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April 4th, 2002 - 1:32 a.m.

I'm Currently Avoiding:

Well. Time to write a diary entry. Or attempt a pitiful approximation of one at least. A really pitiful facsimile of one. Because I don't really care. I should really do things, but again with the not caring. Wonder if this is what drives students to commit suicide here? (Think the total is something like five this academic year so far, with the most recent one being...I don't know, it was in the paper today which I didn't read.) Bah. Enough with this.

facsimile (n. fak-SIH-muh-lee)

1 : an exact copy

2 : a system of transmitting and reproducing graphic matter (as printing or still pictures) by means of signals sent over telephone lines

The facsimile machine (or fax machine, as it is often called) may seem like one of the accoutrements of the modern age, but its name can be traced to a phrase that is most ancient. Fac simile is a Latin imperative phrase meaning make similar. English speakers began using facsimile as a noun meaning an exact copy in the late 1600s. In this sense, a facsimile might be a handwritten or hand drawn copy, or even a copy of a painting or statue. In the 1800s, we developed facsimile technology that could reproduce printed material from a distance via telegraph. Now, of course, we use telephone lines, and we usually call the resulting facsimile a fax.

garble (v. GAR-buhl)

: to distort the meaning or sound of

Garble developed from the Latin word cribellum, meaning sieve (a device for separating things). How did a word that meant sieve develop into one that refers to distorting a sound or meaning? The transition from cribellum to garble happened slowly as the word passed from one language to another. Cribellum was adapted to form cribellare, a verb meaning to sift. Arabic speakers borrowed cribellare as gharbala, which also meant to sift. The Arabic word passed into Italian as garbellare with the same meaning. Later, English speakers started using the word to mean to sift impurities from and to distort, and they changed the spelling once again, forming garble.

indubitable (adj. in-DOO-buh-tuh-bul)

: too evident to be doubted : unquestionable

There's no reason to question the fairly straightforward etymology of indubitable -- a word that has remained true to its Latin roots. It arrived in Middle English in the 15th century from the Latin indubitabilis, itself a combination of in- (not) and dubitabilis (open to doubt or question). Dubitabilis is from the verb dubitare, meaning to doubt, which also gave us our doubt. The word dubitable also exists in English, and of course means questionable or doubtable, but it is fairly rare.

"Mario Eats Italy": I say it sounds like a video game. Other people (they don't get a link...laziness) are of the opinion that it sounds like a porno. After watching it, I almost have to lean toward the porno option...he sounded really weird. Some people are just too into food. I really need to stop watching the Food Network.


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