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#14812 - 01/09/01 01:49 PM Re: Encompassed
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
Jackie said . Both I and my children were told to buy
a compass and protractor for math class.


I also, but with the addition of an "s".



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#14813 - 01/09/01 02:48 PM Re: Encompassed
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
Thank you, e, for
In reply to:

Scombussolato which sounds so similar, and has also the same meaning...
Scombussolato means - for example - someone which lost ( the way shown from ) the compass, since compass = bussola.


Discombobulated entered english about the time of WWI-(according to M-W 10th) and it might well have been taken almost right from the italian..

And as for compass-- it is singular in NY, too, so i agree with Jackie-- a compass.

_________________________
my other obsession

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#14814 - 01/09/01 03:26 PM Re: Encompassed
Bobyoungbalt Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/22/00
Posts: 1289
Compass(es)
I have to go with Max. I was taught (as were most people I know) that the drawing instrument is a compasses; a compass is a navigational tool. (and the construction of that sentence is a chiasmus.)


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#14815 - 01/09/01 03:32 PM Re: Encompassed
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>I have to go with Max

Yes, I'd put an "s" on Math too!


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#14816 - 01/09/01 04:01 PM Re: Encompassed
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
Thanks, Jo. Bob, being a "math" person, missed my oblique dig. I was told to buy a compass, sans added "es", for my maths classes.


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#14817 - 01/11/01 04:26 AM Re: Encompassed
NicholasW Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 12/18/00
Posts: 393
Loc: London
a compasses ??

A compass, or a pair of compasses -- my own maths days when we actually used those are so far away they were probably in Latin. To me a circle is just {(x,y): (x + a)^2 + (y+b)^2 = r^2}, none of this mucking around with dull sublunary approximations.

And of course the locus classicus is:

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;


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#14818 - 01/11/01 06:27 PM Re: Encompassed
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Nicholas truncates:
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;


I'm holding my breath
And may start to turn blue


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#14819 - 01/14/01 07:05 AM Re: Discombooberated -Scombussolato
pgrew Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/20/00
Posts: 8
Loc: Milan, Italy
In reply to:
>> Scombussolato which sounds so similar, and has also the same meaning...
>> Scombussolato means - for example - someone which lost ( the way shown from ) the compass, since
>> compass = bussola.
>> ...Incidentally, I am always wondering if it is not confusing to use the same word compass in English
>> in 2 ways
> Discombobulated entered english about the time of WWI-(according to M-W 10th) and it might well
> have been taken almost right from the italian..
The similarity of these two words is, in my analysis, a felicitous coincidence. As Emanuela rightly points out, the seventeenth-century Italian scombussolare is (at least mostly) rooted in bussola, which means a direction-finding compass and is cognate with English "box" (as compasses were once made of wood).

In the early Renaissance Mediterranean, celestial navigation relied on the juxtaposition of the two sorts of compasses (the magnetic needle floating in a box of liquid and the pivoted instrument also known as a pair of dividers) and metonomy allowed for the trasfer of the name for the former object to the latter, in English. Maritime terminology was a great source of loan words from even before the Crusades until the industrial revolution in this region. A sailor who had lost his compass (in either sense) would certainly have been at sea.

My theory is that the metaphorical image underlying "discombobulation" is entirely different. I suspect this word may ultimately hark back to the idea of thread (or wire) coming off a bobbin (cf. haywire). There does not seem to me to be any evidence of borrowing from Italian. BTW, Merriam-Webster missed their mark in dating discombobulate and its variants such as discombobberate (cited OED 1838). These words are fanciful, early-nineteenth-century, American coinages on a par with other Latinate slang the likes of absquatulate and...

...someone give me another example, please.

chow,
- ph



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#14820 - 01/15/01 07:41 AM Re: Discombooberated
Chickie Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/05/01
Posts: 35
Have also heard this used as "discombobulated".

"Adversity is the whetstone of creativity"

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#14821 - 01/15/01 11:34 AM Ooh A linguist.
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Welcome, pgrew. We need someone like you here.

P.S. Ænigma (q.v. http://wordsmith.org/board/showthreaded.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=9694&page=&view=&sb=&vc=1#Post9694) converts you to Phaedra.


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