = the science of laughter (gelos is Greek for “laughter”)

SMILE (noun or verb, depends on context) Origin: Middle English: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; related to SMIRK (Origin: Old English sme(a)rcian, from a base shared by ‘smile’. The early sense was ‘to smile’; it later gained a notion of smugness or silliness).

JOY (mass noun) Origin: From Middle English: from Old French joie, based on Latin gaudium, from gaudere ‘rejoice’.

COMEDY (mass noun) Origin: Late Middle English(as a genre of drama, also denoting a narrative poem with a happy ending, as in Dante’s Divine Comedy): from Old French comedie, via Latin from Greek kômôidia, from kômôidos ‘comic poet’, from kômos ‘revel’ + aoidos ‘singer’.

FUN (mass noun) Origin: Late 17th c. (denoting a trick or a hoax) from obsolete fun ‘to cheat or hoax’, dialect variant of late Middle English fon ‘make a fool of, be a fool’ , related to fon ‘a fool’, of unknown origin. Can be compared with FOND, Origin late Middle English (in the sense ‘infatuated, foolish’): from obsolete fon ‘a fool, be foolish’, of unknown origin.

ECSTASY (mass noun) Origin: late Middle English (in the archaic sense of an emotional or religious frenzy or trancelike state, originally one involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence) from Old French extasie, via late Latin from Greek ekstasis ‘standing outside oneself’ , based on ek- ‘out’ + histanai ‘to place’.

Sources: The New Oxford Dictionary of English © Oxford University Press 1998, 1999, and Chambers English Dictionary, © 1988

[Excerpted from the 'Leadership, Learning & Laughter' edition of The Braindancer Series of bookazines by Dilip Mukerjea. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

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