February 23, 2003
Fun With Etymology

Eve Tushnet gives "Chiracnophobia" as the title or subject of a post she is still working on. The obvious meaning is 'dread of Jacques Chirac', with the N inserted to allude to 'arachnophobia', dread of spiders, and perhaps the movie Arachnophobia.

The word would actually mean something else in Greek. Chir- as in 'chiropractor' means 'hand', while akhne is the Greek source of English 'acne'. (The original meaning is 'foam', 'froth', 'chaff', and various other things that come off of surfaces.) 'Chiracnophobia' would therefore mean a dread of developing greasy skin blemishes on one's hands. Doesn't Chirac have a reputation for (allegedly) taking bribes, that is, allowing his hand to be greased?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at February 23, 2003 12:39 AM