Friday, April 29, 2016

A-to-Z Challenge: Y

We’re almost done! Today we’re looking at youth. Don’t you miss that? I know I do.


Youth comes from the Old English geoguÞ, which means young people/warriors) or childhood and is pronounced “jeoguth”. It’s also related to geong, young, which comes from the Proto Germanic jugunthi-, a combination of the Proto Indo European yeu (vigor) and the Proto Germanic suffix -itho, which was a suffix that was put onto nouns like depth and strength.

So, how did it get from a word that begins with a Y to a word that begins with a J to a G and back to a Y? Well, the reason for Y to J is lost to history (it might have to do with the fact that J used to be pronounced like a Y but I’m not sure), and J and the G somewhat make the same sound so that explains that. But we do know what happened to get it from G back to Y. Back in the middle ages, youth began with a Yogh, which had the symbol Ȝ and was pronounced like a combination of Y and G. Then English dropped Yogh as a letter and youth needed something in order to spell it, so they went with Y. Which means that it went all the way back around to the letter it originally started with.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English


  1. A word with some closure :) I am trying to imagine a combination of y and g and failing.
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  2. Gotta love a word that goes full circle like that. :)

  3. Jeoguth in its Old English form looks like the sort of word a cat would cough up.

  4. That word had quiet the journey!

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  5. How can you miss your youth? You're still young. And youth and young seem to be popular words today.

  6. J here, of the #atozchallenge Arlee Bird's A to Z Ambassador Team.
    Have you enjoyed the challenge? Did you hop to other blogs? The end of the alphabet here! Reflections sign up is May 9-- mark a calendar.
    My blog's giveaway is still going. I'm encouraging everyone to visit more stops.
    Fascinating! I love this history. Great research and wonderful post.


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