October 24th:Bill Dees, 73, American musician and songwriter ("Oh, Pretty Woman", "It's Over"), brain tumor.October 23rd:October 22nd:
- William Joel Blass, 95, American judge and politician, member of the Mississippi House of Representatives (1953–1960).October 21stWilliam Walker, 99, British fighter pilot (Battle of Britain), stroke.
So 6 notable Williams had passed away in 4 consecutive days, a little more than what beats the odds even when taking into consideration the names popularity during the early 1900's. From among the list, are two that I haven't yet posted about, William Blass and Sam Williams. This post will investigate William Blass.
On venturing to the "Most Popular Names" site (Here), I noticed that William was still most popular in Quebec, but then I noticed that "Liam" had become most popular in some of the other provinces. Liam is the last four letters of William... very audd, usually when a name is "shortened", the tendency is to use the first portion... such as Will and/or diminutive, Bill. Keep in mind that William originally comes from "Will" meaning "desire" and "Helm" meaning "Helmet protection". So in a roundabout way, Liam is "Helm". Note the following etymology:
helmet mid-15c., perhaps a dim. of O.E. helm "protection, covering; crown, helmet" (see helm (2)). But Barnhart says from M.Fr. helmet (Mod.Fr. heaume), dim. of helme"helmet," from the same Germanic source as helm (2). "Middle English Dictionary" points to both without making a choice. "Old English helm never became an active term in the standard vocabulary of English." [Barnhart]Now then, moving on to William Blass. First of all note that he died on the same day as Wilhelm Brasse, and also note the similarity between the names Brasse and Blass. One of the things that you soon discover if you should ever choose to studying etymology (origin of words/names), is that the letters "L" and "R" found in a good many words are "interchangeable". You can imagine, that as European countries began to merge, there were a number of differences among a wide variety of cultures that needed to be tended to, language being one. When two languages merge, you often get a hybrid/mixture emerging and since some letters, namely consonants, were hard to pronounce, shifts occurred. The French don't use the sound of "th" and so when they do, it comes out sounding more like "D". The same is true about "R", some languages don't contain an "R"and so when these people try to make the sound, it comes out as "L". So that is a very plausible explanation for the "interchangeability" of certain letters in our word origins.
helm (1) "handle of a tiller," late 13c., from O.E. helma "rudder; position of guidance, control," from P.Gmc. *halbma- (cf. O.N. hjalm, O.H.G. helmo, Ger. Helm "handle"), from PIE*kelp- "to hold, grasp" (see helve).
helm (2) "a helmet," c.1200, from O.E. helm "protection, covering; crown, helmet," and perhaps also from cognate O.N. hjalmr, from P.Gmc. *helmaz "protective covering," from PIE*kel- "to cover, to hide" (see cell). Italian elmo, Sp. yelmo are from Germanic.
I wasn't able to find either Blass nor Brasse in the online etymology of names source, but note the following from the on line etymology dictionary... perhaps you can see the long and "short" of it:
brief (adj.) late 13c., from L. brevis (adj.) "short, low, little, shallow," from PIE *mregh-wi-, from root *mregh-u- "short" (cf. Gk. brakhys "short," O.C.S. bruzeja "shallow places, shoals," Goth. gamaurgjan "to shorten").
brief (n.) from L. breve (gen. brevis), noun derivative of adjective brevis (see brief (adj.)) which came to mean "letter, summary" (specifically a letter of the pope, less ample and solemn than a bull), and came to mean "letter of authority," which yielded the modern, legal sense of "summary of the facts of a case" (1630s).
brief (v.) "to give instructions or information to," 1866;