A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Secret troves of Etymology: Taikonaut

Credit: Getty images

What is a Taikonaut?

We have all heard the words astronaut and cosmonaut and know their meaning. But what is a taikonaut? In fact, the three words are synonyms: an individual who is trained to travel in spacecraft or has flown in outer space. So, why do we need three words if they have exactly the same meaning? Well, the truth is that on an etymological level they aren't exactly the same. Let's see what are the similarities and differences between the three terms.

Continue reading
  133 Hits

Where does the name Google come from?

Credit: logo-download.com

Google

Have ever asked yourself where does the most famous search engine's name derive from? Well, the answer is quite surprising and yet it logically fits perfectly. And no, it's not a misspelling of the word goggles though that one also seems to produce relevant associations for a search engine wherein millions of people dive for information on a daily basis. It is something else.

Continue reading
  197 Hits

The Hidden Troves of Etymology

Credit: Gettyimages

Etymology of understand

It's funny how sometimes words evolve and combine to form other more complex meanings. Or how you could easily distinguish the words that build a composite one but that doesn't really help to extract the sense. It is such a case with one of the most used words in English – understand. It is so frequently utilized that we rarely question its origins and connotations. We all know what it means - "perceive the intended meaning of (words, a language, or a speaker); interpret or view (something) in a particular way; be sympathetically or knowledgeably aware of the character or nature of something". However, what does standing beneath or at a lower point has to do with comprehension. Most probably there is something hidden behind the two root words, or maybe there is some strange historical reason for that. Let's see!

Continue reading
  19920 Hits

The Hidden Troves of Etymology

Credit: Gettyimages

What does paradigm mean?

Nowadays, we use the word paradigm with a very specialized meaning – to denote a given school of thought, way of thinking, or tendency. A bit more formal definition could be - "Logical or conceptual structure or pattern, which serves as a form, example of thought within a given sphere of experience or scientific field." Once again, we could see how a word could develop quite subtle and distinct connotations. But where does paradigm come from and how come it was given such a specified meaning?

Continue reading
  19387 Hits

The Hidden Troves of Etymology

Credit: Gettyimages

What does Synaesthesia mean?

Have you heard about the term synesthesia? If you haven't, the time has come. From a neuropsychological trait to a literary device, it has a wide range of meanings. Generally, synaesthesia indicates an interplay between the senses, when the information registered by one of the senses simultaneously affects one or more of the others. For example, it is the situation when you had a visual impression of sound or a tactile experience of an odor.

 It is estimated that synaesthesia is a genetically linked trait that affects from 2 to 5 percent of the general population. Aside from synaesthetes, which are experiencing it involuntarily, many artists and poets have deliberately applied various practices to attain such psychological conditions. Thus they would achieve a certain creative outcome. However, we use such synaesthetic expressions in our everyday speech, such as "a cold eye," "a burning view," "a soft wind," "a hard voice," etc.

Continue reading
  36554 Hits

The hidden troves of etymology

Credit: Gettyimages

The alchemy of lexis

Could you imagine today's world without the word culture? What will you use instead of it? Civilization, habits, folklore, society, or way of life? Well, all of them are representing just a single connotation, an aspect of the above-mentioned word and its meaning. The thing is that each word has its specific perspective towards the world, and rarely, let's not say never, can be fully replaced. That statement is even more accurate when we consider such a widespread and convenient notion as culture. Following that idea, we could picture why broadening our vocabulary is so important.

Continue reading
  23563 Hits

What does Enantiodromia mean?

Credit: Gettyimages

Easy words,... difficult words...

Often, we hear words that seem to be incomprehensible or terms used by philosophers or scientists that are condemned as abstract or unearthly. There is a tendency, which praises the simplicity of popular language. Of course, if something cannot be described in a common and natural way, it raises suspicion. However, specialized scientific terms have their irreplaceable role in expressing exact notions and processes. Thereby, when mentioning words like apperception, transcendental, ontology, quantum continuum, etc., scientists (but not only,) are addressing certain phenomena that are hard to be described in simple words, or appear as vague as the terms themselves, if we use metaphors or some other literary device.

Here we've got one useful instrument for interpretation called hermeneutics – another foggy notion. In fact, it is not so difficult to understand that one. In our case, it is just to search for the definition or etymology of a given term and then put it into its specific context.

Today, we're going to take a look at the word enantiodromia. Have you heard that one, well, you could already say yes!

Continue reading
  21662 Hits

The Hidden Troves of Etymology

Credit: Gettyimages

What are the origins of the name Europe?

Often, we do not ask ourselves for the origins of words that we use on a daily basis. That is especially valid, for the most common ones like the names of days, months, and countries? That applies to the same degree when speaking about the continents although they are only seven. Today, we are going to take a look at a name we all have heard – Europe.

