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#62764 03/28/02 11:48 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,156
Bean Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2001
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Well, some of you may know by now that my dad is from Sardinia, which is an island south of Corsica in the Mediterranean. They are part of Italy but have a very distinct culture, and their language, instead of being some variant of Italian, is actually descended from Latin directly. Most people outside of Sardinia haven't really heard of it, but lately I have been reading some books on it, and I came across at least two words based on Sardinia which I'd love if one of you guys with OED access could look up for me:

1. (Obvious one) Sardines - the fish - Webster's online says the name "may come" from the name of the island. They do fish and eat sardines there. (My dad is crazy about sardines. The man doesn't like fish that doesn't STINK like fish. Phew!*) Any confirmation of the word origins?
2. (This one is really neat) Sardonic - let me quote from Webster's: Sardonic \Sar*don"ic\, a. [F. sardonique, L. sardonius, Gr. ?, ?, perhaps fr. ? to grin like a dog, or from a certain plant of Sardinia, Gr. ?, which was said to screw up the face of the eater.] Forced; unnatural; insincere; hence, derisive, mocking, malignant, or bitterly sarcastic; -- applied only to a laugh, smile, or some facial semblance of gayety. Again, I wonder, if anyone has a better source on that. The book I was reading last night was published in 1975.

Well, I hope those were two neat word origins which you otherwise might not have thought about. Just trying to share a little Sardinian culture with the world.

*in Sardinian, the sound you make for a stinky thing - equivalent to our phew! - is puzzidda. Sounds something like "poo-TZEE-dda" (with a double-d sound).

#62765 03/28/02 03:16 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
Carpal Tunnel
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,542
unlike orthography and orthoepy [why does orthoepy have two(2) accepted pronunciations?!], most etymologies are consistent between major dictionaries (OED, W3, AHD, etc.) -- the OED, with its unlimited space, just has a bit more of the same. so, fwiw:

sardine - [a. F. sardine, ad. It. sardina:L. sardna (Columella; cf. late Gr. ? and
? ), f. sarda, = Gr.?, the sardine or some similar fish. In the 17th and
18th c. the Italian form was often used.
The Latin and Greek word may be related to the name of the island, L. Sardinia, Gr.?:
cf. SARD a.]

sardonic - [a. F. sardonique (16th c.) = Sp. sardónico, Pg., It. sardonico, as if ad. L.
*sardonicus, an alteration (by substitution of suffix: see -IC) of sardonius: see
Hobbes's form sardanique is assimilated to Gr. ?: see prec.]
{sardonian} [f. L. sardoni-us + -AN.
The Latin adj. is ad. Gr. ? Sardinian, which in late Gr. was substituted for ?
(Homer, etc.; of obscure origin), as the descriptive epithet of bitter or scornful laughter; the motive
of the substitution was the notion that the word had primary reference to the effects of eating a
‘Sardinian plant’ (L. herba Sardonia or Sarda), which was said to produce facial convulsions
resembling horrible laughter, usually followed by death.]

btw, OED acknowledges that sardonic has a transferred sense: Hence of a person, personal
attribute, etc.: Characterized by or exhibiting bitterness, scorn or mockery.

-joe saturnine


#62766 03/28/02 03:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Carpal Tunnel
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 13,858

Typical symptoms of Tetanus include:

Spasm of jaw muscles leading to difficulty in opening the mouth; trismus or lockjaw occurs in
50% of cases (Figure 2)
Spasm of facial muscles resulting in a sneering expression known as risus sardonicas (Figure
Spasm of the back muscles cause opisthotonus in which the body becomes arched (Figure 4).
Reflex spasms whose presence and frequency determine outcome.

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