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.