Wondrous Words Wednesday: from the Internet

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) and interesting (to us, again) words we encountered in our readings. See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!

My word for this week comes from something I read on the Internet:

I do have pretty good Google-fu.

Hmmm. I think I understand this as “skill”, but where did I see it before? Oh, yes, in the GIMP, a menu item there is called “Script-fu” and defined as follows:

Script-Fu is what the Windows world would call “macros”. (source)

Now that is not really helpful, because I have a very vague idea of what a macro is. But let’s get back to the -fu suffix. It must be from Chinese or Japanese, that much is clear. Wiktionary to the rescue:

-fu (slang) Expertise; mastery. From kung-fu

Problem solved, -fu means skill in English. But wait, there’s more. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about kung-fu:

Kung fu is a Chinese term referring to any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete, often used in the West to refer to Chinese martial arts. In its original meaning, kung fu can refer to any skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial. In Chinese, Gōngfu (功夫) is a compound of two words, combining 功 (gōng) meaning “work”, “achievement”, or “merit”, and 夫 (fū) which translates into “man”, so that a literal rendering would be “achievement of man”.

Let me highlight that for you:

夫 (fū) which translates into “man”

So, we should really say “I do have pretty good kung-Google” instead. I imagine this use of -fu must be puzzling Chinese people! But that’s etymology for you 🙂

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6 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: from the Internet

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