Oh, hell!

Up on the Strong Language blog, I have new post on the many uses–er, circles–of hell, from hell yes! to hell-to-the-no. Noun, verb, intensifier, prefix? Hell hath a lot of linguistic fury in the English language. Readers here may be particularly hellbent on the etymology of hell:

In Norse mythology, Hel is Loki’s daughter and goddess of the underworld, which is one way to raise Hel, I suppose. Her name is indeed a cognate of English’s own hell, whose Old English source, hell, comes from the Proto-Germanic *haljo (“the underworld,” literally “the concealed place”). Descending further into the origins of hell, some etymologists believe *haljo hails from the Proto-Indo-European *kel-, “to conceal” or “to cover.” English sees this same root in the very unhellish hall, hull, and cell, as well as that very conceal, to name a few hellions.

Read more from “Nine circles of hell.” 

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two years

Today, the Mashed Radish turns two. I think the blog is really growing up.

"Two." Doodle by @andrescalo.
“Two.” Doodle by @andrescalo.

My brother, Andrew, has given my words shape, line, texture, and color with his deft and delightful doodles. They’ve really added a lot personality, don’t you think? Thanks, brother! A number of my posts have become cross-posts, as I have been contributing to the OxfordWords blog at Oxford Dictionaries and Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. I hope that these posts have lead you to some new writers, blogs, and projects. The group at Strong Language is a tremendously talented bunch, no? It’s an honor to be writing alongside them. Speaking of honor: Oxford Dictionaries Online? Let’s just say about every post here begins with three letters: the OED.

While my writing has branched out through those two blogs, I think my writing here has matured, focusing on topical etymologies as my own small lens to think about current events–and using current events as a lens to think about words and language. Speaking of branching out, so have my readers here, reaching close to 5,000 followers. Each like, each comment, each compliment, each question–each is a shared act of curiosity, of word nerd-dom, of the little, electrifying huh‘s and ah-ha‘s and I’ll-be‘s that make me excited to continue into year three. There is a lot of choice out there today. There is a lot to read and enjoy. There is a lot of noise competing for our attention. So, whether you are scrolling through a new post while waiting in line at the post office or reading it over a cup of coffee at your computer before kicking work into gear, thank you.

Above all, however, I want to thank my wife (and blog widow), Amanda, whom I never give enough credit for supporting me and my writing.

Year two 

Below, you can read through the list of words, roots, or topics I covered in year two. You get something of a buzzword, catchword, or keyword “news reel” for May 2014-15. I’ve linked each word to its post:

-lock
*gno- (part i)
hitch
*gno- (part ii)
norm
soccer
goal
*sekw- (part i)
*sekw- (part ii)
gavel
independence
court
border
immigration
amnesty & coyote
rockets & missiles
tomato
virus
vaccine

comedy & tragedy
Punctuation..?
Ferguson

loot
Bongo, Bongo
school
punctuation (part i)
dread
nought
aye
Lexicon Valley
yes
strategy & target
quarantine
job
docket
czar
protocol
panic
candy
poll
veteran
spices
drubbing & shellacking
vape
everyday Quechua: Coke, jerky, & DNA
ciao, slave!
exam
test
bus
Strong Language
embargo
twelve words of Christmas
new
treadmill
“big goddamn car”
diet
cartoon
language (for your ears)
crude
loophole
Davy Crockett in a hot-air balloon
hawk vs. patriot
measles
culprit
anchor
Mardi Gras
beagle
swear jars & springtime
jar
akimbo
ease
jumbo
Background checks: everyday words with legal origins
mushing
corned
Buddha, eBay, & ombudsmen
farang
nuclear
I have eaten ‘crap now’
gyrocopter
race
dragon
errand & racy
thug
curfew

Whew!

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swear jars & springtime

Perhaps you are observing Lent. Perhaps your observance involves a sacrifice. Perhaps that sacrifice is giving up swearing. Maybe you are enforcing that sacrifice with a swear jar. And maybe you contributed quite the funds to your swear jar after viewing last Sunday’s Academy Awards.

If so, you definitely don’t want to miss my latest post on Strong Language, “‘Til the swear jar’s full”: Penances, pennies, and profanities.” Be sure to scope out the comments, as some commenters have offered some great anecdotes about their own swear jars. As always, be advised that Strong Language does contain strong language.

And if you are new to Mashed Radish, welcome, or if you just need some warmer temperatures this winter, check out one of my very early posts on spring, which we used to call Lent.

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“big goddamn” cross-post edition

"Big goddamn car." Doodle by me.
“Big goddamn car.” Doodle by me.

Be sure to keep up with Strong Language, the sweary blog about swearing. There have some incredible new posts lately on all things profane, vulgar–and linguistic. In “So many mother _uckers,” Nancy Friedman looked into sweary soundalikes in name branding while Steve Chrisomalis investigated the rise of the phrase four-letter wordto name a few.

In need of a tonic after Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall StreetI recently wrote on Robert Creeley’s artful swearing in his iconic poem, “I Know a Man.” This post, I’m excited and humbled to announce, is the inaugural cross-post of Strong Language at Slate’s excellent language blog, Lexicon Valley. Read it here at Slate.

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