Balanda cultural concepts: trying to rethink things from a Yolngu point of view


c.1300, “nature, quality,” later “possession” (a sense rare before 17c.), from an Anglo-Fr. modification of O.Fr. propriete (12c., Fr. propreté), from L. proprietatem (nom. proprietas) “ownership, property, propriety,” lit. “special character” (a loan-translation of Gk. idioma), noun of quality from proprius “one’s own, special” (see proper). Propertied “holding property” is from 1760. Hot property “sensation, a success” is from 1958.

Appropriate (v.)

1520s, from L.L. appropriatus, pp. of appropriare, adpropriare (c.450) “to make one’s own,” from L. ad- “to” + propriare “take as one’s own,” from proprius “one’s own” (see proper). Adj. sense of “specially suitable, proper” is from 1540s.

Holding: [the etymological dictionary substituted holding for ‘Tenure’]:

1414, “holding of a tenement,” from Anglo-Fr. and O.Fr. tenure “a tenure, estate in land” (13c.), from O.Fr. tenir “to hold,” from V.L. *tenire, from L. tenere “to hold” (see tenet). The sense of “condition or fact of holding a status, position, or occupation” is first attested 1599. Meaning “guaranteed tenure of office” (usually at a university or school) is recorded from 1957.

Private (adj.)

late 14c., from L. privatus “set apart, belonging to oneself” (not to the state), used in contrast to publicus, communis; originally pp. stem of privare “to separate, deprive,” from privus “one’s own, individual,” from Old L. pri “before.” Replaced O.E. syndrig. Grew popular 17c. as a preferred alternative to the snobbish overtones in common. Meaning “not open to the public” is from late 14c. Of persons, “not holding public office” it is recorded from early 15c. Private soldier “one below the rank of a non-commissioned officer” is from 1570s. Private parts “the pudenda” is from 1785. Private enterprise first recorded 1844. Privacy is first recorded mid-15c. Privatization is attested from 1959; privatize first recorded 1968.

Personal (adj.):

late 14c., “pertaining to the self,” from O.Fr. personel (12c., Fr. personnel), from L. personalis “pertaining to a person,” from persona (see person). Meaning “aimed at some particular person” (usually in a hostile manner) first attested 1610s. The noun sense of “newspaper item about private matters” is attested from 1888. As “a classified ad addressed to an individual,” it is recorded from 1861. Personal computer is from 1976.


1520, a grammatical term, from L.L. impersonalis, from in- “not” + personalis “personal.” Sense of “not connected with any person” is from 1630; that of “not endowed with personality” is from 1842.


c.1300, from O.Fr. governer “govern,” from L. gubernare “to direct, rule, guide,” originally “to steer,” from Gk. kybernan “to steer or pilot a ship, direct” (the root of cybernetics). The -k- to -g- sound shift is perhaps via the medium of Etruscan.


“part or character one takes,” 1606, from Fr. rôle “part played by a person in life,” lit. “roll (of paper) on which an actor’s part is written,” from O.Fr. rolle (see roll). Role model first attested 1957.


1818, from Fr. bureaucratie, from bureau “office,” lit. “desk” (see bureau) + Gk. suffix -kratia denoting “power of;” coined by Fr. economist Jean Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay (1712-1759).

“That vast net-work of administrative tyranny … that system of bureaucracy, which leaves no free agent in all France, except for the man at Paris who pulls the wires.” [J.S. Mill, “Westminster Review” XXVIII, 1837]

Representative (adj):

“serving to represent,” late 14c., from O.Fr. representatif (early 14c.), from M.L. repræsentativus, from L. repræsentare (see represent), Meaning “standing for others” is from 1620s; in the political sense of “holding the place of the people in the government, having citizens represented by chosen persons” is first recorded 1620s. Noun use first recorded 1640s; first used 1690s in noun sense of “member of a legislative body.”


c.1250, “a post, an employment to which certain duties are attached,” from L. officium “service, duty, function, business” (in M.L., “church service”), lit. “work-doing,” from ops (gen. opis) “power, might, abundance, means” (related to opus “work”) + stem of facere “do, perform” (see factitious). Meaning “place for conducting business” first recorded c.1565. Office hours attested from 1841.

Work (v.):

a fusion of O.E. wyrcan (past tense worhte, pp. geworht), from P.Gmc. *wurkijanan; and O.E. wircan (Mercian) “to work, operate, function,” formed relatively late from P.Gmc. noun *werkan (see work (n.)). Worker as a type of bee is recorded from 1747. Work out “do strenuous physical exercise” first recorded 1909, originally in boxing jargon. Working-class first attested 1789 (n.), 1839 (adj.). Workmanlike “efficient, no-nonsense” is recorded from 1739.

Work (n.):

O.E. weorc, worc “something done, deed, action, proceeding, business, military fortification,” from P.Gmc. *werkan (cf. O.S., O.Fris., Du. werk, O.N. verk, M.Du. warc, O.H.G. werah, Ger. Werk, Goth. gawaurki), from PIE base *werg- “to work” (see urge (v.))

“Work is less boring than amusing oneself.” [Baudelaire, “Mon Coeur mis a nu,” 1862]

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Filed under Anthropology, Thesis/Yolngu related writing

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