blOgbuefi

writing to know, knowing thru being, being for writing... this is me, writing about the one thing i know, which is myself... and even that is sometimes a mystery...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

the etymology of 'mullet:' an epiphany in two parts

i have made a miraculous discovery.

it came about in the usual way... bantering ad infinitum with my roommate about trivial topics and concerns, the state of the universe, platitudinal philosophical musings... the usual.

particularly, the phrase "to mull over [something]" became a sticking point, which soon diverged into discussion of peculiar word sets in general, then focusing specifically on the particular peculiarity of the word "mullet", with its unusual phonology and orthology, the word itself possessing no detectable morphemes that might suggest a meaning outside of the socially stigmatized understanding of its connotation.

the etymology of the word posed an unusual conundrum, as the word seems to have simply appeared in the public consciousness, fully stigmatized and connoted, without any sign of a progression from a phrase or idea. indeed, the word mullet, and the accompanying phenomenon, seem to have spontaneously generated.

however, my belief is that "mullet" comes from the idea of "mulling over." as in, to "mull over" something is to think on it extensively, with some level of introspection and reflective evaluation.

which must have been the inclination of the first on-looker, when subjected to the visual disaster that is the haircut known as the mullet.

a soul-searching, imploring, questioning of the mind and visual perception itself. an existential "wtf?!" as one vainly strains to understand and process the meaning of the very sight of the mullet.

so we've been looking at the etymology all wrong. like the haircut itself, the word did not come about in a sensical way, and to contextualize it in that way is unfair, not to mention incomplete.

the word most probably derives from a sound, a primal, instinctual, immediate response to the sight. a noise made in utter flabbergastedness and confusion, like "hmm!"

language, after all, developed from a need to communicate thoughts and feelings to fellows, to develop a shared understanding of various naturally occuring phenomena and our perception of them. this probably began in the form of underdeveloped sounds and grunts, which eventually developed into words, which evolved into language as we know it today: full sentences, phonology, morphemes, grammars.

but the mullet, my friends, is so astonishing, so magnificent, so indescribably... well, indescribable, that its characterization is exactly that: a mystery, like the haircut itself.

"mull over that!"
"mull it!"
mull-it
mullet.

4 Comments:

  • At 10:15 PM, November 03, 2005, Blogger Ray "Raedien" Devine said…

    You make me want to take that class.

     
  • At 4:23 PM, November 13, 2005, Blogger pinguino adeliae said…

    haha i'm glad to know that there are others in the world searching for the etymology of the word mullet. from what i've found it comes from old english, having to do with the prefered hairstyles of fishermen out fishing for... guess what?! mullet!

    mull over that idea (it)!

     
  • At 4:35 PM, November 13, 2005, Blogger Ogbuefi Stephi said…

    that's awesome!

    i can't believe that. it seems like no one really thinks about silly stuff like that, but it's great to be disproved.

    thanks!
    ~o.s.

     
  • At 4:57 AM, August 28, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I came across the English term 'mullet' by accident on youtube. Somebody made a comment saying that this haircut was an only American phenomenon as he had not seen it in any other country, but that is not true. I have seen it on boys in my own country in Belgium when I was little, which we called a 'fisherman's haircut', which I always found quite 'mean looking' and seemed to be sported by 'low class people'. I'm not sure if they were real fishermen or not either.. so I agree with pinguino adellae, but now I'm curious as to why fishermen of all places preferred this haircut? I'm guessing to keep their neck warm and keeping it short at the front, prevents the hair from blocking their eyesight..though I'll look that one up too just to be sure :)

     

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