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aostling
10-31-2009, 01:26 AM
I don't often consult my Oxford English Dictionary, because I have the microprint edition. It condenses all twenty volumes into a single volume which requires a powerful loupe to read. Each page of the microprint edition contains nine pages of the full-size edition, in a 3x3 array.

But I was looking up a word in the OED today, and realized that I'd never looked up the entry for lathe. So I zeroed in on it. Turns out the word comes to us from Danish, and Old Norse. I guess it's fitting that Thomas Staubo was given a free Myford, as sort of a testimonial to his Viking ancestry.

The OED is a dictionary based on historical principles, citing the history of the entry word in print. (note: many of the abbreviations are esoteric; sb. denotes substantive, which means a noun).



http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/OEDlathe.jpg

Paul Alciatore
10-31-2009, 02:49 AM
Interesting that the basic idea is that of a support or supporting device. It supports the work as it is turned. This seems to relate it to the word "lath" as in the wood lath used to support plaster in an old fashoned plaster wall.

Dr. Rob
10-31-2009, 08:00 AM
...and swarf happens to relate nicely to svarv (V,W and F all being fundamentally the same letter. By coincidence I met a phoneticist at a party last night) which happens to be the Swedish word for lathe.

John Stevenson
10-31-2009, 08:11 AM
The first bit says it all "Of obscure history " which means any guesses and opinions are just that.

.

Evan
10-31-2009, 08:37 AM
The first bit says it all "Of obscure history " which means any guesses and opinions are just that.


The OED doesn't guess. They do provide extremely well informed opinions.

John Stevenson
10-31-2009, 08:57 AM
The OED doesn't guess. They do provide extremely well informed opinions.

Precisely, so if they don't know then the origin is lost. By guesses and opinions I meant any we make, not the OED, soory if I didn't make this clear.

If they knew the origin they would reference to it, no firm reference hence the obscure history remark.

Evan
10-31-2009, 09:10 AM
A note on the pronunciation of the Danish word Lad; It isn't pronounced as "lad" in English but but closer to ladth. It contains a phoneme that English does not so unless you speak Danish it is very difficult to pronounce correctly.

Peter S
10-31-2009, 09:13 AM
For those who like good (true) stories, try The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester. Intergral with the story is how the Oxford English Dictionary was (is) compiled - I can assure you it is much more interesting than it sounds. Compilers of the Dictionary were basically ordinary people from all over who read, alot, and made notes of where certain words were found and how they were used, so every word can be dated back to where it first appears in print, with its meaning. The Surgeon in question was Dr W.C. Minor, an American murderer locked in a lunatic asylum in England who worked from his cell to become one of the OEDs most important compilers.

Simon Winchester later also wrote The Meaning of Everything; The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Dr. Rob
10-31-2009, 09:23 AM
For those who like good (true) stories, try The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester. The Surgeon in question was Dr W.C. Minor, an American murderer locked in a lunatic asylum in England who worked from his cell to become one of the OEDs most important compilers.

Simon Winchester later also wrote The Meaning of Everything; The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary.

I have one of those. Fascinating. Equally fascinating is that the two corresponded by post for years and years, and the editor just didn't understand why that Dr Minor fellow never seemed to have time to get together with him...

.

aostling
10-31-2009, 11:10 AM
The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester.

This book or the one following it may have been issued under a different title in North America, as The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. http://www.amazon.com/Professor-Madman-Insanity-English-Dictionary/dp/0060839783/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_a

As you say it is a very good read, and it is what motivated me to get a copy of the OED.

Peter S
10-31-2009, 09:01 PM
I am no doubt stating an obvious fact to many readers here, but lets not forget that the lathe was already an ancient and well-established machine for probably a couple of thousand years before the English language existed.

aostling
10-31-2009, 09:45 PM
.. lets not forget that the lathe was already an ancient and well-established machine for probably a couple of thousand years before the English language existed.


Simon Winchester wrote about that too, in his The Man Who Loved China http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Loved-China-Fantastic/dp/0060884614/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1257035928&sr=1-1. This book tells the story of Joseph Needham, a scholar who wrote a multi-volume treatise on the history of Chinese technology. One of Needham's volumes (which I found in the ASU library) discusses the lathe. It is not certain that the Chinese had them before the Egyptians, but either way lathes have existed for thousands of years, as you say.

aboard_epsilon
10-31-2009, 10:56 PM
and I'm grateful not everyone can spell the word

Got me an excellent model A "southbury Laith " :D

BTW...if you are looking for a small boat.

there are always a couple of good "yatchs" or "yotes" on ebay at least every couple of months.

all the best.mark

aostling
11-01-2009, 01:48 PM
and I'm grateful not everyone can spell the word


The first time I traveled around Wales I was taken aback by the bilingual signs saying EXIT ALLAN. Was I being ordered out of the country?

I think a Welshman should be able to spell anything in English, his own language being so much more difficult.

Evan
11-01-2009, 02:35 PM
It seems that in Germany every second town is named "Ausfahrt"... :D

http://ixian.ca/pics6/ausfahrt.jpg