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Re: Theos-World a lighter side of history

Apr 05, 2002 07:47 PM
by Bart Lidofsky

There is something called "folk etymology"; etymology based not on
fact, but on reverse logic (in other words, something which sounds like
it SHOULD be the etymology). Mostly, it is harmless, though I have seen
it used for political purposes. An example of that is the making it
politically incorrect to use the word "handicapped" for someone with a
disability. The folk etymology given by advocates is that it comes from
disabled people being all considered beggars, with their cap in their
hand, sort of reversing the word. But any decent (and most not so
decent) etymological dictionary will agree that the term originated in
gambling. There was a game called "hand i'cap", or hand-in-cap, where
better players played at a disadvantage to allow for even odds in
gambling. It passed on to other sports, and finally to physical

Now, while researching the actual etymology of Eldon's list, I came
across the following page. Eldon posted the article in fun; I hope this
is taken in the same spirit:

Bart Lidofsky

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