Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Word for the Day: Scacchic

All kinds of scacchic thrills and chills here in San Diego right now, because the U.S. Chess Champion will be determined here this weekend. Oh, and scacchic? It means "of or pertaining to chess." Pronounced "SKACK-ick," it's from the Italian word for "chess," scacchi. May the player with the best scacchic skills win!

4 Comments:

Anonymous daz said...

Interesting word! Wonder if the surname of actress Greta Scacchi is related to the game of chess.

(There are some folks in the U.S. whose last name is Chess, but this might be some version of a word unrelated to the game.)

8:56 PM  
Blogger Language Lover said...

I was wondering the same thing, daz. :)

10:10 PM  
Anonymous daz said...

Have been looking into the origins of words meaning "chess" -- and it seems there are two paths:

1. the Sanskrit word chaturanga (for an ancestor of modern chess), which means "four parts" -- which has many cognate/descendant words for chess, like ajedréz in Spanish, and

2. words that derive from "kill the king" or literally "king kill", like the Russian word for chess, shakhmati (and the English word checkmate).

Many languages omit the "kill" part in the actual name of the game, like French échecs and many others.
--------------------------------------

I'd guess the Italian scacchi comes from the second line of descent, from a word meaning king or sheikh (suggesting that perhaps once the "sc" was pronounced like our sh).

12:51 AM  
Blogger Martha said...

Yes, I've always found all that "chess" business confusing. Also interesting that in early use, according to the OED, it was referring to as "the chess."

Didn't realize that was the Russian word - cool!

7:52 AM  

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