Trending words.



That's at Etymonoline (where I was just checking whether commenters, here, were doing folk etymology on the word "window").

I guess all those words were of interest because of coronavirus. A lot of people may be wondering if "pandemic" (not on the list) has something to do with "pandemonium" (#5 on the list):
1667, Pandæmonium, in "Paradise Lost" the name of the palace built in the middle of Hell, "the high capital of Satan and all his peers," and the abode of all the demons; coined by John Milton (1608-1674) from Greek pan- "all" (see pan-) + Late Latin daemonium "evil spirit," from Greek daimonion "inferior divine power," from daimōn "lesser god" (see demon).

Transferred sense "place of uproar and disorder" is from 1779; that of "wild, lawless confusion" is from 1865.
I can see why people are looking for "draconian," "hunker," and "curfew." These all seem coronavirus-related. But what's up with "subcontract"? A Google news search produces "Contracts, the law and coronavirus" (Washington Technology):
Disruption to the supply chain especially for IT products, many of the basic components of which come from China, could cause substantial backorders and long delays in meeting government delivery deadlines.... Most commercial contracts do contain a force majeure clause that excuses delay. Those same clauses, however, may or may not have the same protections as in prime contracts. Subcontracts also may not prohibit prime contractors from seeking goods and services elsewhere if a subcontractor cannot fulfill their obligations....
Force majeure! Obviously, that's what we've got.

I thought "palpate" was odd, but I see it in "Coronavirus: Virtual medical visits more prevalent as COVID-19 infections continue to spread" and now it makes perfect sense. Why do you need to see a doctor in person? When is a virtual visit enough? A doctor says to the patient, "Just want you to palpate your neck there for me... Any tenderness? Any lymph nodes?"

ADDED: I suspect that many people — especially with time on their hands and the internet at their disposal — wonder what it really means to "hunker" down? What exactly do you do when you hunker down? Are we crouching and squatting? Does it have to do with haunches... whatever haunches are...? Do I need a hunk to do it? I would like a hunk to do it... So many things to think about.

AND: Speaking of thinking about things... A "haunch" is "a buttock and thigh considered together." I'll consider a buttock and a thigh at the same time. Is it one thing or 2 things? There's a philosophical question for you. If you believe the buttock and thigh are a single thing, then "haunch" is your word. You're a haunchist. That doesn't mean you tend to see things as unified rather than distinct. It has more to do with whether you see the distinctions on a horizontal or a vertical plane.

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