The word comet came to English by way of the Latin word cometes. This word, in turn, came from the Greek word κόμη, which means "hair of the head". The Greek scientist and philosopher Aristotle first used the derived form of κόμη, κομήτης, to describe what he saw as "stars with hair."That eta deserves its place in the word: comeet. Not the hairy star, so much as the welcoming one.
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
We've been pronouncing it wrong.