BL: march
Posted: 10 October 2013 04:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4603
Joined  2007-01-03

The movement, not the month

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 October 2013 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  342
Joined  2012-01-10

Huh.  I would have guessed that “march” (the verb), while not directly related to “March” (the month) shared a connection to “Mars"(the Roman War god) and/or one or more Latin words related to Mars and/or war.  But it appears that “march” has no etymological connection whatsoever to either Mars or any other Latin term relating to war and/or the war god, and that the fact that March was named for a war god and march has an obvious military association is purely coincidental.

As a side note, I just want to comment that I’ve greatly enjoyed reading all of the recent additions to (and updates of) the Big List.  I particularly liked the entries for “Imp” and “hard-nosed/dum-dum”, but all of the new additions have been great.  Also, the new entries nicely underscore how much more fun it is to read about and discuss the origins of words and phrases than, say, peeves about the sad state of English usage (and those kids and their twitters).

So, thanks for all the new entries, Dave!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 October 2013 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  710
Joined  2007-02-07

Yes, I have to heartily agree with Svin. These fully developed etymologies are a true pleasure and in this particular entry, I especially enjoyed seeing the difference between Loverich’s English and Puttenham’s.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2013 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1949
Joined  2007-02-19

Yes, the Big List is a delightful, unending source of entertainment and instruction --- eloquent testimony to the scrupulous erudition of Our Fearless Leader, to whom great praise be. Salve Dave!

Doughboy:  I once, as a little boy, asked my father (who survived four years in Flanders during WW1, physically intact but severely mauled in spirit), if he knew why American soldiers were called “doughboys”.  His sardonic reply: “because they didn’t rise until after they were kneaded”.

Arsenic: “Did you hear about the man who poisoned his wife with a razor-blade?  --- He gave her arsenic.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2013 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2301
Joined  2007-01-30

Lionello, you missed your calling! Vaudeville lost a star in you. :)

Interesting note in OED under march, v.1, (meaning to border on and unrelated to march, v.2 the subject of Dave’s post). It’s a quote from Langland’s Piers Plowman, c.1378.

†2. intr. To be closely linked or associated together. Obs. rare.

c1400 (▸c1378) Langland Piers Plowman (Laud 581) (1869) B. Prol. 63 For here money and marchandise marchen togideres.

OED comments:

It is uncertain whether quot. c1400 at sense 2 should be interpreted as showing an otherwise unattested application of the present word or (as read by some) as antedating march v.2; meten , the reading of the A-text of Piers Plowman, perhaps supports the present interpretation as implying a less radical revision of the sense of the line. ( N.E.D. (1905) lists for this sense also a later example from a1578 R. Lindsay Hist. & Cron. Scotl. (1899) I. 270, which Dict. Older Sc. Tongue however takes as showing march v.2)

Any thoughts as to whether this does antedate march, v.2, Dave? You have a far better ear for the verse of this era than I.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2013 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1949
Joined  2007-02-19

No poet or scholar, I; but my natural impulse would be to read the line not simply as a pleasant piece of alliteration, but also as an intentional, witty double meaning. Master Langland’s was, after all, a more powerful, well-read intellect than many (on the other hand, I wouldn’t be the first person to read into a line of verse more than the poet intended).

---- Thanks, aldi. But the fact is, I was too pretty (blue eyes, curly hair, long eyelashes, believe it or not) to be a vulgar, Max Miller type comic (the kind I’m best qualified to be). Had to settle for an almost serious technical career, with scatology as a fun sideline ;-)

I love the expression “marching together”. Slipping it in is a great way to cause confusion, when the conversation gets tedious and boring.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2013 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4603
Joined  2007-01-03

Note that the earlier “A” text of Piers Plowman uses the verb meten, to measure/tally, in this line.

I don’t agree with the OED’s placement of this citation as a unique attestation of a different sense (sense 2 under march v.2). The MED places it as sense 1(c), where sense 1 is “to abut, border upon.” That makes more sense to me than inventing a whole new meaning to accommodate this one citation. Langland is saying that money and wares are closely linked (it’s an indictment of the clergy who serve as confessors to the nobility).

Given that Langland changed the verb, I’d be inclined to agree with Lionello. Langland is probably using the neologism marchen as word play, two different metaphors that make the same point.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2013 08:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  420
Joined  2007-10-20
Svinyard118 - 10 October 2013 08:54 AM

Huh.  I would have guessed that “march” (the verb), while not directly related to “March” (the month) shared a connection to “Mars"(the Roman War god) and/or one or more Latin words related to Mars and/or war.  But it appears that “march” has no etymological connection whatsoever to either Mars or any other Latin term relating to war and/or the war god, and that the fact that March was named for a war god and march has an obvious military association is purely coincidental.

Similarly, I would have thought marshal would be related to both, considering its military connections. Apparently not so.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 October 2013 10:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1949
Joined  2007-02-19

I recall having seen, in stories about the Frozen North, the use of the cry “Mush” as a signal to sled-dogs to get moving. I also recall reading that the word is an Anglicization of the French “marche!”.  Wikipedia (long may it prosper) confirms this, and uses the term “musher” to describe one who trains and uses dogs to pull loads.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 October 2013 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3416
Joined  2007-01-29

Wikipedia (long may it prosper) confirms this

Much as I love Wikipedia, I would say “agrees with this” rather than “confirms this”—Wikipedia on its own hook can’t confirm or refute anything.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 October 2013 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  140
Joined  2007-02-13

I Aldi’s post it seems to imply that the meaning of a border or border area is unrelated to the movement/walking sense, but most other sources seem to indicate the same basic Germanic roots for both terms.

French is given as the possible origin for the English word, and there both words (the verb to walk on or press/mark and Marche for a border area) are assumed to have similar Germanic origins in the C12th.

Could the military significance of marches have influenced the use for troop movements?

BTW, while looking at this I realised that the position of Marquis derives from someone put in charge of a marche.  Maybe obvious to all, but new to me.

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ "Some unsung Newton"      living large ››