Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Amitav Ghosh read at Kepler's tonight. Sea of Poppies sounds like a swashbuckling, and literary, adventure. The excerpts that he read were intriguing. But what really, really delighted me was when he started discussing the permeability and elasticity of English in the 19th century. He told us that "seersucker" comes from a Hindi word, "sirsakar," which comes from the Persian "shiroshakar".

And because I am an absolute geek about etymology, this made me very happy.


lnaturale said...

Oh, cool.

I had a professor who insisted that "flirt" comes from women in hoop skirts tilting the hoop to expose their ankles to Very Special people (flirt = 'tip,' so they flirted their skirts), but I have yet to find documentation supporting this...hmm....

Megan Kurashige said...


I like the idea of a professor with a very strong opinion on the origin of the word "flirt."

Ghosh also mentioned "dungarees" and a rather thin explanation for the phrase "no can do," but I was already in transports of excitement over "seersucker," so I didn't quite take them in.