EtymologiesPieced Work began as a compendium of etymologies – the histories of interesting words (to this writer at least) found while doing book research.
Text means ‘the wording of anything written’. It comes from the Latin texere, ‘to weave’ – from which we also get the word texture. One of my favourite books on the connection between writing stories and making cloth is by Isabella Ducrot: Text on Textile, a meditation on fabric, myth, and story.
“Whenever we say ‘to lose the thread of an argument’, or ‘to weave a story’, we imply that the thread is continuous and irreversible, and that it upholds the meaning of what we say. In textile terms, this continuity is more a quality of the weft than of the warp. It is also true that when we say ‘the thread of a story’ (or in Italian, the trama, meaning both ‘plot’ and ‘weft’), the word ‘thread’ expands its meaning metonymically and refers to more than a single element: it refers to the very structure of the story; or, we could say, to its texture.”
– Isabella Ducrot
In weaving, the weft thread holds the warp threads together – breaking it breaks apart the fabric. Writers are weavers, and recyclers: binding words together to create a story, retelling as they go.
The archive is below.
An aubade is a piece of music for the morning (and traditionally the open air), or a morning love song, as opposed to a serenade, a love song for the evening. From Occitan aubada, auba – ‘dawn’, from Latin alba, ‘white’.
Belonging to the World
The words map and mundane come from Latin mundus, ‘universe, world’. Mundane literally means, ‘belonging to the world’. Map is a shortening of the Medieval Latin mappa mundi, or cloth of the universe (mappa, cloth, on which a map might be drawn + mundi, from mundus). Mundus comes from a Greek to Latin translation of the word kosmos, which has various meanings, including: to establish good order, to arrange; to decorate, to adorn (especially in reference to women’s clothing). Pythagoras applied kosmos to mean ‘the firmament’ and this use was expanded to mean ‘the universe’.