Word Origins

By John Ayto

The typical modern English speaker is aware 50,000 phrases. but stripped right down to its origins, this it sounds as if large vocabulary is in truth a lot smaller, derived from Latin, French and the Germanic languages. it really is expected that each yr, 800 neologisms are further to the English language: acronyms (nimby), mixed phrases (motel), and people taken from overseas languages (savoir-faire). specified by an A-Z layout with certain go references, and written in a method that's either authoritative and available, observe Origins is a beneficial historic consultant to the English language.

Show description

Quick preview of Word Origins PDF

Show sample text content

It installed its first recorded visual appeal within the Provençal noun acolada, which was once borrowed into French as accolade and thence made its manner into English. A reminiscence of the unique literal that means is preserved within the use of accolade to consult the ceremonial notable of a sword on a brand new knight’s shoulders; the most present feel ‘congratulatory expression of approval’ is a later improvement. ‘ COUTURE, stitch, SUTURE accretion see CRESCENT collect [16] acquire was once borrowed accretion gather from Latin accumulāre, a compound verb shaped from the prefix ad-, right here that means ‘in addition’, and cumulāre ‘heap up’ (the resource of English cumulative).

Stress deter see TERROR detergent [17] A detergent is actually deter detergent anything that ‘wipes away’. The observe comes WordOrigins. fm web page 161 Thursday, August eleven, 2005 1:58 PM 161 from dētergent-, the current participial stem of Latin dētergēre, a compound verb shaped from dē- ‘away’ and tergēre ‘wipe’ (its previous participle produced English terse). English detergent initially intended easily ‘cleansing agent’ (used quite in a scientific or surgical context); the explicit program to a cleaner made of man made chemicals (as against cleaning soap, that's made of fat and lye) is a 20thcentury improvement.

A few have been Gaulish in final foundation. Gaulish was once the Celtic language spoken in what's now France ahead of French killed it off. however the maximum majority of those French imports have been descended from past Latin ancestors. It was once Latin itself, including Greek, that shaped the following wave of lexical innovation in English. With the Renaissance got here a revival in classical scholarship, and within the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 1000's of Latin and Greek phrases have been naturalized into English – between them equipment, zone, obstacle, greatest, poem, and pollen, to call not more than a minute fraction.

The parasitic -t first seemed within the 14th century. age [13] Age has gone through massive transmutations and abbreviations considering that its beginnings in Latin. Its speedy resource in English is outdated French aage, which was once the fabricated from a hypothetical Vulgar Latin shape *aetāticum (the t is preserved in Provençal atge). This was once according to Latin aetāt- (stem of aetās), which was once a shortening of aevitās, which in flip got here from aevum ‘lifetime’. This entered English in additional recognizable shape in medieval, primeval, and so on; it truly is with regards to Greek aión ‘age’, from which English will get aeon [17], and it may be traced again to an analogous root that produced (via age WordOrigins.

Culture, TREASON betroth see actual among [OE] the second one syllable of among is betroth among with regards to and dual; the note as an entire turns out to symbolize an unique word that means anything like ‘by each’. previous English betwēonum displays a Germanic *twēon, decreased from an past *twikhnai; this represents the bottom *twīkh- (from which we get ) plus an -n suffix with it seems that a few kind of distributive functionality. The similar betwixt comes finally WordOrigins. fm web page fifty nine Thursday, August eleven, 2005 1:58 PM fifty nine bier from Germanic *twa ‘two’ and the aspect *-isk- ‘-ish’.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.43 of 5 – based on 15 votes