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14 July, 2007

A luscious napoleon from the fabulous French bakery led me on a click-fest through Wikipedia. Reading about mille-feuille pastries, I saw a link to the Galaktoboureko pastry. My mind on the mille in mille-feuille, I wondered whether the "galac" part of galactoboureko might mean "many" or "million", something like the "mille" in my Napoleon.

So off I went to the OED to get a good grasp of the etymology.

Turns out "galac", the Greek root, is considered similar to the Latin "lac" - it means "milk." (Which makes sense, the galaktoboureko being a custard-based pastry. With lemon. And phyllo. I want one now.)

But while I was looking that up, I discovered that "galaxy" had a verb form, too. Really? A verb?

According to the OED, it means "to gather like a galaxy" - into something, it being a transitive verb. The example they give is this:

"1702 C. MATHER Magn. Chr. III. IV. i. (1852) 585 Let all their vertues then be galaxied into this one indistinct lustre."

Hm. C. Matter. The OED provides a link. I click it.

Cotton Mather. Yes, of course.

So then I'm off on a Wikipedia search for Cotton Mather. I'm reminded that his father was Increase Mather. The name Cotton Mather is familiar to me; must be because I read a lot about the Salem witch trials as a kid.

So - now I know that "Milky Way galaxy" is a little bit redundant, and that I really should learn Greek.