"There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction."-Salvador Dali
Question #8982 posted on 10/19/2004 4:05 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Why is your grandfather's brother your great-uncle? Shouldn't he be your grand-uncle?

- pippin galadriel moonchild

A: Dear pippin,

Yeah, probably. Or the father of one of your parents should be your great-father. From what I can find in the OED, it looks like both prefixes were used pretty much interchangeably for a while--I found entries for both "great sire" and "grandsire." Eventually the usage settled down and we somehow ended up with great- for one and grand- for the other. But you can always go on a personal quest to reform the language.

- Katya