Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Greek - It's Not All About Yoghurt.

For some reason today, I thought of an old computer game I used to have many years ago. It was called "Chariot Races" and (as the name suggests) was a Chariot racing game. The screen scrolled down vertically, and you had to push your oppoenent into the path of slower moving chariots whilst avoiding having the same done to you. The more chariots you made crash, the faster you went. There were no levels, just a continuous game where you tried to beat your high score.
Anyway, it was the words in the two top corners of the picture that made me think of this game. "Sinister" and "Dexter", were the words used for "Left" and "Right" - maybe not the exact words, by they evolved from the Greek words for left and right.
As you know, the modern definition of the word Sinister is "Threatening or portending evil, harm, or trouble." and this is because when the Greeks were observing Omens, they would face North and anything that came from the left as they were facing North was considered a bad omen, and unlucky. Through the ages the left became associated with bad luck, ill-fate, and unwanted happenings, and that is why the word Sinister today means what is does. The Flip side of this, is the word "Dexter" - from which we get the word Dexterity which is defined as "skill or adroitness in the hand or body". It is a good thing, if you have dexterity it is considered good. Again, this goes back to the Greeks observing Omens. If a bird flew over from the right, it was considered a good omen. So the right side or Dexter was associated with good things. If you think of the word "Ambidextrous" - it basically means good with both hands.

And now you know where "Sinister" and "Dexterity" originate from.

I briefly today thought of something really funny to talk about in my blog today - but would you believe that as quickly as it came to me, it went again. I've tried to remember what it was about, but I've lost it. It was really funny - you'll just have to take my word for it.

Right, I've got a bag to pack and lists to write in preparation for my Scotland trip. I may not be able to post a blog entry for a while, but in the words of the Terminator:

I'll be back.

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