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HAMLET

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HAMLET

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:40 pm

• hamlet •


Pronunciation: hæm-let • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A very small village.

Notes: So, why doesn't this Good Word mean "a small ham"? Is this where Shakespeare got the name of his Danish prince, Hamlet? Do you know the answers to these questions? Here is what I think.

In Play: The root of today's word, ham, was retained in English only as a part of proper nouns. It originally meant "home", so that Hampstead started out meaning "home place" and Hampton, "home town". "Dr. Goodword lives in the hamlet of Smoketown, not far from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania" (so named because it was once home to a smoky brick kiln).

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from a French word meaning not just "little town", but "a very little town": it is a double diminutive. Middle English hamelet came from the Old French hamelet, the diminutive of hamel "little village", itself a diminutive of ham "village". This ham was borrowed from a Germanic language, possibly Old English ham "home, homestead, estate". However, French changed the meaning of ham to "village without a church", hence hamlet. The French also adapted this word to the verb hanter "to frequent, to haunt", which we promptly borrowed back as English haunt. Shakespeare took the name of his Danish prince from Saxo Grammaticus's Historia Danica, which contained much about fratricide and incest, plus characters with Danish names of the time, such as Amleth, Ophelia, Polonius, Horatio, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern. Shakespeare converted Amleth into a much more recognizable Hamlet.
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Re: HAMLET

Postby MTC » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:16 am

hamlet: a very small village, or a very large role.

So what's the difference between cities, towns, villages and hamlets? Population mainly, but perhaps not surprisingly there is no uniform standard. Every county, country, and state has a different measuring stick. At least that's what my ramble around the net disclosed.

Etymoline states a hamlet is "especially a village without a church." However, elsewhere online I found a village with a church may shrink leaving a hamlet with a church. Also, according to Wikipedia, "(h)amlets may have been formed around a single source of economic activity such as a farm, mill, mine or harbour that employed its working population." Dr. Goodword's hamlet, Smoketown, formed around a kiln. However, I doubt whether the Smoketown of today is as uniformely populated, e.g., exclusively by linguists, etymologists, lexicographers and others in the word profession.

This brought me to "ekistics," the scientific study of human settlements. I left off there for a cup of coffee...
Last edited by MTC on Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: HAMLET

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:10 pm

I lived in a community of 750 folks for a year, and
it had 4 churches, but called itself a "village". Go figure.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: HAMLET

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:18 pm

I lived in a village of about 750 also divided from a town of 4000 by a no man's land. We too had at least four churches, and the no man's land had one!
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Re: HAMLET

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:20 pm

ps-I had a college friend who loved to talk about omelet and oatmealia (sic/k).
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Re: HAMLET

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:30 pm

I come from a rural community that has the pretentious name of Simmons City. Fant City was also in my home county. I read that these places are both ghost towns. I go there regularly and don't see any ghosts. In fact, The Simmons Land Survey, Simmons City and its "suburbs", has more people living in it than ever before.

I and some other old timers are doing ekistics on the Simmons Land Survey. Thanks to MTC, I now know what I am doing. It gives such a scholarly glow to our enterprise.

BTW Simmons City has two churches. One is the church our family used to belong to and the other one is the church my dad built after a split over church finances. It reminds me of the story of a man who was discovered living alone on an otherwise desert island. There were three buildings on the island. The man explained that one was his home, one was the church he attended and the other was the church he used to attend until there was a split in the congregation.
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Re: HAMLET

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:16 pm

Yuk,yuk. :P
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