Friday, November 21, 2014

2356 Magnatech

I wrote a commentary recently where I said that if you Google the name Jeff Bezos you'll find the little summary panel on the right of the first search page identifies him as a "Business Magnate."

Certainly an interesting old-fashioned word. But it shows that even old words can be as open to misinterpretation as new words like, say, dongle. As in the new Fire Stick dongle Jeff created. Dongle is one of those words that for some reason seems inappropriate for certain company. 

Magnate, meaning great man, noble, man of wealth, is derived from the Latin term magnus, which means, variously; great, large, big, abundant, strong, and powerful. Noble, it should be noted, is not necessarily noble in terms of morals, but like a medieval noble, amorally powerful. 

Nowhere, as one would suppose, does the term magnate have anything to do with magnetism of any sort. Though with Jeff's involvement with the technology industry, you would think of him as sort of an electro-magnate. 

Bezos with a "z"  by the way, appears to be derived from the Spanish word besos with an "s." Which means kisses. 

Another fun old word is brickbat. It's a word we usually hear in the context of the jabs traded between political adversaries. Brickbats were once actually pieces of brick, about half size, which one threw as a missile. They never were batted. Nor did bat the mammal enter into it. 

Later the word become synonymous with insults that folks  hurled at one another. "Hurled" the verb of choice when one sets brickbats into motion. One does not intone a brickbat and very rarely propels one. Nor does one usually simply throw a brickbat. You only hear of folks hurling brickbats at opponents.

Just hope you don't accidentally hit an electro-magnate's dongle.

America, ya gotta love it. 

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