What's in a Word | All Blogs


It’s nicht Greek to me: It’s Igpay Atinlay

By Debra Dobbins

Nix is an Americanism that has come from the German word nicht, meaning not. In the sense of the headline, it means rejects.

This Americanism has prompted another Americanism: ixnay. It’s also a negative and can mean no, no more, stop or cancel. (She had to ixnay her vacation plans.)

Ixnay is a common word in Pig Latin, a nonsense language that young children (and some of us older children) like to use. The trick is to move the first letter of a word to the end and add “ay.” So, for example, car becomes “arcay” and dance becomes “anceday.” A word with a blend of letters at the beginning moves the blend to the end. For instance, think becomes “inkthay.”

Ixnay has made its way into broader English slang, as has another word I find appropriate as I think about a busy day: amscray. That’s what I need to do. Eesay ouyay aterlay.

Illustration special to the Sentinel
 

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