Greta was quick to respond after my last post.
With a question.
She first needed to know which part of speech Johnny was referring to. I asked him to refine his question.
Me: “Greta wants to know what kind of squash you are talking about.”
Johnny: “You know, the thing that is a squash and the thing you squash.”
Read more closely, he is asking about the noun squash in the first instance. And the verb squash in the second.
Greta referred me to the website of the Oxford English Dictionary, which claims to tell the story of the English language with over 600,000 words from over 1,000 years. As a college student, she has a subscription to it. There is a betting chance that she is the only person on campus to actually know that.
Thankfully, it traced the origins of Johnny’s new favorite word. Greta sent screen shots for me to share here.
Squash, the noun, is native American in origin, specifically attributed to the Narragansett tribe. While that’s interesting, the quotations incorporating the word are about as exciting as the gourd itself.
Squash, the verb, is originally Latin, then French/Italian. And the sentences are far more entertaining, especially to action-packed Johnny.
Greta confessed that she has loved this website since high school. She geeked out about the answer to Johnny’s question and managed to be fascinated that a word with such disparate origins somehow has the same pronunciation today. As she told me all this, I was trying to figure out what time the men’s basketball game started tonight and place an order for Chick-fil-A.
While I do not share her linguistic interest, it did confirm that my strategic suggestion to contact her was inspired.
‘”There have indeed been..men who have piled such a load of books on their heads, their brains have seemed to be squasht by them.”
Perhaps I need to load a few more books on my head.