[DWJ] Topia (OT)
colin at fine.me.uk
Tue Jul 7 03:13:48 EDT 2009
Otter Perry wrote:
> On Jul 5, 2009, at 9:06 PM, Sally Odgers wrote:
>> I appeal to the learned minds on this list. What does the suffix "topia"
>> mean? It keeps cropping up in made-up names. Fairytopia, Dinotopia
>> etc. I
>> suspect it belong to a specific word and has been borrowed without
>> regard to
>> linguistic sense.
> Well, here you go.
> It all started with "Utopia", a word Sir Thomas More made up to name his
> ideal place.
> It's from "ou" - not - and "topos" - place -, so "no place".
Note this - "Utopia" meant 'no place'. Eutopia ('good place') is a
(learned!) folk etymology.
> So, actually, -topia is okay for all those uses. Dinosaur-place,
> fairy-place, etc.
But they're not borrowed with no regard to linguistic sense. Like
'-holic' (and '-gate', from Watergate) it means more than just the
etymological import of the root.
Just as all the coinings in '-holic' are meant to imply excessive or
addictive activity (which is why '-ic' won't do), all the coinings in
'-topia' are intended to recall either 'Utopia' (the mythical ideal
place) or 'dystopia' (its reverse, an apparent ideal which turns out to
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