One question that popped into my mind: Where did the phrase ‘Eureka’ come from? What does it mean? I trust the Teeming Millions will not let me down. I know whenever I hear it I think of a crusty old westy prospector type finding gold. I know it “means” that someone found what they were looking for, but why ‘Eureka’ gut feeling says it might be a place name. Is this even close?
oh, sure MEBuckner just go ahead and use reference material… an easily available dictionary. OK sure I guess I could have done that, but apparently that would be tooooo easy.
See, now you can add the American Heritage Dictionary to your favorites menu.
Give someone the etymology of one word, and they’ll know the etymology of one word. Give someone the link to a dictionary, and they can waste countless hours.
But your etymology left out the best part of the Archimedes story: That he shouted “Eureka!” while running naked through the streets of Syracuse (having had his revelation while stepping into a bath).
now that is a worthwhile bit o’ trivia!
The story goes that Eureka was a greek woman who lived in time of arhimedes. Archimedes had an affair with her.
Archimedes was completley stumped, he had to figure out how to measure the mass of an irregularly shaped object, in order to solve a riddle posed by the king at the time, and he was clueless. He stepped into a bath that was filled to the top of the tub, and when he stepped in, he noticed that the water sloshed over the rim of the tub. And then he had it, how to solve the riddle. So overjoyed he was that he ran, naked, straight to Eureka’s house, yelling “Eureka! Eureka!” all through the streets.
And everyone lived happily ever after, thinking Archimedes was crazier than he was before.
‘give me a word, any word, and I show you that the root of that word, is Greek. Any word! For example, Eureka. From the verb heuriskein meaning “to find”. is pronounced [evrika] in Modern Greek, there you go!’
[sub]Inspired by my big fat greek wedding, I loved that movie![/sub]
I do not have any cites, so you will just have to trust me.
OK, how about “boondocks”? Prove it’s Greek in origin, and I’ll eat some electrons.
Don’t know about that, but that other post is not about Greek but is about whoosh!!!
Archimedes was such a badass.
And I thought Eureka was from California!
Just to add a little extra useless trivia: “Eureka” is California’s state motto. Why? Because the dude who first found gold (and whose name I’m not remembering right now) at Sutter’s mill supposedly shouted “Eureka!” when he found the first bits. He was an educated type, apparently. The Northern California town is named after the motto.
Jess (no cites, but I’m a native Californian and my dad is from Rohnerville – a now extinct town a few miles away from Eureka)
Vacuum cleaner my dear
Wow, cool link! The explanation there of “eureka” certainly matches all of the info in the posts here… except the vacuum thing, D12 haha.
It also says
So I wonder what prompted 16th century England to take up allusive reference to this phrase (as opposed to only using it in reference to the Archimedes story)…
don’t you just love etymology?
Tagalog, according to the Word Detective.
ESWAG (educated semi-wild ass guess: )
That was right by the end of The Renaissance era, AFAIK intellectuals of the age were into things roman and greek, and were in the prosess of resurrecting the classics. It would not surprise me that the education many received then, had that archimides tale and intellectuals decided to use ithe word as a symbol for their “new” enlightment.
“ithe” is greek for. . . .
dang, change that to “the”.