That which passed in 2019….

An Icelandic runestaff called Vegvísir, which is a magic stave for guiding one through stormy weather. The three runes are left to right: wunjo ‘joy,’ perthro ‘initiation,’ and jera ‘year, harvest.’ May you find your ways through the storms of 2020 to a harvest of joy!

Happy New Year, everyone! As 2019 goes by and another sun cycle begins, I wanted to thank you all for spending some of the precious time allotted you in this life reading my blog.  I appreciate the love and support, and hope that I’ve been able to provide you with some real knowledge paired with entertaining speculations. I started Words are Wyrd in September of 2019 and have written 10 posts.  Here’s a retrospective of those posts, in order of publication. I think if you read them in order you might begin to discern a theme emerging. I wasn’t aware that this theme would emerge when I began the blog, but looking back on it, to quote Nate Diaz, “I’m not surprised, mother-fuckers!” Can you tease that theme out?

Naturally, a blog about etymology has to begin with an etymology of the word etymology, which I kicked off in

wherein I make the case for knowing a word’s etymology and give a very brief history of the English language. I also link to a video that explains what Indo-European is and the post is worth that video, I think.  In

I go through the word’s history, explain how to read an etymology entry by writing out in plain English what the dictionary shorthand in those entries is saying.  I hope this encourages people to make more use of those etymology entries in their dictionaries. In

I go through a fun, speculative exercise I like to do once I understand a word’s history.  What ideas or synchronicities present themselves? And how can those be used to come up with novel theories, definitions, and/or conclusions?

Speaking of novel theories and speculations, in the post entitled:

I follow a stream of consciousness tangent suggested to me by the surprising common Indo-European root of the words Logos, logic and leech, which brought to mind an article I once read called The Executable Dreamtime written by Mark Pesce. He based the thesis of that article on William S. Burroughs’ famous quip that “language is a virus.” There is some Ambrose Bierce-style satire involved as well.

Is an offshoot inspired by the discoveries made in Etymology, not Entomolgy Parts 1. – 3. We examine the etymologies of the words druid and true and find another surprising (but not really) ancestor for these two words.

begins a line of exploration about a subject I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Orcs. Yes, orcs, and the seemingly strange relationship between those grunting foot soldiers of fantasy dark lords everywhere and the mother of all demons, Lilith. 

Next, I set that particular mystery aside for the moment to examine the etymology of the word philosophy, a strain of thought arising from our examination of the words true and druid in the first part of a series entitled:

I drop the literary frames of Shakespeare theatre and Socratic dialogue in

to relate the wyrd synchro-mystic experience I had surrounding the recent death of my father.  I also go very briefly into the etymology of a place name, Bristol, and explain how that fits in with my liminal encounter with my father. 


I return to the subject of orcs.  But this being the season, I also examine that old monster of Christmas drear, Krampus to try to discern what orcs and krampuses may have in common, etymologically speaking, with whales.  And finally, speaking of whales, in

I write the first tale in my new series #motherfuckingmythology wherein I retell that famous and most popular of children’s Bible stories in what I like to call California Urban Vernacular English. I have fun with a phenomenon known to linguists as “code-switching.”

To end 2019 and inaugurate 2020, I’ll leave you with the etymology of the word:

year n. [ME. yere < OE. gear, akin to G. jahr < IE. *yero-, year, summer (whence Gr. horos, time, year OBulg. jara, spring) < base *ei-, to go (whence L. ire, to go): basic sense “that which passes”]

–Websters New World Dictionary of the American Language, (c) 1980

Are you all able to decode the shorthand of an etymology entry yet? Give it a try?

May that which passes bring you novelty and joy!