Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On Not Smiting Google

My previous post regarding smiting a major computer company has been canceled due to embarrassment. In fact, I'm going to set time limits on my blogging -- late night blogs are proving not up to the standard I hope to set of interesting someone besides myself.

To atone for a ramble about how hard (or easy) Google made the switch to the new Blogger, I'll offer a derivation for the word "smite" (a juicy-sounding verb if ever I heard one):

O.E. smitan "to hit, strike, beat" (strong verb, pt. smat, pp. smiten), from P.Gmc. *smitanan (cf. Swed. smita, Dan. smide "to smear, fling," O.Fris. smita, M.L.G., M.Du. smiten "to cast, fling," Du. smijten "to throw," O.H.G. smizan "to rub, strike," Ger. schmei├čen "to cast, fling," Goth. bismeitan "to spread, smear"), perhaps from PIE base *(s)mei- "to smear, to rub," but original sense in Gmc. seems to be of throwing. Sense of "slay in combat" (c.1300) is originally Biblical, smite to death, first attested c.1200. Smitten in the sense of "inspired with love" is from 1663.

This derivation courtesy of one of my new favorite writer-tool websites, Online Etymology Dictionary. You can't really use an unusual word effectively in a poem, I find, unless you know all its possible resonances.


  1. A good rant against a technology giant is good for the soul. I do it at work every day, and highly recommend it to folks no matter what they do for a living.

    Geek catharsis, I call it.

  2. Geek catharsis! I love that. Venting is one of the great, underrated pleasures of life. In fact, it might be worth a poem -- except that it would be unreadable or unprintable. We have so much with which to contend in technology, and the techno-masters are pushing more of it our way every day. Here in the outskirts of Silicon Valley, you can hardly get along without email. I mean, people are actually rude to the few folks who refuse to check theirs hourly. You can hardly manage without a website and several domain names in reserve. And now, I've been subtly shamed for not having a MySpace and YouTube to show. Yikes! What's a non-geek to do?

    Thanks for enjoying the rant. Please, help yourself to some rant space.