Sunday, December 30, 2007

[dream etymologies, 1]


        I dream that 'family' is as if from the Latin verb, fo, fare, ‘to speak.’

Then family means

                                the people who talk to each other.

Our word 'fate' comes from that verb too -- fatum, 'what has been spoken.'

So familiar things are:

        the things that speak for us.

        And sometimes to us.

[dream etymologies, 2]

In dream I learn that the phrase

                        vain scrutiny

is a technical term, and means a secret meeting or covert illegal assembly. At first I think this must be a mistake or mistranslation in the book I’m reading (I’m often reading a book in a dream).

But then in the dream I go to the dictionary, which gives that as the proper meaning indeed of the phrase, evidently a calque or translation from a Slavic expression – I see the Russian phrase in Cyrillic.

In the story I had been reading when the phase cropped up, the illicit meeting had been infiltrated by police provocateurs.

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