Libra 19: A gang of robbers in hiding

H e r e t h e w o r d g a ng r e f e r s t o “a group of criminals or hoodlums who band together for mutual protection and profit.” 1 According to the Online

E t ym o l o gy D i c ti o na ry , t he w o r d
d e s c e n d s f r o m t he O l d E n g l i s h “ a g o i n g , j o u r n e y, w a y , p a s s a g e ” a n d t h e O l d N o r s e gan gr , “ a g r o u p o f m e n , a se t . ” 2 T h e s e t w o a r e , i n t u r n , r e la t e d t o t he p r o t o G e r m a n i c ga n ga n w h i c h m e a n s “ t o go ” a n d t h e P r o t o - I n d o - E u r o p e a n b a s e

gh e n gh w h i c h m e a n s “ t o s t e p . ” 3 T h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e t w o
m e a n i n g s i s e x p la i n e d a s f o l l o w s : The sense evolution is probably via meaning "a set of articles that are usually taken together in going," especially a set of tools used on the same job. By 1620s this had been extended in nautical speech to mean "a company of workmen," and by 1630s the word was being used, with disapproving overtones, for "any band of persons traveling together."4 A c c o r d i n g t o t h e A m e ri c a n H e rit a ge Di c t i on a ry o f In do - Eu ro p e a n

R o o t s t he w o r d g a n g d e s ce n d s f r o m t he I n d o - E u r o p e a n ( IE ) r o ot gh e ngh w h i c h m e a n s “ t o go , w a l k . ” 5 I t s p a r on y m s i n c l u d e ga n gue a n d ga n gli n g. T h e w o r d r ob be r de s c e n d s f r o m t h e IE r o o t r eup - w hi c h m e a n s “ t o s n a t c h. ” 6 I t s p a r o n ym s i n c l u d e rea ve, b e re a ve, ro ve r ( a p i r a t e o r p i r a t e v e s s e l) , rob , ro b bery, ro b e, di s ro be , ru b l e , u s u rp, ro u t, di s ru p t, ab ru p t,

c o rru p t , a n d e rup t .
1 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/gang 2 http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=gang 3 ibid 4 ibid 5 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 30 6 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 72 Starling Hunter © 2011 1

T h e w o r d h i di ng i s a d e r i v a t i v e o f t he I E r o o t s keu - w hi c h m e a n s “ t o c o v e r , c o n c e a l . ” 7 C o m m o n d e r i v a t i v e s i n c l u d e c u s t o dy, c u t i c l e , h oa rd,

h o s e , h u ddl e, h u t, o b s c u re, re c o i l, s cu m , s ky, a n d s ki m .
TH EMES : Re c a l l t h a t t h e r o o t gh e ngh - m e a n s “ t o g o , w a lk ” w h i l e on e o f t h e p a r o n y m s o f rob b ers i s ro ve . T h e w o r d s g o , w a l k , a n d ro ve s h a r e s e v e r a l s y n on y m s :
    go (leave): depart, set off, set out, exit, walk off, move out, quit, take off; go (travel): move, move on, proceed, progress walk (saunter): stroll, amble, march, pace, hike , move, go

rove (wander): roam, range, meander, travel, journey, ramble, stray

T h e r e a r e a l s o a fe w r e f e r e n c e s t o CLOTH ING . O n e o f t h e p a r o n y m s o f ro bb e rs i s rob e ( a lo n g l o o s e f l o w i n g o u t e r g a r m e n t ; t o co v e r o r d r e s s i n o r a s i f i n a r ob e ) a n d di s ro b e ( t o r e m o v e t h e c l ot h i n g o r c o v e r i n g f r o m ; t o u n d r e s s on e se l f) . On e o f t h e p a r o n y m s o f h i di ng i s t he w o r d h o s e w h i c h a s n o un r e f e r s t o s t o c k i n g s , s o ck s , a n d c l os e - f i t t i n g b r e e c h e s o r leggings. A n d o f c o u r s e t h e re i s t h e t he m e o f STEA LI NG . T h e w o rd ro b m e a n s “ t o t a k e p r o p e rt y f r o m ( a p e r s o n ) i l l e g a l l y b y u s i n g o r t h r e a t e n i n g t o u s e v i o l e n c e o r f o r c e ; co m m i t r o b b e r y u p on . ” 8 T h e n t h e r e i s ski m , a p a r o n y m o f h i d i n g w h i c h m e a n s “ t o f a i l t o de c la r e c e r t a i n i n c o me t o a v o i d t a x p a y m e n t ” 9 o r “ t o t a k e s m a l l a m o un t s of m o n e y f r o m s o m e w h e r e s o t h a t p e op l e d o n ot n ot i c e i t i s g o n e . ” 10

7 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 78
8 9 10

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/skim http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/skim#skim_12 Starling Hunter © 2011 2

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