Posted by: Jack Henry | May 17, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Argonauts, astronauts, and other nauts

Good morning!

So are you ready for a little more Greek as it relates to English? How about some vacation photos? I don’t think I told you this, but I fell the day I left for vacation and had to have my eyebrow glued together in the ER. Well, that wasn’t enough excitement. Oh no. The evening of our Greek Easter celebration, I decided that I needed to add hand and wrist injuries to my collection, and landed on my face again. This time I hit the bridge of my nose, cut myself under the eye, bruised unspeakable parts of my torso, and skinned my hands and knees. I am seriously considering buying stock in the BAND-AID® brand. So, today’s photos are from that evening of fun. (You can’t see too many of the bandages!)

Ray and Kara with Easter candles. The priest lights the sacred candle in the church and then the light spreads to all of the parishoners one candle at a time. You hold and keep the candles lit while the priest chants and fireworks go off.

Korthi church fireworks on the island of Andros.

Now for the day’s lesson.

My uncle (yes, the Greek one) is a ship captain. I thought I would share this article with you, in his honor.

From Argonaut to Internaut

The combining form -naut gives English several words that convey a type of traveler.

The Greek word for sailor was ναύτης (nautes). [KC – Actually, the Greeks would pronounce that “naftēs,” but it’s easier to remember the connection to
nautical if you mispronounce it.] Classical Latin mesonauta referred to a sailor “intermediate in rank between a rower and a steersman.” Classical Latin Argonauta referred to the sailors who traveled with Jason in the Argo (his ship).

The earliest “naut word” in English is the noun Argonaut (1596): one of the legendary heroes who accompanied Jason in the Argo in his quest of the Golden Fleece. Because of their quest for gold, the US “forty-niners” (gold-seekers who went to California in 1849) were also referred to as argonauts.

Here, with the date of their earliest citation in the OED, are some other “naut words” in English:

aeronaut (1784)
A person who makes balloon ascents or flies in a balloon, a balloonist.

aquanaut (1881)
An underwater ‘explorer’ or swimmer.

astronaut (1928)
A person who travels in space; especially a person who is (or has been) a crewmember on board a spacecraft or on a space mission.

cosmonaut (1959)
A traveler in outer space; an astronaut (especially a Russian space traveler).

(1965) A robot.
(1973) A computer user.
(1990) A person who interacts with a virtual reality environment using computer technology.

internaut (1992)
A user of the Internet, especially a skilled or habitual one.

oceanaut (1962) Another word for aquanaut.

Click here for the complete article: Daily Writing Tips.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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