Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Names within names

1. Via Sarah Duff, the Guardian's "name a species" contest winners. They are all very good; to my mind the "zipperback" (below) is really the best name of the lot, though it is difficult to argue with the "Neptune's heart sea-squirt."

Some of the Latin names are a tall order to match, let alone improve on; e.g. the wonderful Nymphon gracile for a particularly gangly sea-spider. (Adj. via the winning entry.)

2. Nancy Friedman has a rather astonishing post about "being followed by Hiscox":
So why was I giggling?

Hiscox Corporate - link to homepage

Well, wouldn’t you?
I’ll try to keep a straight face just long enough to explain that Hiscox is the surname of the company’s founder, Ralph Hiscox, and of its current president, the splendidly named Robert Ralph Scrymgeour Hiscox. It’s a very old surname, if this genealogy site is to be trusted (and it pays to be skeptical about most online genealogy sites)—as in Norman Conquest old. It’s derived, I learned, from Hitch, “a pet form of the name Richard,” and cock, “a medieval form of endearment” (hmm).
To sum up: a variation on Dick Cocks.
Oh, and “Scrymgeour”? It’s pronounced skrɪm-dʒər, according to this site. Wikipedia says the name is “believed to derive from the Old English word ‘skrymsher’ which means ‘swordsman’.”
Swordsman Hiscox. Ladies and gentlemen, I could not make this stuff up.
And it only gets better, at least if your brain works the way mine does. [...]
(NF's blog is called "Fritinancy," which -- as the variant "fritiniency" -- might have made my list of favorite words had I thought of it.)

Addendum For Hitch = Richard, see also Hodge = Roger.

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