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CACONYM

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CACONYM

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:28 am

• caconym •

Pronunciation: kæ-kê-nim

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A bad word, bad for whatever reason—badly constructed, insulting, ugly, etc.

Notes: The first caconym we need to mention is yesterday's good word, acronym, which we pointed out was based on Greek words meaning "topmost name", which doesn't make sense. Some people would call the name, Dezonia Delacrasia, a caconymous burden for the child upon whom it is inflicted. This name is caconymic because it is cacophonic "bad-sounding". Of course, the vocabulary of profanity, including racial slurs, is a collection of caconyms. The adjective is caconymous [kê-kah-nê-mês] and the noun, caconymy [kê-kah-nê-mi].

In Play: Caconyms are first and foremost bad names: "No wonder he goes by the nickname 'Bud'; his parents cursed him with the caconym, Percival Aloysius." Now, if you know someone who resorts to profanity too often, you can correct them and set an example at the same time: "Leander, were your speech less caconymous, we would listen to more of what you say."

Word History: All of our good words this week will have the Greek word onyma "name" in them. Today's is a combination of kakos "bad" + onyma "name". Kakos goes back to a Proto-Indo-European root found in almost all Indo-European languages referring to defecation. Onyma comes from PIE nomen "name" which changed very little in Latin, where we find nomen "name", visible in nominal, ignominy, misnomer, and many other English borrowings. In the Germanic languages we find it as something like English name (German Name). The best guess is that moniker is a Shelta variant, munik, of Gaelic ainm "name" from the self-same source.
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Re: CACONYM

Postby anders » Tue Mar 08, 2005 6:56 am

Dr. Goodword wrote:Kakos goes back to a Proto-Indo-European root found in almost all Indo-European languages referring to defecation.

I'm not fully convinced that it is a PIE root. The reduplication of ka- makes me think that it is onomatopoetic, possibly a "nursery word"; according to my SwEtymDict, there are correspondences in non-IE languages as well. This word can well be compared to mother/father/wet nurse words in languages from several families.

Another thing that makes me strike kak- from the PIE list is, that there's already another prefix with similar connotations: kopro-/copro-. It occurs not only in Greek kopros 'dung' but occurs in Sanskrit cakrt 'manure' as well. I haven't seen it before "name", but linked to for example "talk": http://www.webspawner.com/users/coprolalia/

Both word groups seem to be clearly distinct from
1) PIE *kap-ro-, giving tons of words connected to goats (Latin capra), possibly from a root meaning 'take'
2) words derived from OE scîtan 'defecate' and cognates; PIE *skei- with a sense of separating, getting rid of.
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Postby Apoclima » Tue Mar 08, 2005 9:41 am

Please, anders! Acurate or not!

"Er ist gekakt!"

Please don't pick him up!

I know he is cute, but he needs something!

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Postby anders » Tue Mar 08, 2005 2:25 pm

Got no kids of my own, but I have changed the diapers of a number of offspring of relatives and friends, so it's no problem for me.
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Kaka PIE?

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:52 pm

I don't see how the fact that PIE *kakka- might be created by reduplication would prevent it from being a PIE root. Pokorny calls it a "Lallwort der Kindersprache", but a PIE form. There is no reason to believe that there were no reduplicated roots in PIE, given their prevalence in other languages.

Nor should we be surprised to discover that PIE had more than one word for this unpleasant subject--most languages do. In fact, kopros probably comes from what may be a variant of *kakka, *keku-(r)-. Indeed, *kakka might be a child's attempt at pronouncing this word. Children's words do enter languages: mama and papa are English words now.
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Postby anders » Wed Mar 09, 2005 12:26 am

Agree in principle, but I'm still sceptic.
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Postby Apoclima » Wed Mar 09, 2005 10:32 pm

Way too funny, anders!

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Postby Stargzer » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:45 pm

Latin has the verb caco:

căco , āvi, ātum, āre, v. n. and

I. a.,--kakaô, to go to stool, to be at stool.
I. Neutr., Pompon. ap. Non. p. 84, 2: toto decies in [p. 258] anno, Cat. 23, 20; *Hor. S. 1, 8, 38; Mart. 12, 61, 10.--
II. Act., Pompon. ap. Non. p. 84, 1 (Com. Rel. p. 209 Rib.): canes odorem mixtum cum merdis cacant, Phaedr. 4, 17, 25 ; Mart. 3, 89.--Also, to defile with excrement: cacata charta, Cat. 36, 1 and 20.


Stool, in this case, is of course not related to the three- or four-legged seat.

Lo these many years ago (early 1970s) there was a philosopy major who wandered our campus in his military fatigue jacket with the logo "CACO ERGO SUM" on his shoulder.
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Postby anders » Thu Mar 10, 2005 1:49 pm

Silly philosopher. Everybody with a modicum of education knows that it is Coitus, ergo sum.
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Postby Stargzer » Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:23 pm

Now that's one I hadn't heard before, but I like it! :twisted:
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Postby Stargzer » Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:29 pm

anders wrote:Silly philosopher. Everybody with a modicum of education knows that it is Coitus, ergo sum.


After a bit of research, perhaps a third-person plural imperfect verb, coibant (They [did it]) (Damn, that took a while to find!), instead of a noun, would be a better grammatical choice. But then, it does lose the pun value! Then again, if it's because YOU do it now, and not two other people long ago, it would be coeo ergo sum! :twisted:
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Postby Apoclima » Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:36 pm

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Postby anders » Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:19 am

The reason I chose the noun and not a verb was that the "t" made the word sound more like "cogito".
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Postby Apoclima » Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:04 pm

....made the word sound more like...[the original word]


Always a good bet when using puns!

I wasn't criticizing your joke at all, anders!

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:28 pm

Stargzer wrote: ...

Then again, if it's because YOU do it now, and not two other people long ago, it would be coeo ergo sum!

Don't tell that to people living under vows of celibacy, Larry ; life is (especially under such circumstances) tough enough without being told that one does not exist !...

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