This week, I happened to look at the word protect and wondered what was up with that so here we go.
Protect showed up in the mid fifteenth century, coming from the classical Latin protectus, which is just protection. Which is kind of ironic as protection (which showed up in the mid fourteenth century) comes from protegere, to protect. Although protection did actually come to us via the Old French proteccion and Late Latin protectionem. If you want a word that kept the g in it, look at protégé. Of course, there’s a lot more than that to the protect story. Protegere is a mix of pro-, in front and tegere, to cover. To cover in front of…yeah, that sounds like protect.
There’s also detect, which showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin detectus, disclose. That happens to be the past participle of detegere, discover, a mix of de-, un or off, and tegere. So it’s to uncover…wow, it always surprises me when it makes sense.
But wait! There’s more! Tegere can be traced to the Proto Indo European (s)teg-, to cover with a roof. And that s being in there is kind of significant because it gave us the Greek word stegos, roof. Which you might recognize as the front half of stegosaurus.
It’s a good etymology day when it leads back to dinosaurs.
Not as cool as the stegosaurus thing.