Monday, 19 September 2011

The Burrito Bureaucracy

A couple of weeks ago, I sat at my desk eating a burrito, without realising that there was any connection between the two.

Burrito is Spanish for little donkey. Apparently this is because a burrito looks like a donkey's ear (and as you'll know from a previous post donkeys' ears are so long that they spawned the phrase donkeys [y]ears).

Anyway, a burrito is a little burro and burro comes from Spanish burrico, and burrico comes from Latin burricus meaning horse, and burricus probably comes from burrus meaning reddish brown.

But that same Latin burrus went into French as bure meaning dark brown. The French, being a literate lot, started to cover their writing desks with dark brown cloth. These desks became known as bureaus. Soon the office that contained the desk came to be known as a bureau, and when the office and officialdom rule, you have a bureaucracy.

And hence the bureaucratic Flying Burrito Brothers.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to know that bureaucrats and donkeys have somthing in common linguistically as well.