Wednesday, August 18, 2004

leave your PC shoes at the door!

here is merriam-webster's word-of-the-day from august 17, which you will all find interesting, especially the etymological bit:

tartar \TAR-ter\ noun

1 capitalized : a native or inhabitant of a vast historical region in Asia and Eastern Europe roughly extending from the Sea of Japan to the Dnieper
*2 often capitalized : a person of irritable or violent temper
3 : one that proves to be unexpectedly formidable

Example sentence:
On the basketball court, Nate was a Tartar whose undisciplined behavior often got him in trouble with the referee.

Did you know?
Originally, their name was "Tatar," not "Tartar." Since at least the 1200s, the Tatar people have lived in Asia and Eastern Europe, and they were among the fiercest fighters of the Golden Horde of the Mongols. In the 13th century, they rode with Genghis Khan and became the terror of their day. Their name, "Tatar," is believed to come from Persian or a Turkic language, but in Europe it was associated with "Tartarus," the Latin name for the part of Hell reserved for the punishment of the wicked. Because of that association, English speakers began calling the Tatar people "Tartars." Over time, "tartar" came to be used for anyone considered as ferocious or violent as the Tartar warriors who had once ransacked the ancient world.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.


2 comments:

dennis said...

I've always been a fan of their sauce. I like to dip my scallops in it.

Anonymous said...

yes--i wonder whether the sauce has any connection with the derogatory epithet?