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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Of Nosh and Gnomes 

After an extended series of midmorning snacks by the girls — apples and peanut butter, olive bread with butter, and I'm not really sure what else — Evelin made the comment that with all that noshing they'd probably wouldn't want lunch.

A little time passes, then Celeste pipes up: "Is nosh spelled with an n or a g?"

I told her it was with an "n", explaining that it came from Yiddish, which lead to a bit of investigation to figure out that it would be written נָאשׁ, if we were using the Hebrew alphabet.

I also made a mistake in telling her that the word came to English via German, which was completely wrong. It actually comes from New Latin gnomus via French. Probably it was coined from the Greek γηνωμη ("earth-dweller"), but γνωσις ("knowledge") is also suggested.

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