Feeds

Cuil feasts on Salmon of Nonsense

Another name for knowledge backside

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Why is Cuil called Cuil? According to the free-spending founders of this Google-battling search engine/web-wide laughing stock, cuil is an "old Irish word for knowledge." But as it turns out, this is yet another example of CEO Tom Costello and company littering the web with bogus information.

In truth, cuil is an old Irish word for "rear" or "backside." As one Reg reader points out, this lends new meaning to our claim that Cuil is pants.

The startup's crack team of PR specialists floated their Cuil-means-knowledge nonsense in the widely-read press release announcing the new search engine - which is still pronounced "cool" - and most of the world believed them. But as a simple, ahem, Google search reveals, the Gaelic word for knowledge is actually "fios" - which is already taken by Verizon's high-speed fiber optic network.

Tom Costello and his army of ex-Googlers have their minds on an old Irish legend involving a young man named Finn MacCuil, but time and again, the company web site fails to realize that half a surname is not a word. Here is their addled explanation:

Cuil is the Gaelic word for both knowledge and hazel, and features prominently in ancient legend. One famous story tells of a salmon that ate nine hazelnuts that had fallen into the Fountain of Wisdom and thereby gained all the knowledge in the world. Whoever ate the salmon would acquire this knowledge.

A famous poet fished for many years on the River Boyne hoping to catch the Salmon of Knowledge. When he finally caught it, he gave it to his young apprentice Finn McCuil to prepare, warning him not to eat any. As Finn cooked the salmon he burnt his thumb and instinctively sucked it to ease the pain. And so it was Finn and not the poet who gained all the wisdom of the world. Finn went on to become one of the great heroes of Irish folklore. Any time he needed to know the answer to a question, he sucked his thumb.

As a child Tom poached salmon from the same spot on the Boyne where it is said the Salmon of Knowledge was caught.

Joseph Nagy, a professor of Celtic Languages at UCLA, points out that Costello is thinking of another word entirely. "The word for hazel (whose nut does have associations with supernatural wisdom in medieval Irish tradition) is 'coll,' plural 'cuill,'" Nagy tells us. "The latter is what Mr. Costello or his spokesperson is talking about, but in standardized Irish spelling, 'cuil' is different from 'cuill.'"

Obviously, while fishing the Boyne, Tom caught salmon of an altogether separate variety. Of course, linguistic ineptitude doesn't always translate to search engine ineptitude. But in this case it does. ®

Bootnote

For all you Reg-reading pedants out there - and we know you are myriad - the Gaelic word for backside includes an acute accent, and that means it is indeed pronounced like "cool." Of course, Costello and Co. have dropped the accent, so you could argue they're mispronouncing the name of their own search engine. But they look silly enough already.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.