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ETYMOLOGY OF WORDS 2

Updated on October 28, 2012
 

FROM NARCISSUS TO XANTIPPE

NARCISSUM

In Psychology, this refers to an early stage in human development, which is characterized by extreme concern with ‘self' with a total lack of concern for others. This word is derived from the Greek legend of Narcissus. He was a handsome youth who fell in love his reflection in a pool, which he mistook for a nymph. When he failed to possess his love, he took his own and life, and from the ground where his blood fell, sprang the flower that bears his name.

OLD NICK

Synonymous with Devil, this word is associated with Niccolo Machiavelli, a Florentine diplomat and author of the "THE PRINCE". His reputation during the 17 century was so bad due to his controversial book, that he was unjustly personified as the devil incarnate.

PARKINSON'S LAW

This is a pseudo scientific management theory formulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in 1958, on the basis of his study of business and government institutions. According to this ‘law' "work expands to fill the time available for its completion". An interesting corollary of this is "subordinates multiply at a fixed rate, regardless of the amount of work produced"

QUISLING

Synonym for traitor. This word originates from the name of Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian diplomat who aided the Germans in the invasion of his country. His name has ever since been connected with betraying one's own country.

SHRAPNEL

Shrapnel refers to fragments of bomb splinters. But originally it was the name of a shell invented by Lieutenant Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842)

UTOPIA

Coined by Sir Thomas More, this word originates from the Greek word ‘Ou' and ‘Topos'. Ou refers to ‘Not' and ‘Topos' place; which means ‘No where'. Sir Thomas More who formulated many socio political ideas in his book UTOPIA wanted to convey that they were just descriptions of an ideal state of human society which existed nowhere.

XANTIPPE

This word originates from the name of Socrates' wife Xantippe who was said to be a shrew.

C Northcote Parkinson
C Northcote Parkinson
Niccolo Machiaveli
Niccolo Machiaveli
Narcissus
Narcissus
Sir Thomas More
Sir Thomas More
Quisling
Quisling

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