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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Maroon Vs Maroon

Quite naturally, newspapers these days have been full of the word "maroon" when referring to Mumbai.

Which made one wonder whether there was any connection between the two meanings of the word: the colour maroon, and the "help-I'm-stranded!" maroon.

The always-engaging Word Detective came to one's assistance:

"There is no logical connection between the two words, which have entirely different origins and just happen to look and sound alike.

"...both words have, shall we say, colorful histories. 'Maroon' the color comes from the Italian 'marrone,' a large chestnut of Southern Europe, which is, presumably, maroon.

"The other 'maroon' comes from the Spanish word 'cimarron,' meaning wild or untamed. 'Maroons' were originally runaway slaves in the West Indies who, having escaped their bondage, fled into the forests and mountains of the islands to live. The nefarious practice of 17th century pirates and buccaneers abandoning their captives on deserted islands also became known as 'marooning.' .... 'Marooned' eventually came to mean simply 'lost in the wilds.' Today, we use it as a metaphor for anything from being stranded with car trouble to the outcome of a bad blind date."

Or for the experience of living in a city which, they tell us, is to be the next Shanghai.

2 Comments:

  • Shanghai? Cameroon (pronounced...yeah,wellll!) would be more apt what?

    By Anonymous OB4P, at 4:18 PM  

  • But of course :)

    By Blogger PrufrockTwo, at 8:48 AM  

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