And while we're on the subject....

Joseph McCollum prez234 at JUNO.COM
Mon Jan 22 12:57:13 UTC 2001

>2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?

The original terms derive from Latin, which were:

pars minuta prima -- "the first little part" of an hour
pars minuta secunda -- "the second little part" of an hour.

Of course the second hand is not the 2nd hand, but the hand that marks
Now why didn't they say the hour was the first little part of the day and
the minute was
the second little part of the day and the second was the third little
part of the day -- and
is 'day' 24 hours or the time from dawn until dusk?

>14. Why do 'overlook and 'oversee' mean opposite things? boss is supposed to oversee my work, but I think he usually does
the former.  Also, consider 'look over' and 'overlook.'


It's from the Greek words, porne', "prostitute" and graphein, "to write."
 Was it Pat Buchanan who called politicians who supported NAFTA "Trade
Whores?"  If we stretch the metaphor, it was Pat who was being
pornographic, not the supporters of NAFTA.  I've noticed the same thing
happening to "cynical" -- a cynic is one who believes that others are
selfish, but many people are using "cynical" as a synonym of  "selfish."

I have not heard or seen the word used in the way James Smith cites, but
I do find the citations bothersome.

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