The word is bike (with a little bit of stone)

For no particular reason, I came across the word ‘stane’, which M-W says is Scottish for ‘stone’. I thought that was silly: the Dutch word for stone is steen, which is pronounced exactly the way Scottish people would say ‘stane’. All this time I knew the Dutch and Scots had something in common.

Via Metafilter the return of the … I have no words for this, but let me try again: the return of Clive ‘Spectrum’ Sinclair. He’s at bikes again! Maybe he should focus on computer hardware again. That said, the problem with foldable bikes is that nobody wants to ride them because they don’t ride like ordinary bikes.

Hey: where does the Dutch word ‘fiets’ (bicycle) (Dutch language alert, wikipedia) come from? This may come as a surprise, but it looks like it’s a made-up word because the (at that time) available names were too cumbersome to pronounce for mere mortals and peasants1:

The authorities, however, produced “rijwiel,” “schrijwiel,” “trapwiel,” “wielpeerd” and finally “fiets,” which in Holland at least proved to be the “living word.” The English went about the task in their customary rational manner and came up with “bicycle,” “wheel,” or simply “cycle,” which became the real name, the true name. The practical Germans started with “Fahrrad” and ended with “Rad.”

If you think of it: would you rather drive a ‘velocipede’ or a ‘bike’, ‘fiets’ or ‘rad’?

1 I suspect that the Dutch word ‘Fiets’ was originally meant to curse out those dangerous ‘velocipede’ drivers. In the near future I predict that the Dutch word for car (‘auto’) will be replaced with the word ‘eikel’.

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