Thursday, 25 November 2010

paan and fern

Paan or pan is a preparation of betel leaves and other ingredients which is chewed as a stimulant. It's quite buzzy. It also stains your mouth red.

Hindi पान pān is from Sanskrit पर्ण parṇa "feather, leaf" (OED) from PIE *por-no- "that which carries a bird in flight" (possibly). From the same PIE form is English fern, so called because it has feathery fronds.

*por-no- is a suffixed o-grade form of *per- "lead, pass over".

Thursday, 11 November 2010

hoosegow and judge

Hoosegow, an American word for prison, is borrowed from South American or Mexican Spanish juzgao, from Spanish juzgado "tribunal". This is from Latin iūdicātum/iūdicāre "to judge". This and the related iūdex/iūdicem "right, law" are from PIE *i̯eu̯es-deiḱ- - from *i̯eu̯es- "law" and *deiḱ- "to show".

iūdicem became French juge, borrowed into English as judge.