OT: dog days and vacations

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 20 02:04:33 UTC 2012

An interesting tidbit that came up thanks to the OEDWOTD. Today's "word"
was "dog day" (still sounds strange when OED entries turn normal plural
forms into singular--the search feature, at least, should be fixed to
reflect both). Here's the given etymology:

> Etymology: < dog n.1 + day n., after post-classical Latin caniculares
> dies dog days (see canicular adj.), itself after Hellenistic Greek
> κυνάδες ἡμέραι. Compare earlier canicular days n at canicular adj. 1.

Now, here's a fun fact. Russian word for school vacation is "kanikuly",
with rather unmistakable origin. Note that this is for /school/
vacation. Vacation trips are something else entirely and vacation for
employees is "otpusk", which literally is the noun form for "let go"
(the condition of "being allowed to leave"), also related to the word
for forgiveness (of sin)--"otpushchenie [grekhov]". Note that the
Russian "kanikuly" is in no way limited to the summer months.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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