Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stupid Things I Think About

Molly Ringwald is not necessarily stupid, I hasten to say.
Before work this morning, I meditate on the eternal question, "Is there any relationship between the name Molly and the verb, to mollify? And if so, which came first?

The Online Etymology Dictionary says this:

mollify Look up mollify at Dictionary.com

late 14c., "to soften (a substance)," from O.Fr. mollifier, from L. mollificare "make soft, mollify" from mollificus "softening," from L. mollis "soft" (see melt) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Transferred sense of "soften in temper, appease, pacify" is recorded from early 15c. Related: Mollifiedmollifying.

Hm. Pretty old word, then. Did mothers in the Middle Ages call their daughters Molly because the sweet little babies were so soft and cuddly? Not so fast.

I now look up the name, Molly, on BabyCenter.com, one of many, many blogs devoted to helping the dwindling number of English speakers who actually deign to have children, to name them properly. BabyCenter gives me the following:

#71 on BabyCenter

Gender: Girl

Origin: Hebrew 

Meaning: Form of MARY. bitter 

Yaaah! Not only does Molly not come from Old French, via Latin, carrying the meaning of, "cute, soft, cuddly little bundle of joy"; but it's Hebrew for, "Bitter old rutabaga. But also, Mother of Jesus, so there's that." To get from Mary to Molly, one would need a serious speech impediment or a hearing problem. "What's that, dear? We should call our baby 'Molly'? Seems kind of unusual, but sure. Why not?"

FOR THE RECORD, I shall not name any children or pets after Molly Ringwald, who is not-- I repeat, not-- the Mother of God. She is the mother of Mathilda and the twins, Adele and Roman, instead.

[Kate here: A newspaper editor of mine told all the writers that to invoke the dictionary definition of any word in an article meant INSTANT DISMISSAL because it was to trite and lame.  It showed a lack of creativity.  Just pointing this out. Possibly the fact that you did not literally use the phrase, "To quote Webster," will allow me to not kill you today.

Oh, and also?  Steve?  Make your comments IN the body of each blog, not in the Comments section.  Duh.  People are paying us TO SEE OUR REPARTEE.  Again, duh.]

[Steven here: And when does that sweet blogging payola come my way? I'm just asking. As for your other "point": I did not use a dictionary definition. I used an etymology source, not to define the word, but to look for its roots in ancient languages. My apologies that I am not fluent enough in Old French to be able to have figured that out on my own.  Besides, didn't you get fired from that job? Or was that when you were a waitress at Pepe's Tacos? Thwack!]

[This is Kate again. STEVEN:  you WENT there? You invoked the time I got FIRED from Pepe's?  Ouch.]

[And this is Steven. Well, Kate, I think you had it coming. Someday, you'll have to tell your story of Pepe's, and please do so in comic form.]

[Kate here ONE LAST TIME:  FYI, rutabagas are quite tasty, and not bitter in the least.] 

[Steven here: I have no idea what a rutabaga is, nor what it tastes like, nor do I care. I am a rutabaga Philistine, and I'm happy to remain so. Leave me in my impenetrable ignorance, if you don't mind.]

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