 We find it recorded first in a Homeric hymn to Apollo from 522 B.C.E. or earlier. It says: "Telphusa, here I am minded to make a glorious temple, an oracle for men, and hither they will always bring perfect hecatombs, both those who live in rich Peloponnesus and those of Europe and all the wave-washed isles, coming to seek oracles." 

But what are the etymological roots of the word? It is widely considered that, as above-mentioned, Europe derives from the Ancient Greek language. It consists of two morphemes: urys "wide" + ops "face," or "eye", literally "broad face," or "wide-gazing" as a suitable description of Europe's mainland and broad shoreline as seen from the shipboard perspective of the maritime Greeks.

Continue reading
  21364 Hits

The Secret Troves of Etymology: Symbol

Credit: Gettyimages

What does symbol mean?

We use a lot of words daily, we know what they mean in a particular case, however, once we go deeper into their meaning, we begin to lose ground under our feet. Here comes the help from Etymology. Some of the most abstract words we use today derive from natural or everyday life objects. For example, the word matter comes from the Latinmateria, which among other things, means "hard inner wood of a tree." Another one is the word electricitythat comes from the Greek ēlektron, which means "amber", or the word energy, which originates from the ancient Greek enérgon -"being active, into activity, working". The world of words is full of surprises, and the best aspect of that is that each one reveals an entirely new perspective towards what is known. Today, we will search for the elucidating history behind another one of these words –symbol.

Continue reading
  38215 Hits

The Secret Troves of Etymology

Credit: Gettyimages
The Evolution of Words and Meanings

Words have their own history, which is as revealing and profound for the meaning they bring as, for example, the discovery of electricity for the rapid advancement of modern technology. Each step that language has made through the years left its footprint. A word is a bouquet of various senses and a multitude of connections with other words that eventually produces not only a notion of something but a feeling, imagery. Have you ever thought how is it possible that a given word describes its object so good, how irreplaceable it sounds? Well, it is not only that we have made a convention out of it. It is also the gradual sculpturing of meaning over and over through the centuries. Even though we are not always aware of all these transformations, we have adopted them when we learned to use language. It is a network that is erected upon a huge underground structure of nuances, contexts, and connotations, which are present although implicitly. When we use a word we give rise to a tremendous chain of meanings, that makes us perceive things in one way or another. Today, we will follow the long and captivating adventure of the word cosmos, which has always sounded so beautiful to me, and it turned out it has something to do with beauty.

Continue reading
  39864 Hits

The secret troves of etymology

Credit: Gettyimages

Etymology of the word concert

There are many words that we daily use, words for which meaning we are sure of, and never ask where they come from. One of them is the word concert. I have no doubts that you all know that word and most probably you have used it recently. Well, of course, a concert means a public group (or solo) musical performance, a musical show. But what are the roots of that rather common word, where does it come from originally? Well, it turns out that the noun concert has a curious story.

Continue reading
  34266 Hits

Secret Troves of Etymology

20220111-115102yuyeung-lau-lr5mTjURI5c-unsplash Credit: Unsplash by Yuyeung Lau

Credit: Unsplash by Yuyeung Lau  

Where does the word robot come from?

If you type the word robot in any search engine today, it appears to be one of the most popular and used terms in the world. Of course, this is not very surprising. Every day, we hear about some new development, technological device, or application, which is called a robot. The word is closely related to another viral word – Artificial Intelligence – which caused it to be even more popular. It became common to think about the future as vastly inhabited by robots who (it depends on the person's mental inclinations) are either greatly beneficial for humankind or enormously threatening for us. Well, most probably, we should regard it both ways. However, the situation is such, that even 4 years old children know, more or less, what a robot is. But from what source we have adopted that word, what does it actually mean, and what are its implications? If you haven't asked yourself, so far, now is the time to consider doing it. Here you can read a short etymology of the word and ponder over it. Enjoy!

Continue reading
  38647 Hits

Four essential terms to understand evolution theory better

20220118-113659eugene-zhyvchik-xJY-7gtC38o-unsplash Credit: Unsplash by Eugene Zhyvchik

Credit: Unsplash by Eugene Zhyvchik  

Phylogenesis, ontogenesis, ethnogenesis, and sociogenesis

1. phylogeny (phylogenesis), the history of the evolution of a species or group, especially in reference to lines of descent and relationships among broad groups of organisms. Fundamental to phylogeny is the proposition, universally accepted in the scientific community, that plants or animals of different species descended from common ancestors.

Source: Britannica.com

2. ontogeny (ontogenesis), all the developmental events that occur during the existence of a living organism. Ontogeny begins with the changes in the egg at the time of fertilization and includes developmental events to the time of birth or hatching and afterward—growth, remolding of body shape, and development of secondary sexual characteristics.

Source: Britannica.com

3. Ethnogenesis (from Greek ethnos ἔθνος, "group of people, nation" and genesis γένεσις, "beginning, coming into being"; plural ethnogeneses) is "the formation and development of an ethnic group". This can originate through a process of group self-identification as well as come about as the result of outside identification.

