BLIGHTED ? - Capt. Bligh? 
Posted: 21 July 2007 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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:lol:  Just listened to a book about the infamous Capt. Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame (he really wasn’t that bad it seems, but the defense lawyers at the trial were excellent at painting him that way).  So, is there any relationship between the word blighted and him?  Stranger things have happened.  just wondering.

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Posted: 21 July 2007 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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No. Blight has been around since 1611 and is related to Old English blaece, “leprosy”. The surname Bligh is a variant of Blythe, meaning “cheerful, gentle”.

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Posted: 21 July 2007 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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"On the green banks of Shannon, when Sheelah was nigh,
No blithe Irish lad was so happy as I”.......

I can remember crying myself to sleep (as a little boy of seven or eight) over the sad fate of Poor Dog Tray. Poor Captain Bligh gets nary a tear, though he doesn’t seem to have been anything like the unmitigated brutal sadist that Charles Laughton made him out to be (I liked Trevor Howard’s portrayal much better).
Young whatsisname’s family’s propaganda campaign certainly gave him an unwarrantedly bad name. Poor blighter.

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Posted: 21 July 2007 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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and is related to Old English blaece, “leprosy”.

According to whom?  OED, AHD and MWO all say say “origin unknown.”

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Posted: 21 July 2007 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I know it’s not what was asked in the OP, but a search on blaece brought me to this site on sausages (yes, I did say sausages).  Well, I thought it was interesting, anyway, and I learned that the word “sausage” is ultimately derived from the Latin word for “salt”, and that sausages are first mentioned in Homer. 

What actually took me to that page was a citation with the word “blaece” in it on the “glossary” link on that site.  Here it is for some kind and knowledgeable soul to translate:

c1000 Saxon Leechd II “Wip blaece, wyl colonanon buteran, meng wip sote, sealt, teoro.”

Like I said, it has absolutely nothing to do with blight but it’s topical.  We had sausage and mash for tea tonight.

Edit:
Just found this:

I still think black meant the opposite of white long before Columbus.
>
> An interesting observation in Carl Sagan’s _The_Dragons_of_Eden_ is the
> fact that “black” and “white” in English have similar origins ("black"
> coming from the Anglo-Saxon “blaece” and “white” coming from the
> Anglo-Saxon “blac"), both suggesting the meaning “without colour”.

At last, I know why in Dutch, white people are called ‘blank’.

> The
> origin of “white” and its similarity to “black” can still be found in the
> words “blanch”, “blank”, “bleak” and the French “blanc”.

More comments or are you all blinded by science?  Or should I leave now while the going’s good?

[ Edited: 21 July 2007 03:12 PM by ElizaD ]
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Posted: 21 July 2007 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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WOW!  what an amazing group of erudite and helpful people!  Thanks to all who helped me expand my knowledge of language.  So Capt. Bligh (not a blythe, carefree spirit by any means) did not spawn blighted.  good! 
Oh, and thanks for the sausage information too, I had Gumbo with sausage for supper and feel much better knowing about it.

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Posted: 21 July 2007 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Wip blaece, wyl colonanon buteran, meng wip sote, sealt, teoro.

The wips are actually withs (somebody mistook thorns for p’s), and based on the OED, “colonanon” seems to be a misprint for “eolonan on” (two words).  So, it appears to be a recipe for a treatment for leprosy, consisting of elecampane and butter mixed with soot, salt and tar.

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Posted: 22 July 2007 12:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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For philchenevert.  While you’re flirting around with bligh look-a-likes how about throwing in

“Dear Old Blighty” for fun?  Nothing to do with sausages!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blighty

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Posted: 22 July 2007 12:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks, Dr T, but I must be missing something.  Where does the leprosy reference occur in that citation?

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Posted: 22 July 2007 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Eliza, see the second post (’blaece’.)

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Posted: 22 July 2007 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Decided to start another thread.

[ Edited: 22 July 2007 04:12 AM by ElizaD ]
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Posted: 22 July 2007 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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As far as I can see, the root ‘blaec’ means black but also ‘leprosy’ in a semantic extension due to the dark colour on the skin caused by the disease in advanced stages.

But take my word for it…

Old to New English - this page (scroll down to ‘blaec’) shows different meanings associated with the root phoneme.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia entry for ‘leprosy’ gives a bit more historical and medical background on the development of the disease.

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Posted: 22 July 2007 04:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Sorry Eliza, posted my last reply before seeing your new thread…

Admin - to move or not to move my last post to Eliza’s new one? Not a black and white issue....

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Posted: 22 July 2007 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Capt. Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame (he really wasn’t that bad it seems, but the defense lawyers at the trial were excellent at painting him that way

A bit off topic for Wordorigins, but while Bligh was probably not as bad as popular imagination makes him out to have been, he wasn’t the nicest of guys. Less well known is the fact that there was a second “mutiny” under his command. When he was governor of New South Wales in 1808, the Rum Rebellion occurred on his watch. One mutiny might be forgiven, but two shows that something was seriously wrong with his command style. (Although, his logs on Bounty indicate that he administered punishment relatively rarely, compared with his contemporaries, so he wasn’t a cruel man, just very unpleasant.)

He was, without any doubt, a sailor of unparalleled excellence. His 47-day, 3618 nm (6701 km) voyage in open boat from the site of the Bounty’s mutiny to Timor is an amazing achievement. He also distinguished himself at the battles of Copenhagen and Camperdown, and in the former was key to Nelson’s victory as he chose to relay Nelson’s signal to continue the engage even though he saw Admiral Parker’s (who was in overall command) signal to disengage.

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Posted: 23 July 2007 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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As far as I can see, the root ‘blaec’ means black but also ‘leprosy’ in a semantic extension due to the dark colour on the skin caused by the disease

I would have said based on the whiteness of the skin (and hair) produced by the disease.  Note that in the Old-English word list you cite, blæc (without an accent mark over the ash) means “black” but blǽc (with the accent mark) means bright, pale, and shows up in a lot of words related to bleaching, etc., including the word for leprosy. [edit: Indeed, for blǽco, leprosy, the Online Anglo-Saxon Dictionary gives the additional sense “paleness” and the etymology “blǽc pale, livid; blǽcan to bleach”.] (If your browser doesn’t show these Unicode characters, it’s blaec vs. bláec, more or less.) However, the OED’s version of that passage does not include the accents, which might cast some doubt on the translation as “leprosy”.  OTOH, since the book cited (Saxon Leechdoms) is a collection of remedies for diseases, I’ll stick with that unless someone comes up with a more plausible or more authoritative translation.

[ Edited: 23 July 2007 12:22 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 23 July 2007 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 21 July 2007 09:41 AM

… The surname Bligh is a variant of Blythe, meaning “cheerful, gentle”.

This little tidbit just made my day.  Further evidence that the universe operates on irony… ;-)

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