Re: [peditors] Digest Number 66
- Paul of the Nevai wrote:
>>>>>PUZZLE OF THE DAY: I put on my pants and my shirt. Why not "pant and my
shirts" or any combination thereof. Even if I put on my eyeglass [sic], and
try to smell it with my noses [sic - I got 2 holes called nostrils], it
no sense whatsoever.
Not any more, but it used to.
"Nostril" comes from Old English "nos-thyrl", literally 'nose-hole', and
THAT makes perfect sense: one nose with two holes in it. "An eyeglass" is,
or used to be, what we now call a monocle; if you have a lens for each of
your two eyes, you obviously have eyeglassES.
I'm not sure how "pants", or rather its immediate predecessor "pantaloons",
became plural, but it may be because of the two legs; cf. "leggings",
"breeches", "tights" and their opposite "slacks"; also "scissors" (with two
blades). But a shirt has only one main part, unless it was made for Eng and
Chang (the original *Siamese* twins).
-- Dr. Whom: Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Orthoepist, and Philological Busybody
a.k.a. Mark A. Mandel