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EAVESDROP

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EAVESDROP

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:21 pm

• eavesdrop •

Pronunciation: eevz-drahp • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: To secretly listen in on a conversation between other people.

Notes: The term eavesdropping suggests far quainter times than we live in today, when people had to stand outside your house and press their ears to a door or window to gather information about you (see History). Today eavesdropping is a full-time vocation carried out invisibly by electronic "bugs" or telephonic wire-taps. If you eavesdrop, you are an eavesdropper guilty of eavesdropping.

In Play: English-speaking peoples now know enough to come in out of the rain to eavesdrop: "Be careful as you leave not to open the door abruptly; Ms. Nosewaithe, my secretary, may be eavesdropping on the other side. I wouldn't want her to fall and sue me." While the professionals today use electronic equipment, lay eavesdropping remains quite wide-spread: "When I'm seeing someone, I like to gather a bit of background information on them by eavesdropping on conversations between their acquaintances."

Word History: Today's verb is from a noun that originally pointed to a person who stands in the eavesdrop of a house in order to hear what is being spoken inside. The eavesdrop (or eavesdrip) of a house is that area beneath the overhang of the roof (eave) where water drips like so many words from someone's lips (if you don't have gutters). Eaves comes from Old English yfes, a descendent of PIE *upo which also gave us over, above, and up, while providing Greek with hyper and Latin super. (Today we thank Patricia Castellanos of Uruguay for spotting the odd disjuncture of sound and meaning in today's word.)
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Postby tcward » Fri Jun 17, 2005 6:46 am

So this same PIE root is the source of English ivy, then... because it climbs up trees and such?

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Postby Apoclima » Fri Jun 17, 2005 7:41 pm

I know it is very hickish of me, but I pronounce this word "eez"-drop! I don't think I have ever heard it pronounced "eevz"-drop and not feel it sounded like an affectation!

Apo
Last edited by Apoclima on Sat Jun 18, 2005 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby KatyBr » Sat Jun 18, 2005 1:08 am

OK, well that's it Apo, we're thru' I can't believe you leave that lovely veu sound out of eavesdrop, what a hick! (insert Tongue -in-cheek emoticon here)

Katy







:) I didn't want a silly smiley to ruin my silliness.
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Postby Apoclima » Sat Jun 18, 2005 3:50 am

I know, Katy, I should give it up, there is plainly one of them "v" letters there, but it's part of my rustic, drink-from-the-bucket,nap-in-the-hay charm!

Apo
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Postby KatyBr » Sat Jun 18, 2005 11:31 am

Wahl, Apo, see'in' as ye drink frum th' bucket and nap in th' hay, Ah'd say ye are pretty much ok.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Jun 18, 2005 1:45 pm

Apoclima wrote:... but it's part of my rustic, drink-from-the-bucket,nap-in-the-hay charm!


Don't those straws itch, when they get down your shirt ?...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby tcward » Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:00 pm

I'm allergic to grasses, so I can't imagine relaxing on a pile of hay... lol.

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Postby Apoclima » Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:04 pm

Yeah, it does itch! But if you bury yourself, no one finds you when there's work to do!

Apo
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:26 pm

With a little bit of luck - and a haystack !...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby KatyBr » Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:29 pm

tcward wrote:I'm allergic to grasses, so I can't imagine relaxing on a pile of hay... lol.

-Tim


hmmm, come to think of it, (is that one of those come rain, come shine idioms?) I wouldn't be breathing much after about a 10-minute power nap in the very dusty hay.

Katy
who sometimes gets an odd feeling she might forget to breath some night in her sleep anyway.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:24 pm

I'm too urban to know what hay is. Come to think of it, there was a certain farm in New Hampshire...

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:29 pm

KatyBr wrote:...who sometimes gets an odd feeling she might forget to breath some night in her sleep anyway.


The curse of Ondine, which is now also a term used in neurology :

Ondine's curse is a rare and severe form of central sleep apnea syndrome caused by lack of automatic respiration control during sleep. It was first described by Severinghaus and Mitchell in 1962 [Severinghaus JW, Mitchell RA: Ondine's curse - failure of respiratory center automaticity while awake. Clin Res 1962;10:122]. The authors named this syndrome 'Ondine's curse' according to a German legend about a water nymph, Ondine, who, having been jilted by her mortal husband, took from him all automatic vital functions requiring him to remember to breathe in order to live on [Goldblatt D: Ondine's curse - historical notes. Semin Neurol 1995;15:218-223].


The moral of the story seems to be that naiads and men don't mix - at least not when the latter try to jilt the former. But what could be a better way to set off on that journey we all must take than simply forgetting to breathe in one's sleep ?...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby KatyBr » Sat Jun 18, 2005 7:50 pm

Henri, I'm just recovering from Bronchial pneumonia, I had a terrible time sleeping due to cough spasms that kept me awake, a preoccupation with the annoying raspy breathing gave me funny delusions too, all of which doesn't preclude the possibility of sleep apnea too.

Katy
I never met any Naiads, of any spelling.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Jun 20, 2005 2:44 am

Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery, Katy !...

Henri
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