Fun with homophones

December 13, 2008 at 4:10 pm 1 comment

“Parody”, “parroty” and “parity” all sound exactly the same, but have very different meanings and origins, with one surprise connection:

-“Parody”, an imitation, from the Latin parodia, from the Greek para- “beside, parallel to” (in this case, “mock-“) + oide “song, ode.” (Online Etymology Dictionary)

-“Parroty”, the somewhat questionable adjective form of parrot, from the French Pierre (or possibly the more fun “perroquet”, parakeet, from Italian “parrocchetto”, little priest, from Church Latin “parochus”, parish, from Greek paroikos, neighbor (para- “near” + oikos “house”))

-“Parity”, fairness or equality, from French parité, from Latin paritas, equal, from “par”.

So the “par” in each word derives from Greek for “near” or “similar”; parroty, from parakeet, from priest, from neighbor: near a house. Parody, similar to or imitating a song. And parity, which has a more direct connection.


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A d20 with all 210 dots! US shoe sizes are metric! Sorta-ish.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Dan S  |  December 14, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    If you REALLY want to do etymology, then don’t stop at Greek-or-Latin. Go back to their parent, Indo-European (aka Proto-Indo-European or PIE). And the best source for that is the American Heritage Dictionary:
    (On the strength of premier Indo-European Linguist Cal Watkins.)

    For “parody”: you can click into the PIE roots from here:

    I regret that “parity” likely has no common ancestry with “parody”:

    The Greek “para” (“beyond”, as in “paranormal”, into “parody”) comes from PIE per-1 (“produce, procure”):

    The Latin “par” (“equal”, into “parity”) comes from PIE per-2 (“grant, allocate”):

    The two roots are “Possibly related”, so there’s maybe common ancestry. But there’s no Greek heritage in “parity”, sorry. [You note that I, too, place commas based on logic, not silly rules.]

    I trust the American Heritage over other random dictionaries; it uses science, not guessing. And it traces “parrot” to French “Pierre”, and “parakeet” to Spanish, probably “Pedro (diminutive).” “Perroquet” is another story.

    There’s only one dictionary, if you’re doing etymology.


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