Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Any wisdom? from Sophie

Dear Word Spy,

Lately I have been looking into the meaning of peoples names. Mine means wisdom. I wonder what yours means? I never thought about people's names being words before. Now whenever someone says, 'hey Sophie' I immediately think they're saying, 'hey wisdom'.

I also started spying on the word kayak. It originates from the word qayaq, meaning small boat of skins. I just can't find out where the word came from.

Can you help me?
Your friend

Sophie (wisdom)

Dear Sophie,

How excellent to have a name that means Wisdom! The name "Ursula" (the name of the author of "The Word Spy") means "little girl bear cub" in Latin. I suppose a bear cub might be wise, but perhaps more likely to be sleepy and hungry.

That's very interesting about the word "kayak" (aha! a palindrome). My spying finds that it most likely comes from a word in Eskimo language, which makes sense, as they did make their little boats out of skins. (I wonder if they were bear skins?)

Thanks for the message, Wisdom! um I mean Sophie!

yours, cubbishly,

The Word Spy

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