I still haven’t gotten around to updating my Etymology page. I keep saying I’m going to do it tomorrow and it keeps not happening.
Anyway. Today’s word is guise.
Guise showed up in the late thirteenth century meaning a fashion style—I’m totally serious, that’s what it meant. It comes from the Old French guise which meant fashion or manner, which I guess morphed into just fashion in English, and then turned into a particular appearance in the mid-seventeenth century. Old French took guise from one of the Germanic languages—which one isn’t definite—but back then, guise was wisa. Yes, with a W, and yes, that’s where the word wise comes from.
Disguise showed up a little after guise in the early fourteenth century, meaning pretty much what we use it as. The dis- prefix means away, making it an appearance “away” from your normal one—a disguise.
And that’s not all! There’s one more word that can be traced to guise, and I think you’ll laugh when you read what it is: geezer. Seriously. It showed up recently enough that we know the specific year, 1885. It’s a Cockney English word, also written as guiser, which literally meant a “mummer”. I had no idea what mummer meant before this, but apparently it’s a person who wears a mask and costume (a guise) to take part in pantomime (the reason it’s called mummer is because “mum” means silent, like pantomime). So geezer is a variation of a dialect’s word for a slang word meaning mime. And it somehow now means an old person. No, I have no idea why.