Tuesday, October 11, 2005


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.


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