Smoking Funky Radio

Radio / Rundfunk

The word radio is based on the verb to radiate, which comes from the Latin radius, which means stick rod; beam, ray (of light); shuttle (of loom); rod for drawing figures (in mathematics), radius of circle; long olive (plant); spoke (of wheel).

Radio or radiotelegraphy, the wireless transmission of signals through space by electromagnetic radiation of a frequency below that of visible light, was originally called wireless telegraphy, which was abbreviated to wireless in the UK. The word radio was first used in the sense of wireless transmission in 1897 by Édouard Branly, a French physicist, as part of radioconductor. The first commercial broadcasts in the USA started in the 1920s and radio was the word used for them.

The word radio, or something similar is used in many of the world’s languages, however there are some exceptions: in German, for example, radio is Rundfunk [ˈʀʊntfʊŋk], although in Swiss German Radio is used. Rund means around or round, and Funk means radio or wireless, and funken means to cable; to radio; to send; to transmit (via radio). A related word is Hörfunk [ˈhøːɐ̯fuŋk], which means broadcasting: Hör comes from hören (to hear/listen),

In Mandarin Chinese radio is 收音机 [收音機 – shōuyīnjī] (‘recive sound machine’), in Hmong it’s xov tooj cua, in Icelandic it’s útvarp (‘out throw’ ?) and a radio is viðtæki (‘wide machine/apparatus’ ?).

Are there other languages in which the word for radio is not a variant on radio?

The English word funk, as in the style of music, or the unpleasant smell, comes from the Norman French funquer/funquier (“to smoke, reek”), from the Old Northern French fungier (“to smoke”), from the Vulgar Latin fūmicāre, an alteration of the Latin fūmigāre (“to smoke, fumigate”).

Sources: Wikipedia, Collins Latin Dictionary, Wiktionary, Dictionary, Icelandic Online Dictionary

This entry was posted in English, Etymology, German, Language, Words and phrases.

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