Top X Lists Debunked

TOP X LISTS DEBUNKED – Mental Floss’s The Dirty Etymology of 9 Everyday Words

Debunked

Mental floss has a list of 9 everyday words that are actually dirty words, which you can check out here.  But how true are the 9 things?

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1.  Orchid:  Testicles (Greek: Orkhis)

CORRECT

The word is derived from the Greek word for testicles because apparently that’s what the tuber looks like.  [Dictionary.com]

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2.  Porcelain:  Pig’s vagina (Italian: porcella)

WRONG

The word porcella means “sow/female pig”, not “pig vagina.”  [Wiktionary]

Porcelain:  Female pig (Italian: porcella)

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3.  Vanilla:  Vagina (Latin: vagina)

WRONG

The word “vanilla” come from the Latin vagina “sheath” which is the root for the modern English vagina, but does not mean vanilla means vagina. [Online Etymology Dictionary]

Vanilla:  Sheath (Latin: vagina)

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4.  Seminar:  Semen (Latin: semen)

WRONG

The word seminar comes from the Latin semen “seed” which is the root for the modern English semen, but does not mean seminar means semen.  [Wiktionary]

Seminar:  Seed (Latin: semen)

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5.  Fundamental:  Buttocks/anus (archaic: Fundament)

WRONG

Both meanings come from the Latin fundamentum “foundation”.

Fundamental:  Foundation (Latin: Fundamentum)

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6.  Avacado:  Testicles (Nahuatl: ahuakati)

UNKNOWN

Ahaukati means both avacado and testicles in Nahuatl, it is unknown whether the fruit was named after its resemblance to the body part, or that the ahaukati was a nickname for testicles because they looked like avacados.  [Online Etymology Dictionary]

Avacado:  Avacado (Nahuatl: ahuakati)

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7.  Pencil:  Penis (Latin: penis)

WRONG

As with vanilla and seminar, this is confusing a shared root with the modern meaning.  Pencil is a diminutive meaning “little tail”, coming from penis “tail”, the origin of the modern word.

Pencil:  Tail (Latin: penis)

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8.  Musk:  Scrotum (Sanskrit: muska-s)

CORRECT

It is said that the deer gland resembles a scrotum.  [Online Etymology Dictionary]

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9.  Amazon:  Breastless (Greek: a-mazos)

WRONG

This is so wrong it’s often used as an example of folk etymology.  The Greeks certainly thought it was true, but it comes from the Old Persian ha-maz-an “warrior”.  [Online Etymology Dictionary]

Amazon:  Warrior (Old Persian: ha-maz-an)

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RESULTS

Only 2 to 3 of the 9 items are correct, a meaning at least 2 thirds of the entries are wrong.

~ DUG.

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4 thoughts on “TOP X LISTS DEBUNKED – Mental Floss’s The Dirty Etymology of 9 Everyday Words

  1. Pingback: Language Posts. | Duggy's Blogs

  2. Pingback: TOP X LISTS DEBUNKED – Introduction | Top X Topics

  3. Pingback: TOP X TOPICS – Bottom 10 | Top X Topics

  4. Pingback: TOPIC: Fact vs Myth | Duggy's Blogs

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