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Rolling Stone

Posted by Israel Cohen on May 13, 2001

In Reply to: Rolling Stone posted by Jorge Romero on March 23, 2001

"Cohen, Izzy"

8:31 AM

Paul A. Carson wrote:

> Today we have an agreement that this set of metaphors
> will be accepted to communicate this set of ideas. ...
> What happens when this agreement expires?

"A rolling stone gathers no moss."

When this saying arose, "moss" meant possessions
and "gathering moss" was good. Today, gathering
moss sounds more like vegetating, and a mossback
is a reactionary with antiquated ideas. So, today,
"gathering moss" doesn't sound like such a good thing.

Paul also wrote:
> What if the original text were ancient Greek and it gets
> to the point when the there are no speakers of ancient
> Greek left anywhere in the world and no one learns the
> language. Is there any meaning in the text?

I suspect the original "rolling stone" was literally
a gypsy on (wagon) wheels. The "stone" sounds like
Hebrew TZi3oNi = gypsy (where 3 = aiyin, which
has lost its velar G/K sound). Giving this aiyin
its original sound makes this word cognate with
Tzigane = gypsy (music). Of course, today, "rolling
stone" sounds more like a rock group (pun probably
intended by that group).