Thursday, June 30, 2005

And so it began...

In case you were wondering, (we know you weren't) we thought we'd explore the root meaning and history of the words that comprise our illustrious name "eEvil Ink Design." Yes, sometimes etymology sure beats workin' after lunch.

O.E. yfel (Kentish evel) "bad, vicious," from P.Gmc. *ubilaz (cf. O.Saxon ubil, Goth. ubils), from PIE *upelo-, giving the word an original sense of "uppity, overreaching bounds" which slowly worsened. "In OE., as in all the other early Teut. langs., exc. Scandinavian, this word is the most comprehensive adjectival expression of disapproval, dislike or disparagement" [OED]. Evil was the word the Anglo-Saxons used where we would use bad, cruel, unskillful, defective (adj.), or harm, crime, misfortune, disease. The meaning "extreme moral wickedness" was in O.E., but did not become the main sense until 18c. Evil eye (L. oculus malus) was O.E. eage yfel.

"the black liquor with which men write" [Johnson], c.1250, from O.Fr. enque "dark writing fluid," from L.L. encaustum, from Gk. enkauston "purple or red ink," used by the Roman emperors to sign documents, originally a neut. adj. form of enkaustos "burned in," from stem of enkaiein "to burn in," from en- "in" + kaiein "to burn" (see caustic). The word is from a Gk. method of applying colored wax and fixing it with heat. The verb meaning "to mark or stain in ink" is from 1562. Inky "as black as ink" is attested from 1593.

1548, from L. designare "mark out, devise," from de- "out" + signare "to mark," from signum "a mark, sign." Originally in Eng. with the meaning now attached to designate (1646, from L. designatus, pp. of designare); many modern uses of design are metaphoric extensions. Designer (adj.) in the fashion sense of "prestigious" is first recorded 1966; designer drug is from 1983. Designing "scheming" is from 1671. Designated hitter introduced in American League baseball in 1973, soon giving wide figurative extension to designated.

So basically, we've got your "extreme moral wickedness" "marked out" in "the black liquor with which men write." So there. Don't say we never taught you nuthin'.

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