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Surname adjectives
Posted: 29 May 2013 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A recent Tom The Dancing Bug cartoon made me reflect on the fact that it is much easier to form classy-sounding adjectives from some names than from others.

“Nixonian” has been doing the rounds lately. Clintonian also got a bit of a run but I sense that its use is partly tongue-in-cheek. Washingtonian, Jeffersonian, Wilsonian ... if your name ends in -on, you are pretty much set.

I have seen Rooseveltian.

As for the rest, it’s not so easy. Eisenhovian? Obamarious? Bushy?

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Posted: 29 May 2013 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Obamarious

I’m thinking Obomaronian but then my head goes “"Baa Baa Baa Baa Barbara Ann”.

Obamaesque?

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Posted: 29 May 2013 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Obaman seems adequate.

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Posted: 29 May 2013 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Obaman sounds like a superhero.

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Posted: 30 May 2013 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Here‘s what I’ve just googled on the origins of President Obama’s name:

The President’s first name, Barack, is a Swahili name that has its origins in the Arabic language. The original Arabic root of the name (B-R-K) means “blessed.” In Arabic, the root word is used in many other phrases to denote blessings and to describe people who are blessed:
•Mabruk! = “Congratulations!”
•Barakallah feek = “May God bless you”
•Barakah = blessings from God (feminine version of the name)
President Obama’s middle name is Hussein, which was his grandfather’s first name. The name, of Arabic origin, means “good” or “handsome one.” It is common in Muslim cultures for children (both boys and girls) to have a middle name which directly connects them to their father or grandfather.
President Obama’s surname is not uncommon among the Luo tribe, one of the three largest ethnic groups in Kenya. They speak the Dhoulou language.

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Posted: 30 May 2013 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The original Arabic root of the name (B-R-K) means “blessed.”

Cognate with Hebrew baruch of the same meaning.

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Posted: 30 May 2013 07:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The original Arabic root of the name (B-R-K) means “blessed.”

It’s actually rooted in Hebrew and then later Arabic. Which puts me in mind of an old Joke among Jews.

A man who just bought a Masarati wanted it blessed by a Rabbi. He goes to an Orthodox Rabbi and says, “Rabbi! do you have a Bruchah for a Masarati?” Rabbi says, “I’m sure we do, but what’s a Masarati?” The man explains what a Masarati is and the Rabbi is outraged. “We would never offer a bruchah for such an extravagance.”

Man goes to a Conservative Rabbi who responds, “Well, we certainly have a Brukah for everything, but what’s a Masarati?” after the explanation he too refuses to offer a bruchah. Having a Masarati is itself a blessing, isn’t it?”

Finally the man goes to a Reform Rabbi who responds, “Wow! A Masarati! Wonderful! What’s a Bruchah?”

edit: pipped by the good doc. Took too long to write this…

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Posted: 30 May 2013 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Other people with related names are Hosni Mubarak and Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll.

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Posted: 30 May 2013 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Bernard Baruch, financial adviser to two U.S. Presidents

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Posted: 30 May 2013 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Amiri Baraka, radical poet born LeRoi Jones in Newark, NJ.

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Posted: 31 May 2013 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It’s actually rooted in Hebrew and then later Arabic.

That’s confusingly put; it’s attested later in Arabic, but the languages are equally old (by definition, since they both descend from West Semitic).  The West Semitic root b-r-k ‘bless’ is probably a metathesized variant of common Semitic k-r-b ‘praise’ (which gives us cherub).

Incidentally, the English word broker is ultimately from Arabic bar(a)ka ‘blessing, divine favor.’

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Posted: 31 May 2013 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I can’t find any Arabic etymology for broker in OED, which says:

Etymology:  Middle English brocor, -our, brokour, < Anglo-Norman brocour (also broggour) = Old Northern French brokeor ( < Latin type *broccātōrem), nominative brokiere ( < Latin *broccātor) of which Godefroy has one example explained by him as ‘celui qui vend du vin au broc’, as to the precise sense of which see below. The Central French equivalent was brocheor, brochière; and the word is the agent noun of the Old French verb brochier, Old Northern French brokier ( < Latin *broccāre) in the sense ‘to broach’ or ‘tap’ a cask. Brocheor, brokeor stand in precisely the same relation to the noun broche, broc, and the verb brochier, brokier, as tapster or rather the earlier tapper stand to the noun tap, and verb to tap in Germanic: the brocheor, brokeor, brokour, or broker, was lit. a tapster, who retailed wine ‘from the tap’, and hence, by extension, any retail-dealer, one who bought to sell over again, a second-hand dealer, or who bought for another, hence a jobber, middleman, agent, etc. Compare sense of Latin caupo.
The Romanic verb broccare was evidently < brocco , brocca in the sense of ‘spike, piercing instrument’ ( < Latin broccus , brocca adjective: see broach n.1). But these nouns appear to have afterwards had their sense modified from the verb, so that in the Old French vendre à broke, or à broche, in modern French vendre à broc, the sense passed from ‘broach’, to ‘broaching, tapping’, and at length to ‘the quantity of wine drawn at a broaching or tapping’, and hence ‘the jug or vessel which held this’, as in modern French broc (from 5 to 10 litres). Anglo-Norman had also a derivative form abrocour, and there were Anglo-Latin words abrocator, abrocamentum; also brocarius ‘proxeneta, interpres et consiliarius contractuum’, and abrocarius. Brocarius appears to have been formed on the noun (broc(c)a, broc(c)us); abrocarius must have been formed on the apparent analogy of brocator, abrocator.

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Posted: 31 May 2013 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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With all due respect for the OED and its team of savants, I can’t say I think much of the way they make the jump from “tapster” through “second-hand dealer” to “agent”. It sounds a bit contrived to me. I’d love to see the documentation on which it’s based.
Language hat’s comment put me in mind of the fact that when Jewish dealers in precious stones close a deal, they shake hands and utter the Hebrew formula mazal u-vracha, which means “luck and blessing”. As far as I know, this formula is not used by other professions. Incidentally, the word mazal, used nowadays stand-alone in Hebrew to mean “luck”, originally meant (and continues to mean) “a sign of the Zodiac”. The original full congratulatory formula would be she-yihieh bemazal tov—“may it be under a good sign of the Zodiac”.  Nowadays, one simply says mazal tov in congratulation --- though one of the phrases used at a Hebrew wedding ceremony is mazal tov ve-siman tov, where siman also means “a sign”.

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Posted: 31 May 2013 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Merriam-Webster gives essentially the same etymology as Eliza cites from the OED, and I’ve read the same story (effectively, broker = broacher) in other sources.  Maybe the Semitic “blessing” connection is based on more recent scholarship, but I’d like to know LH’s source.

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Posted: 31 May 2013 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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AHD5 has the Arabic source for broker.  They pretty much follow the one outlined above from the OED but diverge to Arabic where the OED goes to Latin.

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Posted: 01 June 2013 05:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Yes, I got it from AHD, for whose etymologists I have the greatest respect.  With OED, it’s vital to know when an entry was published.  This one is from 1888 and has not been revised, so is essentially useless today.

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