Monday, April 23, 2012


Well, nothing like a blog for dredging up memories and thoughts.  This started as a questioning thought: what is the actual scientific meaning of the prefix corbo- as used in "Corbomite" from Star Trek (Original Series episode "The Corbomite Maneuver")?  Wouldn't that make a good trivia question?  Feel free.

Sounds like a variant of carbo- doesn't it.  Carbohydrate, carborundum.  Not so; it appears to be completely made up.

Here is a complete list of words in my Webster's Unabridged starting with corb-, categorized:

Rooted in Latin corbis (basket):
  corb, a basket used in coal mines
  corbeil, a basket (of dirt or flowers) on a wall
  Corbicula, a genus of mollusks
  corbiculum, pollen basket of a bee

From Hebrew korban (offering) from karab (to offer):
  corban, an offering to God
  corbana, a church treasury

From Latin corvus (raven; shape of its beak):
  corbe, curved
  corbel, (to form or add a) curved architectural bracket
  corbel(l)ing, making of or series of corbels
  corbel step, a corbiestep
  corbel table, any piece of architecture using corbels
  corbet, a corbel
  corbie/corby, Scottish for crow, raven
  corbie crow, the carrion crow
  corbie gable, a gable with corbiesteps
  corbiestep, a step forming part of a roof

As for the -ite suffix, possibly relevant entries:
  (f) salt or ester of an acid whose name ends in -ous (corbomous acid?)
  (g) mineral or rock (discovered by a person named Corbom?)

Oh well, I guess Balok was not familiar with the Federation linguistic banks.  So how did he speak English so well?  :-)

This appears to be the closest real-world inspiration for the term:

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