This should be
the last installment of this series about words descended from the Proto Indo European weid
- (to see
And It. Gets. WEIRD
showed up in the late fourteenth century
meaning an archetype or a “concept of a thing in the mind of God”. It didn’t
actually mean what we’d call an idea until the early seventeenth century. It
comes from the classical Latin
, which could mean idea
which makes sense since that’s where ideal
comes from too. Latin (unsurprisingly) took the word from Greek, where it came from the ideal
in Platonic philosophy, which is so complicated and I’m not getting into it.
Basically it means an archetype from which imperfect copies come from. Anyway,
the Greek idea comes from idein
see, which is from the Proto Indo European wid-es-ya-
which is from weid-. I guess an ideal is something you see in your mind. There
are a lot of other words related to idea. The prefix ideo-, of course, which
came from the Greek version of the word.
And the word idol
also comes from weid-, although down a very different path than its homophone
there. It showed up in the mid thirteenth century
from the Old
, idol, and classical
, which could mean idol
or image or even profit. It’s also from a Greek word, eidolon, also meaning idol
which could be either a mental image or a physical one. It’s from another Greek
word, eidos, meaning kind
or type or likeness.
That’s actually where we get the suffix -oid from [https://www.etymonline.com/word/-oid].
So, like, in humanoid, the -oid there means like/think like a—it’s a thing like
a human. And that’s from eidos, which is from the Proto Indo European weid-es
, from weid-. To see. I guess you
can see how something is like something else?
Here’s a word
you won’t be expecting: envy. It showed up in the late thirteenth century
from the Old French envie
classical Latin invidia
Also a homophone for a tech company that makes pretty good graphics processors.
Anyway, invidia is from the verb invidere
a mix of the prefix in- (upon
which has been mentioned in previous installments as meaning to see
and from weid-. You see something, you’re envious of it???
Making even less
sense is the word prudent. Yes, it’s really one of these words. It showed up in
the late fourteenth century
Old French prudent
, with knowledge or
deliberate, and classical Latin prudentem
wise or knowing
It’s actually a contraction of providens
from the verb providere
, to provide for
or prepare or look ahead. The pro- means ahead [https://www.etymonline.com/word/pro-],
and the videre, to see. To see ahead is to be prudent. And yes, that’s where
comes from, as well as
. All that because Latin
decided to contract a word that wasn’t even longer than the contraction.
I don’t even
know what’s real anymore.