Thursday, April 9, 2015

A-to-Z Challenge: H

Today I’ve gone with hearth, a word I’ve always hated because I think it should be pronounced like earth with an h in front not heart with a th on the end.

I get mad about weird things.

Hearth comes from the Old English heorð (the ð just means th), with the same meaning. It comes from the West Germanic hertho, burning place (don’t-make-joke-don’t-make-joke) and the Proto Indo European kerta, which comes from ker, meaning heat or fire. That ker gave us carbon of all words. I can’t even begin to explain what’s weird about that. But seriously? K to H? I’ve come across tons of letter switches, but that definitely makes the least amount of sense (and that includes the s/r thing from glare/glass).

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English


  1. So from ker we got carbon and hearth? That is odd.

  2. Whenever someone says hearth I always think of the nursery rhyme Little Polly Flinders even though it never mentions the word - I think I must have learned that sitting among the cinders meant sitting near the hearth or something :)
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  3. When I was little, and learn "hearth" for the first time, I thought it was a neat word. :)

  4. I've heard it pronounced both ways many times. I didn't know one was correct over the other.

  5. I bet carbon comes from what's left after a fire.

  6. I hadn't thought that it should rhyme with earth before, I can see why you wouldn't be fond of it for not doing so :)


  7. I've always found it a comfortable word- perhaps because I so like a good fireplace.

  8. So, that weird letter is thorn? Is there a keyboard shortcut to make thorn? I've become quite fond of that letter.

  9. Yeah, carbon and hearth aren't very much alike. Hmm.

  10. I love the origin of words, it's a little touch of time travel. K to H is odd. I guess it would depend on the accent, or a bunch of crazy undereducated townsfolk ;)

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