The term ethnogenesis, a mid-20th century neologism, refers to the observable phenomenon of the emergence of new social groups that are identified as having a cohesive identity, i.e. an "ethnic group" in anthropological terms. Relevant social sciences not only observe this phenomenon but search for explanation of its causes. The term ethnogeny is also used as a variant of ethnogenesis.

Source: Wikipedia

4. Sociogeny (French: sociogénie, from the Latin socius, i.e., "association" or "social," and the Greek γένεσις, denoting "origin, source, beginning, nativity, generation, production, or creation") or sociogenesis is the development of a social phenomenon. That a phenomenon is sociogenetic thus indicates that it is socially produced, as opposed to ontologically given, immutable, or static. The concept was developed by Frantz Fanon in his 1952 book Black Skin, White Masks.

Source: Wikipedia

Continue reading
  23222 Hits

The hidden troves of etymology

Credit: Gettyimages

The word science

What do you imagine when you hear the word science? Isn't it people with white uniforms, peering into microscopes, surrounded by complicated machines and computers, checking statistics, and conducting complex experiments. Truly, that's part of its modern usage. But what does the word science actually mean, where does it come from? Maybe, some additional connotations could shed some light on the hidden processes that stand behind the visible action. As one could expect, this word has a long story that lays beneath it. Let's follow its history and see if there is something that we miss from first sight.

Continue reading
  20634 Hits

The Secret Troves of Etymology

Credit: Pexels by Skylar Kang

Our world is made out of words

Language is all around us. It is everywhere and in everything. It constructs our culture and makes us human beings. You could find it even in places where you wouldn't expect and that's natural because we understand the world's phenomena through it. We can see its patterns in each particular thing since our mind process information like that. And it is a handy thing. We communicate very complex ideas thanks to it. Today, we will take a look at the origins of one remarkably famous and somehow obscure word – metaphysics. Its power stays hidden behind the prefix meta-, which could be used with a multitude of words like meta-language, meta-text, meta-history, or as we can see from the most recent usage – meta-verse (the virtual universe). 

Below you can see the extraordinary etymological story of the word meta-physics.

Continue reading
  22950 Hits

The Secret Troves of Etymology

Credit: Pexels by Rodolfo Clix

Etymology of the word Electricity

Have you ever wondered, which are the origins of the word Electricity? Is it coined especially for its modern usage? Had it been applied for other meanings in the past, as is the case with many other terms? My experience with searching the meaning and origins of words shows that the more common and used is a word in everyday conversations, the less we ask questions about it. As a result, we could easily find ourselves in the paradoxical situation of not knowing the real meaning of words we use on regular basis. And even more, a situation, in which most of the other people we are speaking to, don't know it too, though they, more or less, understand what we mean. So, let us dive once again into the puzzling world of language and its organic development through the years.


Continue reading
  25144 Hits

The secret troves of Etymology

Credit: Unsplash by Brett Jordan

The word Method

One of the most commonly used words in the field of Science is method. Nowadays, we literally can't imagine how we could conduct an experiment or draw a conclusion without following some method. And not only in scholarly discourse but in everyday use, you can often hear someone describing another person or activity as being methodical or as lacking methodology. But what are the origins of this word, and how come it became so popular?


Continue reading
  41533 Hits

The Secret Troves of Etymology

Image credit: unsplash.com by Hal Gatewood.com

The word Energy

Energy is one of those words that most of us use on a daily basis. It has both everyday and scholarly meanings. We all know what does it mean and yet that could really mislead us whenever we are trying to examine the full range of its connotations and its origins. Let's set out on a trip towards the roots of one of the most common words today.

Continue reading
  23482 Hits

The secret troves of Etymology

Image credit: gettyimages.com

Wednesday – the day of Odin

For most of us, Wednesday is just yet another day in the middle of the working week. We seldom ask ourselves what are the meaning and the origins of words that we are used to. Especially, the names of the days, months, countries, planets, constellations, etc. They are laid so deep in our memories and consciousness that we take them for granted. However, each name has its semantic roots and historical background. And believe me, most of the time they are truly amazing and unpredictable. Today, we will follow a bit from the story of one really common name – Wednesday.

Continue reading
  44067 Hits

SSA Recent Posts

25 September 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Short Bio Isaac Emmanuilovich Babel (1894 –1940) was a Russian writer, journalist, playwright, and literary translator. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories, and has been acclaimed as "the greatest prose writer of Russian ...
33 Hits
23 September 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: Getty images Between doomscrolling and disinformation 'Media is this layer that exists everywhere in our lives', said Dr Tanya Lokot as she explained the term 'mediatized' to Horizon Magazine. It gives her the title of the seven-country resea...
57 Hits
21 September 2022
Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS)
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: crossref.org Get involved Having joined the Crossref team merely a week previously, the mid-year community update on June 14th was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the Research Nexus vision. We explored its building blocks and practical...
62 Hits