Asaf Bartov (ijon) wrote,
Asaf Bartov

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The Etymology of 'Orthography'

I woke up this morning thinking about orthography. Eventually, I digressed into its etymology, which is Greek, of course. But while I understand the elements, I want to understand why 'orthography' denotes what it does.

The prefix ortho- means straight; right[-angled]; and also correct. Incidentally, the Hebrew adjective 'yashar' can mean those same three, in this same order of frequency.
-graphy means writing; drawing.

So, is orthography:
  • straight writing/drawing
  • right[-angled] writing/drawing
  • [the?] correct writing/drawing
  • ijon is just too naïve, breaking up words like that.
Which of these senses of ortho- was fused into -graphy to create orthography? Webster's Unabridged and Weekley's Etymological failed to put my mind at rest; I bring it to you.

Since you read this far, I give you for your trouble.

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