Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dualetymoly?

Today's featured article on the dorkdar is none other than the notorious Wario.

Perhaps not all that interesting on its on, but this caught my eye:

The name "Wario" can be taken to be a blending of Mario's name with the Japanese adjective warui meaning "bad"; hence, a "bad Mario". In the United States, the name is often seen as a play on the word "war" and on the fact that the letter W resembles an upside-down M. As Wario is Mario's evil counterpart, his actions are often the opposites of Mario's, just as the first letters in their names appear to be opposites.

Is there a name for when a word or idea derives one meaning from two distinct origins like that? If not, there should be. I suggest Semantic Overlap or maybe Dualetymoly. For me, it cements an idea into place, justifying its existence in a way.

I've been racking my brain for other examples, and here's the first thing I could think of, though it doesn't totally work:

My family is a Subaru family. We currently own two Legacy wagons and one Forester, and have probably owned about six or seven over the last ten years. As it was the car I spent most of my high school and college years driving around in, I can't deny a stupid, sentimental loyalty to the brand.

Hey! Didn't you know? I was really into astronomy when I was younger (and actually lived in a place where you could see the stars). One of my favorite constellations was Taurus. The constellation itself is kinda lame, but I liked it because it houses the Pleiades - an exceptionally bright star cluster whose midnight zenith may have contributed to Halloween (and some wacky Mayan stuff too). Pretty cool.

Anyway, a couple of years ago I was reading some book that listed stars and their names in other languages. I scanned for the Pleiades and - wouldn't you know it - in Japanese, it's called Subaru. Then I looked at the front of my car, and nearly peed my pants with semantically overlapping excitement as my brand loyalty leapt to an entirely new level.

2 comments:

kathy said...

wow. that is AWESOME. how would i have ever discovered that without you, chris?

- another big subaru (the car) /pleiades (the stars) fan

Neal K said...

The Google PageRank.

Each webpage is assigned a pagerank. Which sounds obvious. But it's actually named for Larry Page, one of the two founders of Google that developed the ranking algorithm