On today’s adventure we are looking at the origins of the word session, because this afternoon I took part in a music session in a friend’s garden, and I thought I’d find out where the word comes from.
Session comes from the Old French session (sitting, (court) session), from the Latin sessiō (a sitting, a seat, loitering), from sedeō (I sit), from the Proto-Indo-European *sed- (to sit) [source].
Words for to sit in Romance languages, such as sentar in Spanish and Portuguese, asseoir in French, come from the same Latin root [source], and from same the Proto-Indo-European root we get English like assess, dissident, insidious, obsess, possess, reside, seat, sedentary, sedate, sit and siege [source].
On today’s adventure we are looking at the origins of the word bread, which comes from the Middle English word bre(e)d [brɛːd] (bread, pastry, food, nourishment), from the Old English brēad [bræ͜ɑːd] (bit, piece, morsel, crumb, bread). from the Proto-Germanic *braudą [ˈbrɑu̯.ðɑ̃] (fragment, piece, bread), from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰrew(h₁-) (to boil, seethe) and Proto-Indo-European *bʰera- (to cut, scratch, split, rub) [source].
A more common Old English word for bread, and loaf, was hlāf [xlɑːf], which became loaf in modern English. The word lord is related as it comes from hlāfweard/hlāford [ˈxlɑːfˌwæ͜ɑrd/ˈl̥ɑː.vorˠd] (“bread guard”), as is the word lady, which comes from hlæfdige [ˈl̥æːvˌdiː.je] (“bread kneader”) [source].
Today we are looking at the origins of the word music, which is something that is quite important to me as I like to sing, play various musical instruments, and to write songs and tunes.
Music comes from the Middle English word musyke [ˈmiu̯ziːk], which was borrowed from the Anglo-Norman musik/musike, which came from the Old French musique [myˈzikə], from the Latin mūsica [ˈmuː.si.ka].
This was borrowed from the Ancient Greek μουσική (mousikḗ) [moː.si.kɛ̌ː], which means ‘music, poetry or art’, and comes from Μοῦσα (Moûs – Muse), inspirational Ancient Greek goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. Of uncertain origin, possibly from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- (to think).
Other words from the same Greek root include Muse, museum and mosaic.
In Old English the word for music (and also joy, frenzy and ecstasy) was drēam [dræ͜ɑːm], from the Proto-West Germanic *draum (dream), from the Proto-Germanic *draumaz [ˈdrɑu̯.mɑz] (dream), from the Proto-Indo-European *dʰrewgʰ- (to deceive, injure, damage). The word dream comes from the same root.
As we are in the month of April, I thought I’d look at the origins of that word.
April comes from the Middle English apprile, which was originally aueril, from the Old French avrill, but was re-Latinised to make it like the Latin word Aprīlis (of the month of the goddess Venus), which possibly came from the Etruscan 𐌀𐌐𐌓𐌖 (apru), from the Ancient Greek Ἀφροδίτη (Aphrodítē), the goddess of love and beauty [source].
The originally Old English word for April was ēastermōnaþ, or “Eastermonth”, named after the goddess Ēastre, whose name is related to a Proto-Indo-European word for dawn and east (*h₂ews-). The word Eastermonth also exists in modern English, but is only used in poetry [source].
As it is Easter – Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it, or Happy Sunday to those who don’t – I thought I’d look into the origins of an important Easter-related word, no not Easter, but egg.
The word egg comes the Middle English egge, from Old Norse egg, from Proto-Germanic *ajją [ˈɑj.jɑ̃], from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ōwyóm (egg), probably from *h₂éwis (bird) [source].
Egg, with the same spelling, is also found in Icelandic, Faroese and Norwegian, and with different spelling in Swedish and Danish, pronounced slightly different in each language – egg [ˈɛkː] in Icelandic, egg [ɛkː] in Faroese, egg [ɛɡ] in Norwegian, ägg [ɛɡː] in Swedish, and in æg [ˈɛˀɡ̊] Danish. In Dutch and German, words for egg are like the original English word: Ei [aɪ̯] in German and ei [ɛi̯] in Dutch [source].
The originally English word for egg was ey [ei] from the Old English ǣġ [æːj], from the same Proto-Germanic root as egg. It was used until the 16th century, when it was replaced with egg, possibly because it got confused with the word eye, as in the thing you see with [source].
Here’s a video I made of this information:
Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].
On today’s adventure we are looking at the origins of the word clock, as today is the day when clocks are put forward an hour, at least here in the UK.
So as we leave Greenwich Mean Time and sail off into British Summer time – appropriately it’s lovely wet and windy day – let us consider the clock, a device for measuring and indicating the time.
The word clock comes from the Middle Dutch clocke (bell, clock), from the Old Northern French cloque (bell), from the Medieval Latin clocca (bell), probably from a Gaulish word, from the Proto-Celtic *klokkos (bell), which is either onomatopeic, or from the Proto-Indo-European *klek (to laugh or cackle). From the same root we get the Welsh cloch (bell, prize, feat, clock) and related words in other Celtic languages.
Adventures in Etymology is a new series on Radio Omniglot that I started in March 2021. Each week I explore the origins of a word and find out which other words it’s related to. I make a short video each Sunday, and thought I’d post the audio and the script here.
On today’s adventure we are following the word shanty down the etymological rabbit hole. Sea shanties seem to be quite popular at the moment, and the word shanty, as in a rhythmical work song original sung by sailors, comes from the French word chantez (sing), the imperative form of the verb chanter (to sing), from the Old French chanter (to pray, sing, retell or recount), from the Latin cantāre (to enchant, bewitch, forwarn, play (music, roles), recite, sing), from canō (I crow, foretell, play, sing, celebrate, chant), from the Proto-Italic *kanō (to sing), from the Proto-Indo-European *keh₂n- (to sing).
Words in many European languages for to sing come from the same root, including cantar (to sing) in Spanish and Portuguese, cantare (to sing) in Italian, canu (to sing) in Welsh and canadh (to sing) in Irish, and such English words as accent, chant, enchant, incantation, recant.