Every Wednesday, I explore the linguistic origins of one word in different languages.
Thinking of my Consistency Rule led me to critically consider the things I don’t eat. Most fall under the subheading Slimy with a cross-reference to both Icky and Gross. Things like oysters, mussels, squid, octopus, cockles, clams, snails. These are all things I’ve eaten at least once as a child and as an adult and, until recently, I would have told you that thing they have in common is that I Do Not Like Them One Bit.
But it turns out that they’re all mollusks, so I can now say I don’t eat mollusks instead of saying I only eat some shellfish (scallops, shrimp, crab, etc. are okay).
I can also say that the only creatures I was ever intentionally mean to were mollusks since I used to sprinkle salt on slugs on my grandparents’ farm and watch them squirm. In my defense, I did this because slugs are the most disgusting things in the world and if you’re a stupid tomboy who runs around in the wild and happens to come into contact with one, you will have their nasty slime all over you for hours and then someone will literally take a rock with soap on it to your skin to scrub it off and it will hurt like hell and you’ll wish all the damn slugs in the world were dead because you’re raw all over and pissed. When this happens to you regularly, you start to take matters into your own hands, preemptively destroying all potential slime-inflicters before they get you.
EN → slug — a tough-skinned terrestrial mollusk that typically lacks a shell and secretes a film of mucus for protection. ORIGIN probably from Norwegian dialect slugg [large heavy body].
ES → babosa — Molusco gasterópodo pulmonado, terrestre, sin concha, que cuando se arrastra deja como huella de su paso una abundante baba. [Shell-less terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk which, when it drags itself, leaves a trail of abundant slime.] ORIGIN Noun/adjective form of baba [drool, slobber] from Latin baba.
FR → limace — Mollusque terrestre sans coquille. [Terrestrial mollusk without a shell.] ORIGIN Common Latin limacea from Classic Latin limus, both meaning “snail; slug.”
I like that the French definition is totally dismissive, like they don’t even deserve to be in a dictionary. Je suis d’accord, but the win goes to Spanish in honor of all the babosas I killed. (Still not sorry about it.)
*In care you’re confused (which you probably should be)
There was NO WAY I was going to put a picture of a slug on my blog. I couldn’t even make it through the Wikipedia entry about them to see what the hell is up with their nasty, nasty slobber so I decided that I’d rather have a post with a REN & STIMPY reference since that makes me happy.