Wor d’oeuvres: Homo Nymous

cute clouds; not scar-y

In this crazy world, it may be of comfort to know which words that look and/or sound the same do so because they are related, and which do so because chaos reigns but coincidence arises. So here you go.

Kind (type) and kind (nice): related! You can think of both going back to “family”…so, type as in family and nice as in “feeling towards as though family.” More here.

Ruler (person with power) and ruler (instrument for measurement): related! You can think of both going back to “move in a straight line,” derivatives of which became “MAKE move in a straight line” (thence to kings and such) and “mark with lines.” More here.

Object (any damn thing) object (goal) and object (oppose): related! But, a surprise to me, the last is the meaning more closely connected to its roots. You can think of all both going back to “a thing in front of you;” the “opposing” then being “a thing in front of you that’s in the way” and the “goal” being “a thing in front of you that you want” and the “any damn thing” being just “any damn thing (in front of you).” More here.

Aspiration (hope) aspiration (medically suction): related!  they both go back to breath, though the former is a bit of a stretch in my book. Latin aspirare meant “breathe on,” from ad (to) + spirare (breathe). So to aspire as in “hope for” was…to “pant with desire,” apparently. And then medically, it’s when you use suction, so…more breathing IN than ON but it’s fine. Breathing, is the thing. More here and here.

Homo- (prefix for “same”) homo (“man” as in “sapiens”): as far as I can tell, not related. Sense of “same” is from Greek, sense of “man” is from Latin. This weirds me out! I really would have guessed they both went back to a common root, but homo– (same) goes back to a PIE root “sem,” and I can’t find anything on homo (man) going back to anything else. But anyway, to be clear: the title of this post is nonsense.

With much love,




Bonus not-actual-homonyms: cirrus and cirrhosis: not related! They have that little cirr- and because I was told that cirrhosis had to do with scarring, I thought, shitdogger, is that what cirrus clouds are? Little scar-ish clouds?? Well…nope! And I’m not trying to argue with a nurse in a video I had to watch for a training, but it seems like cirrhosis includes but is not limited to scarring. Anyway: it comes from Greek kirros, “red-yellow/yellow-brown,” referencing the color of a liver in trouble. More here. And then “cirrus” is just…cirrus, “a lock of hair, tendril, curl, ringlet of hair; the fringe of a garment.” I mean, what a cute thing to have a word for! More here.

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