In the two years since I wrote about the ubiquitous — and, in my opinion, unnecessary — prefix uber, it use seems to have diminished considerably, probably because the word now inevitably evokes the name of the company offering ride “sharing” via smartphone.

When I first read about Uber, I thought it would be pronounced “yoober”, as would be normal with English words beginning with an open-syllable U (utopia, use, urine, uvula…). But once I heard it talked about, it was invariably as “oober”. Since I couldn’t see any immediate connection with über, I concluded that it is meant to be read as a Latin word.

In Latin, uber can be an adjective meaning ‘fertile’ or a noun meaning ‘(female) breast’. For that matter, I don’t quite see what either one has to do with transportation.

But I look forward to the day when some app will be created that outclasses Uber, and will be referred to in English-language media as the über-Uber. Or, in real English, super-breast.


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