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Where do the words (and expressions) come from

Today, in a lesson, I learned zhe expression "it gives me the heebie-jeebies". I was told the translation of course, but I am curious about the original meaning - if you can say so. Greeks call it etymology, coming from the word etymos meaning "true".


From time to time I'd wish to know more about these connections.
Language is living also in and from the past, isn't it?

3 comments

  • I agree with you, Louis. Knowing the etymology or the origin of an expression is working like mnemonics.


    About the slang expression saying that your speaker got the jitters, it's no use looking for an etymology. The heebie-jeebies were coined by a cartoonist, likely from alliteration.
    See: http://www.answers.com/topic/heebie-jeebies


    N-B The answers.com is my favourite dictionary on line.
  • Thank you, Sandy, for your comment and the link.
    In this example (heebee-jeebies) I can feel the difference betweeen a native speaker and a student as a kind of border. The term sounds somehow, even for me as a German, but I don't know "to make a rhyme out of it" as we would say in German.
    Thanks anyway, and have a nice weekend.
  • I don't know if the following quote from wiki has anything to do with this topic ;)
    "In short Lacan's theory declares that we enter the world through words. We observe the world through our senses but the world we sense is structured (mediated) in our mind through language. Thus our subconscious is also structured as a language. This leaves us with a sense of anomaly. We can only perceive the world through language, but we have the feeling of something missing. This is the sense of being outside language. The world can only be constructed through language but it always leaves something uncovered, something that cannot be told or be thought of, it can only be sensed. This can be seen as one of the central themes of Paul Auster's writing."
    In fact I wanted to get the topic about the best novel and Paul Auster back but cannot find it. (Did it disappear just like "Hello People"?)

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