Another redo this
week. I am totally out of original ideas. This one is almost exactly ten years
old, so maybe it could use another looking at. Tear has two
different meanings, to rip something apart and what happens when you cry. The
crying one showed up as a verb in the early fifteenth century and a noun sometime before that, coming from the Old Englishtear, which is
just tear, so nothing shocking here. It’s
from the Proto
yes, that’s a g in there. That can be traced to the Proto Indo Europeandakru-, which
means… I don’t know. Weirdly, the etymology dictionary doesn’t say. Well, when
a language is more than six thousand years old, you’re bound to lose a few
definitions. The other tear showed
up as a noun in the mid seventeenth century and a verb before that, coming from
the Old English teran, to rip apart.
It’s from the Proto Germanic teran,
from the Proto Indo European root der-,
to split, flay, or peel. Unlike dakru-,
der- shows up in a lot more places. Derm—as in skin—is
actually from the same place, and I can only assume it’s because skin peels.
Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? Tart is actually also
from der-. But not the pastry, which is actually from the PIE root terkw-, to twist.
Or the derogatory word for a woman, which is from the pastry (well, maybe). No,
I mean tart as in how something might taste. Which is not related to the other
definitions at all. That tart showed up in the mid sixteenth century,
and one theory is it’s from the Old English teart,
painful, sharp, or severe, and I can see tart coming from that. Anyway, teart
is from the Germanic ter-t-, which is
from der-, and no, I don’t get how it went from peel to sharp. Who knows? Maybe
it’s not even related at all. But there is another
word that’s most definitely from sharp and I’m way too amused to share it with
you: turd. Yes, that turd. It comes from the Old English tord, from the Proto
Germanic turdam. That word is from
the past participle of der-, drtom,
and it’s thought that because turds are split off from people (XD at that
image), and split is one of the definitions of der-, we have turd. Yes, this was an
appropriate note to leave off on before Thanksgiving break. I think we can all
agree it was clearly a mistake not to go into more depth on tear the first
time. Sources Online Etymology Dictionary University of Texas at Austin
Linguistic Research Center University of Texas at San Antonio’s page on Proto Indo European
language Tony Jebson’s
page on the Origins of
Old English Old English-English Dictionary
I was going to do this one a while
ago but never got around to it. But now I am! More numbers! Let’s see where the
names come from.
Ten Ten comes from the Old Englishten,
so we’re not looking at any major changes. It’s from the Proto
Germanictehun, from the Proto Indo Europeandekm-, which meant ten. Of course that’s a part of a lot of other numbers, some of which make sense,
like deca-, deci-, and -teen, but there are also a weird
number of other words that you wouldn’t think it would be related to, like
dean. Seriously, dean, as in the dean of a college.
Why? Because it once meant the head of a group of ten. And dekm- is also the
source for most of the other numbers we’re looking at today.
Hundred Hundred comes from the Old English hundred, so once again we’re not looking at anything crazy here. It’s from the Proto
Germanic hunda-ratha, and the ratha-
means reckoning or number, while the hunda- part is actually from hundam, which also meant
hundred—hunda-ratha meant hundred number. It’s from the Proto Indo European km-tom, no I don’t know how to pronounce
that even though I badly want to, and that word is from another, dkm-tom-. And that dkm- is from dekm-.
We just kept dropping letters there. Seriously, first the E, which is a vowel,
so you can still figure the word out, but then the D, and then between the PIE
and Proto German the K became an H. What were they thinking?
Thousand Thousand comes from the Old English þusend,
which is just thousand with a thorn
in place of a th. It’s from the Proto Germanic thusundi, and beyond that, things get a little murky. It’s thought
to be a mix of Proto Indo European roots, teue-,
to swell, and our old friend dekm-,
making the word something like “swollen-hundred”, I’m not kidding, that’s what
the etymology dictionary translates it as. Basically, a swollen-hundred was a
great multitude, in the same way we might hyperbolically say there are thousands
of something to express that there’s uncountably a lot.
Million And now for a word that actually
isn’t related to all of these. Well, kind of. Million has an actual time frame
for its arrival, having shown up in the late fourteenth century as milioun. It’s from the Old Frenchmillion, which is from the Italian millione, which figuratively meant a
“great thousand”. See, in Italian, mille
means a thousand,
as it does in classical Latin.
Because the Italians called a million a great thousand, we have million in English—as
well as billion, trillion,
and anything else we want to stick in front of -illion.
again redoing an old post, because I really don’t feel like thinking up a new
idea. Can you blame me?
think the reason I first looked at this word was because it bugged me that it
had two different meanings, was pronounced two different ways, but spelled the
same. Yes, stupid things bother me. You should be well aware of this by now. Frankly,
looking at the etymology makes me even more annoyed because the reason those
two words are spelled the same is nothing but coincidence.
the thing you go in a room through—showed up in the early sixteenth century,
from the Middle
from the verb entrer, to enter.
Enter, the verb, showed up earlier, in the late thirteenth century,
as entren, and while it meant enter
as we’d use it, it also meant to join a group or society. That’s from entrer,
which is from the classical
which is just to enter.
It’s from intra, within,
which can be traced to the Proto Indo Europeanenter,
between or among. Wow. Through all those centuries and languages, it goes from
enter in PIE to enter in English. We actually got something right!
for the other entrance, to put in a trance, it showed up in the late sixteenth
century, a mix of the prefix en-, put in, and trance, which I suppose is why the word is entrance. Trance showed up in the late fourteenth century,
and in addition to the meaning we use it as, it also meant a state of extreme
dread—so I guess that means I’m entranced right now. It’s from the Old Frenchtranse,
fear of coming evil, a coma, or the state of dying. That’s from the verb transir, which meant to die or to be
numb with fear, from the classical Latin transire,
to cross over.
It’s actually another prefix, with trans- meaning across or beyond and -ire meaning to go,
which can be traced from the Proto Indo European ei-, also to go. To trance
is “to go across”. To entrance is to make
someone go across.
one really turned out to be oddly appropriate for the times…
Frigging hell. What
can I even say about this month? It was such a nightmare and I’m betting this
month is going to be even worse, for obvious reasons.
I don’t even remember
what I was supposed to be working on last month.
October Goals 1. Find some beta readers for my
latest WIP. I hope some of my friends are still available. Yeah, I did
this. It’s already been really helpful. Thanks!
2. Update my blog’s etymology page.
I really should have done this last month! I did this,
although the new posting format made it really difficult. I used to be able to
paste it in from Excel and it had nice, even spacing between the words. Now
that no longer works, and I can’t get rid of the double spacing in the word
list. So yeah. That’s a thing.
3. Work on something. Anything. This grew
increasingly difficult as the month went on. Shocking.
I don’t know if I’d
call this a success, if only because nothing about October seems successful.
November Goals 1. Keep working on
notes from my beta readers.
Though with the pandemic, this should be nice and subdued.