Saturday, December 13, 2008

Steaming Pile Of Christmas Ick

Last year one of my Christmas presents from my parents was a Word Origin desk calender. Every day you rip off a new page, and it gives you a new word, along with the origin of said word. I tend to neglect this calender, so I often find myself ripping off several days because I'm about a week behind. Just in time for the holidays, this is what awaited me on the Sat/Sun December 6/7 entry.
Mistletoe. In modern German, Mist means "animal excrement." The ancient Germanic formation misteltan means something like "a twig that causes animals to excrete," the belief apparently being the parasitic plant's berries gave the birds that ate them loose bowels.
Gee, now it makes perfect sense why we hang this stuff up in doorways so we can go around kissing each other. Ahhhh, romance!

8 comments:

azteclady said...

In the middle of panicking (my mother is arriving in about five hours, my house is a mess) the laughter was very welcome, very therapeutic.





(Yeah, don't ask why I'm online instead of cleaning--gotta enjoy the panic, don't I?)

Cathy in AK said...

See what happens when you get trashed at ancient Germanic holiday parties? Make one drunken attempt at a joke and a whole new tradition is born.

C2 said...

Where's the "The More You Know" swooshy logo? LOL

Thanks for the extra Christmas trivia that will never escape my odd brain.

Travis Erwin said...

Now that is funny. Somewhere along the way there was some good marketing.

Wendy said...

AL: Hey, it makes perfect sense to me! Sounds like something I would do. Enjoy your visit with Mom.

Cathy: Yeah, I hear those ancient Germanic parties got pretty wild and crazy.....

C2: Now I have that NBC jingle stuck in my head. Blasted earworm!

Travis: Those PR guys more than earned their paycheck me thinks :)

Taja said...

You know, I speak German, and so far, I never thought about the German meaning of the word "mist" when I encountered it in English. Now I'm not sure I can ever get it out of my head. LOL.

little alys said...

Ewwwwwwwwwww.

eeeewwwwwwwwwwww.

I will never look at a mistletoe the same way again.

And oddly enough, I want to learn German now.

Wendy said...

Taja: Especially since the word has a completely different meaning in English!

Alys: My younger sister took German in college, and when she was over there last month she was surprised how much of it she remembered.....