What’s your favorite word etymology?

This is NSFW. Kinda.

The Greek word for a porn film is tsonta.

The word comes from the Venetian word zonta, which is cognate with Italian giunta and English joint.

The original meaning of tsonta was the same as Louisianan lagniappe: it’s an extra helping, an extra portion of the merchandise you’re buying, that the vendor throws in for free.

The cultural loading of the etymology is just startling. Have you guessed why porn was called tsonta?

And why you can infer from it that Greek movie audiences in the 50s were predominantly, if not exclusively male?

What does Felidae mean? How was the term coined?

Felidae  is the Family (biology)  that cats and great cats belong to. All animal families are formed with the suffix –idae. In this case, –idae is suffixed to the Latin word felis, meaning cat.

The –idae suffix is a Latin plural counterpart to Greek –idai (singular –idēs), meaning offspring. In the plural, the –idai suffix was used to denote tribes or groupings of people with a common ancestor; e.g. the Heracleidae, the descendants of Hercules. It was also generalised to names of dynasties, and not just Greek ones either: the Fatimid Caliphate is so called as a Hellenisation of al-Fātimiyyūn “offspring of Fatimah”.

So by analogy with Heraclids, “the tribe of Hercules”, and Fatimids “the tribe of Fatimah”, you get felids, the tribe of cats.

Is there any language that uses the Greek Alphabet other than Greek?

Currently, no.

Historically, Greek has been used routinely to write other languages, including the Bactrian language (hence Sho (letter) ), Karamanli Turkish, and Albanian.

Is there a term for borrowings from a language’s own proto-language?

There’s lots of these—Modern Greek from Ancient Greek, Russian from Old Church Slavonic—but I’m not aware of a generic term. In Greek. for example, these are referred to as learnèd loans (λόγιο δάνειο)—but a learned loan in English is a loan from Latin, not Old English. (In fact we do have a term for learned loans in English: inkhorn terms.)

Such borrowings are often the result of linguistic purism, which seeks to use “native” lexical resources instead of foreign terms. But purism isn’t the only motivation for them, so I wouldn’t call them purisms…

How was the term “utopia” coined, and by whom?

The Sir Thomas More answer is correct.

However, the 14th century Byzantine theologian Neophytus Prodromenus independently coined the term in his treatise Against the Latins [Catholics]. In his text, it was a variant of ἀτοπία “un-placed-ness”, which was the Greek word for absurdity, fallacy.