Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Here’s some eggcornish etymology. I was reading a “loo book” (Schott’s Miscellany, and yes that’s where I was at the time) ) which contained lists of words borrowed from different languages. It mentioned “compound” as coming from Malay. You might immediately think (as I did), ‘Hang on, “compound” is something to do with “compose” and “component”, surely’.
Let an online etymological dictionary decide:
“to put together,” late 14c., compounen “to mix, combine,” from O.Fr. compon(d)re “arrange, direct,” from L. componere “to put together” (see composite). The -d appeared 1500s on model of expound, etc. The adj. is late 14c., originally compouned, pp. of compounen. Compound eye is attested from 1836; compound sentence is from 1772. The noun meaning “a compound thing” is from mid-15c.
1670s, via Dutch (kampoeng) or Portuguese, from Malay kampong “village, group of buildings.” Spelling influenced by compound (v.). Originally, “the enclosure for a factory or settlement of Europeans in the East,” later used of S.African diamond miners’ camps (1893), then of large fenced-in spaces generally (1946).
If this web-site had been around at the end of the 17th century you might have asked“How then, Sirra, may the Semantics of this Barbarism be Iustisfyed?” “Why Sir, because in these Near Fortresses the Promiscuous Mixing of Classes and Stations, without due regard to the Rank of each Person, may be likened to an Alkemical Admixture of Several Materials”.
“Have you, Don Juan, perchance over-partaken of the Fruits of the VIne and its Ardent Spirits?
“That Conclusion is not out of the Question by Any Means”
Last edited by JuanTwoThree (2012-01-08 10:52:03)
Your “Folke Etymologie” seems plausible. The two nouns, compound=mixture and compound=enclosure, have probably been compounding with each other for four hundred years.
Last edited by kem (2013-11-13 17:51:40)
Interesting post, JuanTwoThree! I was aware of the derivation of the noun “compound” from “kampong”, but hadn’t realized that the verb “compound” had a different derivation from a different language. Your speculation about the meaning of the verb “compound” influencing the evolution of “kampong” into “compound” is very plausible and, if true, surely is an eggcornical process. If it really happened that way, could we not say that at one point “compound” (the noun) was an eggcorn for “kampong”, ultimately becoming standard and supplanting the acorn?