[tlhIngan Hol] Etymology of {De'wI'}

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Mon Oct 5 09:02:00 PDT 2020

Before a room becomes disheveled, is it sheveled? Is it heveled?

Before a conversation is disrupted, is it rupted?

Also, if a conversation can be interrupted, does that imply that it could be extrarupted? or intrarupted?

The word “tone” has the words “to”, “ton”, and “one” in it. Does that mean that “tone” was derived from some combination of these meanings?

Etymology requires history, and we rarely get a glimpse of the history of Klingon words.

My favorite false etymology was that “bit” came from the dragoon, also known as “pieces of eight” because it was a coin with eight crimps on it, like a pre-sliced pizza, so that it could be easily broken into halves, quarters, or eighths. An eight of a dragoon was known as a “bit” because it was 1/8 of a dragoon and you couldn’t break it down any smaller. Hence “Shave and a haircut, two bits” meaning that it cost a quarter (25¢), since a dragoon was also known as a dollar and two eighths is 1/4.

The computer word “bit” similarly describes something that is 1/8 of a byte; something that cannot be broken down any smaller…

All that makes sense, but apparently “bit” is just something some guy made up with no reference to pieces of eight, dragoons or dollars, as a perversely arbitrary abbreviation of “Binary digIT”.


Unfortunately, more authoritative voices insist that the less interesting story wins.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Oct 4, 2020, at 8:10 PM, DloraH <seruq at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> Or it might be completely unrelated to any suffix.
> In English, adding -er gives us "someone or something which does the
> verb it is attached to", very similar to the verb suffix -wI'.
> Shoot - shooter
> Wash - washer
> Does a brother broth?
> Does another anoth?
> The -wI' on words like computer and helmsman could just simply happen to
> look like the suffix -wI'.
> - DloraH
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