Posts Tagged ‘nutmeg’

Pine – from the Latin pinus = tree sap
1. Evergreens with needles and cones

or from the Greek poine = payment or punishment
2. Suffer intense longing or yearning
3. To wither through longing or grief

Besides the classical metaphor using the evergreen as an image for eternal life, I think of the richness behind pine in the season of advent, when we are told several of the characters in the nativity story (particularly in Luke’s account) were waiting expectantly for the coming of Immanuel.

Clove – from the Latin clou = nail
1. An East Indian evergreen tree
2. Spice made from dried flower buds of that tree
3. Small section of separable bulb, as garlic
4. Past tense of cleave, as in to split
5. Past tense of cleave, as in to cling

The tree buds are close together, as yet unfurled, when harvested and dried to make the spice, which tends to be ground, separated into tiny pieces to flavor our holiday feasts.  It reminds me of the Body of Christ, which is the people of God gathered together in one, but bought by the brokenness of Christ’s physical body.  Also, for this reason a man shall cleave from his mother and father and cleave to his wife.  And finally, the Israelites were not allowed to eat animals whose hooves were not cloven (which means split).  It is also good to know the third definition when reading recipes; making a soup with a whole bulb of garlic rather than a whole clove is quite a difference.
Nutmeg – from Latin nuce muscata = musky nut
1. Evergreen from the East Indies
2. The hard, aromatic seed of the tree
3. Spice made from the ground seed of the tree
Mace – from Greek makir = the Indian spice
1. spice made from the covering of the kernel of a nutmeg
or from the Latin mateola = rod, club
2. heavy medieval war club with spiked head used to crush armor
3. a ceremonial staff borne as a symbol of authority of a legislative body
Though the etymologies are completely different, the spice called mace shares a name with the rod or club.  And the Messiah was prophesied to be a ruler, represented by a rod, whose government would be just and bring peace.
Cinnamon – from the Hebrew quinnamown = name for the tree
1. Tree from tropical Asia with fragrant bark
2. A spice made from grinding the tree’s bark
So many of these spices are made from crushing the coverings, either of the living tree or of the seed.  When Jesus was crushed, it brought us life.  He, the seed of Eve and of Abraham and of David, is our covering, our atonement for sin, and when God looks at His people He sees the fragrant righteousness of Christ.
Eggnog – from egg a derivative of the Indo-European root awi- = bird, and nog- (in the sense of ale) origin unknown
1. Drink consisting of milk and beaten eggs, often mixed with rum, brandy, or wine
I absolutely love finding a word whose origin we still cannot determine.
Ale – from Indo-European root alu- = related to sorcery, magic, possession, and intoxication
1. Fermented alcoholic drink made from hops and malt, and heavier than beer
Given the Bible’s take on sorcery and on intoxication, I found this a fascinating root for a drink almost the equivalent of beer.  (The root is also found, for example, in the word hallucination.)
Gander – from Indo-European root ghans- = goose
1. Male goose
2. Half-wit, simpleton
Partridge – from Indo-European root perd- = to fart (from the sound made when a partridge is flushed…  see video)
1. Old-world plump game bird, similar to grouse or bob-white
That bird sitting atop the pear tree, his name has an interesting root.  And there’s just no good way to explain…
Twelve – from Indo-European roots twa- = two, and leikw- = leave or lend (“left over from ten”)
1. The number represented by 12 or Roman  numerals XII
For a mathematical system somewhat based on 12, isn’t it interesting that the word is just an earlier and, compared to the counting ten-based system reflected in the teens and further numbers, more mathematical word for ten and two?  I don’t know how you learned math, but I definitely learned about “borrowing” from the tens’ column in subtraction.
All definitions, etymologies, and roots summarized from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New College Edition © 1976 unless otherwise linked.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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