The Crusader Online

April 17, 2009
Vol. 50 No. 21

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The Chaplain's Corner

As one who makes his living largely by arranging words, I am fascinated by etymology - the origin of words.
Some are funny. Take the town of Smackover, Arkansas, for example. When early French settlers observed the large number of sumac trees in the area, they called it "Sumac Couvert" - covered in sumac. This was later Anglicized to the considerably less elegant "Smackover."
Some are logical. The word "atonement" (great film, by the way, if you've not yet seen it) is simply the sum of at + one + ment = being "at one" with or reconciled to another.
Some set you to wondering: if those who speak English are Anglophones, were their forbears who spoke Saxon Saxophones?
Here's one for the end of the year: goodbye. We say it all the time, but for those about to conclude their Susquehanna University careers, I say it with all its original force and meaning. For "goodbye" comes from the Middle English "godbwye," which is itself a contraction of "God be with ye."
God be with ye, friends, till we meet again.

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