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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:37 pm

• cappuccino •

Pronunciation:kæ-pê-chi-no • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: Espresso coffee with hot milk, topped with steamed foam, especially as served in coffee bars.

Notes: Cappuccino, like espresso (not expresso), is an Italian word reflecting the origin of the coffee itself. Although many have difficulty recalling which of the inner consonants are doubled they should not have, since both of them are doubled.
In Play: Today's Good Word has no figurative applications: "I love their cappuccinos because they are a double treat; you get four sips of foam before your lips reach the coffee." So, we must stick to the literal uses: "The barista there has a grandiose repertoire of designs he can draw in the foam of the lattes and cappuccinos."

Word History: The name of this coffee comes from the Capuchin friars, who wore brown habits, each with a cappuccio, a long, pointed headdress. Cappuccino "little cappuccio" is a diminutive of cappuccio "hood". Cappuccio "big, extended hood" is the augmentative of Late Latin cappa "cowl, hooded cape". Cappa is a shortened form of capitum "head covering", derived from Latin caput "head". Latin inherited this word from PIE kaput- "head", which wore its way through the ancestral Germanic languages to Old English heafod "head", and on down to Modern English head. It ended up in in Old French as chief, which English snitched as chief, and Modern French as chef, whereupon English found a new use for it. Kerchief started out as Old French couvrechief "head cover", whence it was borrowed by Old English, and ended up where it is today in English. Since kappas were cowls, hooded capes, we can easily see how the word migrated to both cap and cape in English. (Tony Bowden of London probably thought of today's smashingly Good Word over a cup of cappuccino. We thank him for sharing it with us.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

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Re: Cappuccino

Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:17 am

Interesting that the modern English word "kaput" meaning "defeated, destroyed, broken" and generally thought to be taken from German also traces (and preserves) its etymology back to this same PIE root.

George Kovac
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Re: Cappuccino

Postby George Kovac » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:58 am

The peregrination of the root PIE word kaput- is a fascinating journey. Its destinations cover a lot of territory: cape, capital, chief, chef, kaput, caparison (the GoodWord of March 5, 2015), cappuccino,and my favorite, the ludicrous ecclesiastical garment known as the cappa magna. But apparently not capacious. (See GoodWord of December 11, 2014)
"The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words." Colum McCann, But Always Meeting Ourselves, NYT 6/15/09

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