people think the etymology of "helicopter" is "heli" and "copter", but it's actually "helico" and "pter" meaning "spinning bird"

yes, that's the same "pter" in "pterodactyl", and "dactylus", yes, the same "dactylus" as in "dactilography" or "dactilitis"

"pterodactly" means "flying finger", because they had this one long hell finger on each hand that formed the edge of their wing flap

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correction, "pter" is "wing" not "flying", oops, my memory's not what it used to be

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but it is a cognate with "pteron", "I fly" so who's to say which is right and wrong

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@trickster next thing you’re going to tell me is pter is a cognate for feather and I just won’t have it

@trickster Grimm’s Law fully explains why the two look so different, p -> f, t -> th

@jasonscheirer Note pen in there. From feather, (also a female goose), and the same *pet- root.

So your spinning pen and helicopter are linguistically virtually identical.



"What she means to scream is “Hübsch Räuber! Hübsch Räuber!” which means “Cute-looking robber! Cute-looking robber!” But she can’t pronounce those umlauts. So it comes out “Hubschrauber! Hubschrauber!” which means “Helicopter! Helicopter!” well, it’s 1920-something, and nobody in earshot even knows what the word means, Liftscrewer, what’s that?"
- Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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