What Sort of Person Would I Be?

If I kept the most exciting find of the day from you?  That’s right, the worst sort!  The very worst.  And so, enough bombast.  Onwards–

I was on Wikipedia.  I blame Ralfast.  And the fact that I had a quick jot of research to do for a plot point.

Then I fell into what I will now term a “Wiki Hole.”  Namely, one second I was looking up astronomical awareness in the mid 1500s, and the next, BOOM, I was shot at warp speed into other realms of information.  Landing in the vicinity of Cheapside.

Ever wondered about Cheapside, London?  Well, I have.  Why?  Because I’m American.

And more specifically, when Pride and Prejudice heroine Elizabeth Bennet’s relatives are snubbed for their Cheapside address by the rich Miss Bingley, pretender to Mr Darcy’s affections (or affectations), well…the name struck me as odd.  Was this the rich naming streets to “put people in their place,” so to speak, or was Ms Austen being a mite creative and overdoing it?  (Yes, I had that uncharitable and ignorant a thought.  I own it.)

Well, today, world, I have the answer to not just this, but a million other questions I never thought to ask.


In Olde English–extra “e” added courtesy of me–céapmann meant “dealer” or “seller.”  Especially the itinerant kind.   Céap meant “deal” or “barter” or “business” or “market.”

Today’s “cheap” comes from this, or as Wiki informs, from the olde phrase “a good cheap,” which meant “a good deal.” Cheapside, by inference, stems from what the neighborhood was known for.  Trade.  John Milton was born there, Chaucer nearby.  Who knew, other than every Brit, probably?  Not me.  🙂

And the word “chap” which we still use today?  Just as “goodbye” became “bye,” so did “chapman” become just “chap.”  A buyer or a seller.  Chap.  Someone one might do business with.

If your last name is Chapman, somewhere along the line, one of your ancestors was a trader.  Kauffman is apparently the German equivalent.

I swear, I feel breathless learning this!  🙂  Another lovely Wiki Stroll.

Now I must repair to the 16th century again.  A history of astronomy and magic await.  (For yes, universities offered degrees in this subject back then.  Oh, joyousness!)

Drive through the Caucasus

Drive through the Caucasus


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
This entry was posted in Caucasus, Georgia, history, language, photos, random info, Republic of Georgia, research, whatnot, Wiki Hole, writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to What Sort of Person Would I Be?

  1. JLC says:

    Oddly enough, I wondered the same thing when reading P&P. 🙂

    • sputnitsa says:

      Yay! Isn’t it a blast finding out?

      Btw, would you believe a guy by the name of Wynkyn de Word actually worked in typesetting, and that not only did his last name precede his profession, but also apparently his nickname was Wynkyn of Worth, because he came from Worth? Like “Word” wasn’t cool enough. Apparently the first to introduce italics.

      *shuddering sigh* I love Wiki Holes. 🙂

  2. Beth says:

    I was wondering that while watching “A Knight’s Tale.”
    I love finding out random trivia; my family and friends have all been told that should they ever be on a game show, I’m their phone-a-friend.

    The origin of words is so interesting! I remember doing a project on it in middle school.
    Hmm…so fascinating.

    I’m enjoying hearing about your WIP. I’m intrigued!

  3. sputnitsa says:

    I love it too. But I’d be terrified to be a phone-a-friend. I do know who my literary and pop culture phone-a-friends would be, though. 🙂

    Got any fave word roots?

    My WIP is going wild. 🙂 How ’bout yours? You in research mode at the mo’?

    • Beth says:

      I’m jumping into research mode right now/some basic writing to get a feel for the MC of the moment.

      At the moment, all I really remember for word roots is the days of the week and Norse mythology. Tuesday for Tyr, Wednesday for Odin (Woden), Thursday for Thor, Friday for Frigg (also supposed to be the preferred day to get married, as she’s the goddess of fertility).

      But I do like looking in dictionaries to at least see where words originated. And when we use terms from different languages while speaking English.

  4. ralfast says:

    That’s why I love my search engine window in my firefox browser. Has Google, several wikis (including the HP Wiki, you know you want to take a look 😉 )and even the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a most for any writer.

    • sputnitsa says:

      *sigh* Please don’t tell me there’s one… Oh man. I need to read Paradise Lost and go to sleep. Not stay up all night reading HP Wiki. *weep* *gnash*

      Fine. But you’re paying for my coffee in the morning. Excuse me while I stomp out. 🙂

      Btw, speaking of the dictionary, do you ever find yourself just randomly writing down words you like that you read somewhere during the day? Just to help it stay in your head? Not talking about using a thesaurus, just… sparkly or moving words you love. 🙂

      …yeah, “sparkly” is the wrong word. But you know what I mean. 🙂

      • ralfast says:

        Honestly I am not a big fan of dictionaries although I am a fan of encyclopedias (which explains the wiki obsession). But now, every time I use certain words I have to look them up, just to be sure I’m not abusing them.

        • sputnitsa says:

          Oh, yeah, I mean words not from dictionaries but from reading, or someone randomly using them during the day, or from it just popping into your mind.

          I used to love paper encyclopedias, but now Wiki is my poison of choice 🙂 Although what fiend was it that sent me that TV Tropes thang? I curse them! 😉

        • ralfast says:



          And yes words do catch my eye, especially names of things (I am horrible at naming characters).

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