A post repurposed from LadyKillers, BUT more appropriate here since the Dog Days period ends today August 11.
Apparently this phrase dates back to the ancient Greeks (doesn’t everything?) and has to do with a constellation that looks like a dog (Canis Major) chasing one that looks like a rabbit (Lepus).
The star Sirius (14th c.), the brightest in the constellation, is at the dog’s nose. The meaning of the phrase has morphed into a characterization of the period of Sirius’s rising, from July 3 to August 11, a period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence.
Never mind that in (roughly) 13,000 years, the dog star Sirius will be rising with the sun in mid-winter.
Some imagination those ancients had. It took an entire semester-long course in college for me just to match the names, the gods, and the myths.
What interests me is how, and how come, so many of the names have survived. For example, the multi-channel radio in my car is by Sirius. It seems incongruous that I’m listening to Willie’s Roadhouse on a service with a name that dates back at least 7 centuries and means scorching.
The Nova laser, one generation after Shiva, from the Latin, meaning new.
One of the world’s most powerful lasers of the 20th century was named Shiva, the name of a Hindu god, the Destroyer. Apt, I suppose, since Shiva the laser decimated any target it was aimed at.
But wouldn’t you think there’d be a more modern hi-tech name, indicative of the high-level technology that brought Shiva into existence?
Maybe this is why LASER is one of my favorite words, the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There are no gods associated with it; no wars, no constellations, no etymology traceable to the ancients. While not the first acronym, the word itself has no other origin.
So, maybe the Dog Days of Summer can be called Dodaysum, and in 1000 years or so, someone will think she was a 21st century goddess who lay around all day.
And now, speaking of new words: I think I’ll make my Blexit. <groan> Come on, admit it if you get this!