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 --- John Cowan <[log in to unmask]> skrev:
> Ray Brown scripsit:

> > It ought to have given French *pouf, but it
> didn't. The French has
> > changed gender and is _la pieuvre_ and I don't
> know the etymology.
>
> The online Tresor de la langue francaise at
> http://atilf.atilf.fr/tlfv3.htm lists both _pieuvre_
> (f.) and _poulpe_
> (m.); though the latter is labeled "syn. cour.
> pieuvre', it is cited as
> recently as 1929.  16th-century forms _poupe_ and
> _pourpe_ are cited,
> so this may be a semi-learned form.
>
My etymological dictionnary says for "pieuvre": 1866,
Hugo, dialectal form from the Channel Islands; from
Latin polypus, through stages 'pueuve', 'pieuve' (like
'yeux'), et with 'r' due to a false regression.

So it seems that Victor Hugo introduced the word in
French (in his book Les Travailleurs de la Mer, I
guess, where he describes an horrible and gigantic
octopus that probably never existed anywhere).
'Poulpe' is used too.

> Ray Brown (I think) declared:

>Ouch! I assume "hoodla" is intentionally humorous or
facetious - that one's amusing. But 'agendae' - ach y
fi! A plural of a plural! How long  before
we meet "datae"?

We already write "mass medias" in French (and say
"bliniss", as I mentioned earlier). I don't know what
is or are hoodla, but I recall that for a long time, I
used to say "une agenda", until some charitable soul
told me that I should say "un agenda" (and why should
I say so, if it is a neutral plural ? It should be
"des agenda", or "des agendas" ?) Anyway, it just
sounds rather weird to have to say "un" with an ending
in -a, whatever the etymology. Just as it sounds weird
to have to tell a brave, strong and fierce young man
in uniform: "C'est vous la sentinelle ?" (are you the
sentry? fem.)

The word "pouf" exists in French, but it has nothing
to do with octopuses. It's a kind of soft seat and the
names seems to come from the noise you make when you
let your backside fall onto it.





=====
Philippe Caquant


Ceterum censeo *vi* esse oblitterandum (Me).