2 feb. 2006

I always thought that the word "avatar" should have some connection with the word "atavistic," but there is no link at all. despite a certain phonetic and semantic kinship. There could be a new word: "avatistic."

"Miniature" should have something to do with the prefix "mini-" meaning small. But once again, no. It comes from a seemingly unrelated Latin word for a kind of red dye used to make small pictures.

4 comentarios:

picofeo dijo...

Padgett has a prose piece (that perhaps you've read?) where he talks about "atavistic" and how every time he reads it he has no idea what it means and go gets the dictionary and looks it up and thinks Ah! I will never forget this again! and the next time he encounters it draws a total blank and repeats the encounter.

And I think for this exact reason I ALWAYS remember what "atavistic" means. Thanks, Ron!

Joseph Duemer dijo...

Why stop at "avatistic"? How about "avatastic" & "atavistic"? I am a member of the Atavistic school of modern poetics. . .

I wonder if the confusion is sonic? t & v sounds are made at the very front of the mouth by touching the upper teeth with the tongue & the lower lip respextively. Maybe not so much sonic as kinetic? I belong to the Kinetivastic school of modern poetics. . .

Jonathan dijo...

The confusion is morphological, phonological, and semantic.

Avatar = reincarnation of a Hindu deity
Atavistic = of or pertaitning to a genetic throwback, or "reincarnation" of a genetic trait absent from intermediate generation(s).

So we should have atavars as well as avatars.

Joseph Duemer dijo...

That's really fucking atavastic, Jonathan!