In which are explored the matrices of text, textile, and exile through metaphor, networks, poetics, etymologies, etc., with an occasional subplot relating these elements to Iggy and the Stooges.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scrappy scraps

I am I because my little google-search engine knows me: this is what came up when I looked for scrap + etymology, several threads relating to writing (blotter), etc. "Chiffonier" is not only a piece of furniture, but is the French word for "ragpicker," a theme I looked at a bit a few days ago. What does it mean when a human being is synonymous with a piece of furniture, a literal commodity (commode is one word for bureau) that is a depository for detritus, gladrags and doodads? The human is reified as his/her labor around the edges of the formal economy. At the same time, "chiffon" in American English has come to signify something airy and lacy, such as the meringue on top of a lemon pie or an elegantly diaphanous fabric.

scrap (1)
"small piece," late 14c., from O.N. skrap "scraps, trifles," from skrapa "to scrape" (see scrape). Meaning "remains of metal produced after rolling or casting" is from 1790. The verb meaning "to make into scrap" is recorded from 1891. Scrap iron first recorded 1823.

"consisting of scraps, 1837, from scrap (1). Meaning "inclined to fight" (1895) is from scrap (2).

scrap (2)
"fight," 1846, possibly a variant of scrape (q.v.) on the notion of "an abrasive encounter." But Weekley suggests obsolete colloquial scrap "scheme, villainy, vile intention" (1670s). The verb is recorded from 1874. Related: Scrapped; scrapping.

cornmeal boiled in scraps of pork, 1855, probably a dim. form of scrap (1).

1825, from scrap + book. As a verb, by 1889.

1590s, from Anglo-Fr. escrowe, from O.Fr. escroue "scrap, roll of parchment," from a Germanic source akin to O.H.G. scrot "scrap, shred" (see scroll (n.)). Originally "a deed delivered to a third person until a future condition is satisfied;" sense of "deposit held in trust or security" is from 1888.

1590s, "thing for drying wet spots," from blot. Meaning "bad writer" is from c.1600. Sense of "day book" is from 1670s, and the word was applied early 19c. to rough drafts, scrap books, notebooks, and draft account books. Hence the police jargon sense "arrest record sheet," recorded from 1887.

retail (v.)
mid-14c. (implied in retailing), from O.Fr. retaillier "to cut off, pare, clip, divide," from re- "back" + taillier "to cut, trim" (see tailor). Sense of "recount, tell over again" is first recorded 1590s. The noun meaning "sale in small quantities" is from early 15c., from M.Fr. retail "piece cut off, shred, scrap, paring."

"piece of furniture with drawers for women to put needlework, cloth, etc.," 1806, from Fr. chiffonnier, a transferred use, lit. "rag gatherer," from chiffon, dim. of chiffe "rag, piece of cloth, scrap, flimsy stuff" (see chiffon).

late 15c., from earlier rif and raf "one and all, every scrap" (mid-14c.), from O.Fr. rif et raf, from rifler "to spoil, strip" (see rifle (v.)) and raffler "carry off," related to rafle "plundering" (see raffle).

lean (adj.)
"thin, spare, with little flesh or fat," O.E. hlæne, possibly from hlænan "cause to lean or bend," from P.Gmc. *khlainijan, which would make it related to O.E. hleonian (see lean (v.)). But perhaps rather from a PIE *qloinio- (cf. Lith. klynas "scrap, fragment," Lettish kleins "feeble").

junk (1)
"worthless stuff," mid-14c., junke "old cable or rope" (nautical), of uncertain origin, perhaps from O.Fr. junc "rush," from L. juncus "rush, reed." Nautical use extended to "old refuse from boats and ships" (1842), then to "old or discarded articles of any kind" (1884). The verb meaning "to throw away as trash, to scrap" is from 1916. Junk food is from 1971; junk art is from 1966; junk mail first attested 1954.

1590s, from L. laceratus, pp. of lacerare "tear to pieces, mangle," from lacer "torn, mangled," from PIE base *leq- "to rend" (cf. Gk. lakis "tatter, rag," lakizein "to tear to pieces;" Rus. lochma "rag, tatter, scrap;" Albanian lakur "naked"). Related: Lacerated; lacerating.

scroll (n.)
c.1400, "roll of parchment or paper," altered (by association with rolle "roll") from scrowe (early 13c.), from Anglo-Fr. escrowe, O.Fr. escroe "scrap, roll of parchment," from Frank. *skroda "shred" (cf. M.Du. schroode "shred," O.H.G. scrot "piece cut off," Ger. Schrot "log, block, small shot"), from P.Gmc. *skrautha "something cut." The verb meaning "to write down in a scroll" is recorded from c.1600; sense of "show a few lines at a time" (on a computer or TV screen) first recorded 1981. Related: Scrolled; scrolling.

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