jsmithjamessmith at YAHOO.COM
Fri Mar 9 23:38:14 UTC 2001
--- AAllan at AOL.COM wrote:
> From (ahem!) _America in So Many Words_ by Barnhart
> & Metcalf (Houghton
> Mifflin, 1997 & 1999):
> 1786 Dime
> the names for the coins
> of the new nation. Among them was disme, based on
> the French word for
> "tenth," dixième. He suggested that disme be
> pronounced as if it were spelled
> deem. But the s was dropped by the Congress, and the
> adopted spelling dime
> suggested pronunciation in keeping with time and
> rime. . . .
The French pronounced "disme" with the "s" silent -
"deem" - in the late 17th century, and by the late
18th century had dropped the silent "s" from the
written word (this was common at this time with
numerous words that contained a silent "s") to make it
"dime", with a caret over the vowel preceding where
the now-missing "s" had been, to indicate it had been
there (why they persist in keeping track of all these
removed silent "s"s in this way I don't know.) In
French, "disme" and "dime" mean "tithe" and usage is
generally limited to this sense, but it could be
understood broadly as "a tenth".
James D. SMITH |If history teaches anything
SLC, UT |it is that we will be sued
jsmithjamessmith at yahoo.com |whether we act quickly and decisively
|or slowly and cautiously.
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