Since I went shopping at the Arsenal Mall today, I became curious if there was any relationship between “arse” (and consequently “ass”) and “arsenal”. I suspected that it was just a chance similarity, which turns out to be the case.

“arse” comes from Old English “ærs”, which is from Germanic. “arsenal” comes from Arabic “dār-aṣ-ṣinā‛a” via Italian “arzanale”. The literal translation of the Arabic is “house of industry”.

Curiosity satisfied.

Incidentally, the Dictionary app included with Tiger is very nifty; I can right-click on any word as I write in Xjournal, select “Look Up In Dictionary”, and I get the definition, etymology, and phrase usage. Once you’re in the Dictionary, you can double-click on words to see the related definitions. And it’s all local, so the loading time is minimal. Definitely better than that cruddy OED Online interface we got with Swat’s subscription.

Jezebel (10000 Maniacs)” from One Light On by Stanford Mixed Company