as(s)tronomy cites

Mullins, Bill Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Fri Dec 17 17:34:34 UTC 2004

Old Astronomy joke:

Saturn isn't the only planet with rings.  There are also rings around

Boy, those astronomers are a hoot.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Douglas G. Wilson [mailto:douglas at NB.NET]
> Sent: Friday, December 17, 2004 11:32 AM
> Subject: Re: as(s)tronomy cites
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: as(s)tronomy cites
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> -----------------
> >"anus" = "old woman" has a short /a/; "anus" = "rump"/"anus"
> has long /a:/.
> >They were as distinct to the Romans as "ass" = "donkey" and
> "arse" = "rump"
> >are to the English.
> That's what I was taught in my Latin class. But classical
> Latin (or even late Roman Empire vernacular) speech is not
> fully relevant here, since the English word is known only
> from 1562 or something like that, and the Latin of that time
> was largely a written language with local variations in
> pronunciation, and I think the spellings "anulus" and
> "annulus" may have been present already in medieval Latin
> texts. Anyway, the choice between "annus" and "anus" (each
> meaning something like "circle" at least
> sometimes) is more pertinent; I just included the "old woman"
> for completeness.
> -- Doug Wilson

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