Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 08:54:53 EST From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: No 'friend of yours' Seth writes: ----------------------------Original message---------------------------- >My sister, who was a Phi Beta Kappa (they must have been desperate that year) >took great delight in correcting people. One of her favorites was: >"It's my forte," which she insisted was pronounced (fort) and not (fortay). > (Fortay) is an Italian musical term. > She had no friends. No need to ask Phi Beta Kappa to reclaim your sister's award. In fact, etymologically speaking, your sister was right. The expression you cite is a calque on the French "C'est mon fort" (it's/that's my strong point) and has no direct connection with the Italian 'forte', although the latter is obviously a cognate of Fr. _fort_, both from Lat. _fortis_. Somewhere along the way, the spelling was changed to _forte_, perhaps through a folk etymology with the more familiar musical term. On the other hand, both Webster's and the OED give _knarled_ as a now obsolete variant of _gnarled_, so maybe _knarly_ is historically correct (or at least attestable). Larry