Posted by: Jack Henry | May 9, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Words That Come from Body Parts, Part 1

Good morning, fellow travelers!

Sunday night I went to see The Flaming Lips in concert. It was absolutely the most entertaining concert I’ve ever attended. I’m not sure what was more amusing—having the singer come down into the audience riding a chariot driven by a unicorn, or when he got into a giant plastic ball and rolled into the audience. I’m still picking confetti out of my hair. Anyway, after an evening with The Flaming Lips, this article from Merriam-Webster, “12 Words That Secretly Come from Body Parts,” seemed like the perfect fit.

Here are a couple words to start your day with:


Definition: a keen or bitter taunt: a cutting gibe or rebuke often delivered in a tone of contempt or disgust

About the Word: Sarcasm, that verbal flourish beloved by supercilious people the world over, has the sort of origin that makes other words jealous. It is descended ultimately from the ancient Greek word sarkazein, which means ‘to tear flesh like dogs’ (or also ‘to bite the lips in rage’ or ‘to speak bitterly’).


Definition: marked by disorder or disarray

About the Word: Some words travel far afield from their roots as they make their way through the millennia. Nice, for instance, is descended from the Latin word nescius, meaning ignorant. Others, such as disheveled, hew closer to their original meaning, while changing enough semantic content to keep things interesting. Disheveled comes from the past participle form of the Old French word descheveler, which means ‘to disarrange the hair.’

The Flaming Lips: Wayne Coyne, Riding the Audience in a Hamster Ball

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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