Sunday, October 10, 2010

Etymology: You Learn Something New Every Day

I just started reading The Girl Who Played With Fire (sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I enjoyed) and in the very first paragraph of Chapter 1, a person sits down on a chaise longue. I thought "how strange! a typo in the first paragraph!". Now I have to say, I pride myself on being a bit of a wordsmith and etymology always fascinates me, so I was surprised to find out that this isn't a typo at all. Though the word has been Americanized to chaise lounge (dating as far back as the 1850s), implying a chair that one might lounge in, the original French word was chaise longue, meaning a long chair (which also makes sense).

If you're interested in slightly more background on this interestingly amended phrase, I found a great site called World Wide Words that offers this explanation. And if you're an etymology junkie like me, I'll warn you that this site might just suck up a bit of your time!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

I've read all three books and enjoyed them so much! Have you finished the third yet? Or seen the movie?