Wednesdays, I explore the linguistic origins of the same word in different languages.
In the summer time, when the weather is warm…I am frequently too damn hot to eat dinner. Sometimes, half a kilo of strawberries is a meal, other times, I’ll grab a sorbet on the way home to cool myself off from the inside out.
Earlier this week, I had a scoop of citron for dinner, but it didn’t compare to the delicious cassis I used to get in Lyon after a hard ride on a sunny day.
Nothing beats cooling my brain off after sorting out a Word Mystery though (I tell myself in the hopes that it’ll be true).
EN → ice cream cone — an edible wafer container shaped like a cone in which ice cream is served. ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting an apex or vertex): from French cône, from Greek kōnos .
ES → cucurucho — Papel, cartón, barquillo, etc., arrollado en forma cónica, empleado para contener dulces, confites, helados, cosas menudas. [Paper, cardboard, wafer, etc. rolled in conical form, used to contain candies, pastries, ice cream or small things.] ORIGIN From an Italian dialect’s cucuruccio.
FR → cornet —Gaufrette conique que l’on garnit de glace. [Conical waffle which is filled with ice cream.] ORIGIN Diminutive of corne, this from Low Latin corna [cone, horn].
English note: the origin reminds me of a time during my ESL teaching days in Barcelona. Another teacher poked her head out of her classroom and asked if anyone knew another word for “top” to help her class complete an exercise. Without a moment’s hesitation, I said, “Tip, apex, peak, acme, zenith, summit, climax, pinnacle. Do any of those work?” Everyone around me was shocked, but they didn’t even realize the super-scary thing I’d done. As an avid crossword-puzzler, I’d listed the synonyms in ascending order of letters. My mind is a terrifying place, full of words and oddness.
Spanish note: Italian, eh? I guess ice cream came by boat to Spain. Figures. There aren’t any good native desserts there. (I think flan is yuck to the max.)
French note: this was a little bit of a cheat today since I was fairly certain going in that “cone” would have a French connection, but I make no apologies.
C’mon. Do you even have to ask who today’s winner is? Have you *tried* saying cucurucho out loud? If you do, I guarantee that it’ll be one of the best things that comes out of your mouth all day.