Adventures in Etymology – Guide

In this Adventure in Etymology we’re looking into the origins of the word guide.

Guided Tour

Guide [ɡaɪd] means:

  • Someone who guides, especially someone hired to show people around a place or an institution and offer information and explanation, or to lead them through dangerous terrain.
  • A document or book that offers information or instruction; guidebook.

It comes from Middle English gīde / gidde / guide (guide, pilot, helmsman), from Old French guide (guide) from Old Occitan guida (guide), from guidar (to guide, lead), from Frankish *wītan (to show the way, lead), from Proto-Germanic *wītaną (to see, know, go, depart), from PIE *weyd- (to see, know) [source].

Words from the same roots include druid, history, idea, vision, wise and wit in English, gwybod (to know) in Welsh, fios (knowledge, information) in Irish and veta (to know) in Swedish [source].

The English word guide has been borrowed into various other languages, including Japanese: ガイド (gaido – guide, tour guide, conductor, guiding, leading, guidebook) [source], and Korean: 가이드 (gaideu – tour guide, guidebook, user’s manual) [source].

By the way, there’s an episode of the Celtic Pathways podcast about the word druid, and there’s a post on my Celtiadur blog about words related to knowledge in Celtic languages.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Podchaser, Podbay or Podtail and other pod places.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog.

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Celtic Pathways – Barnacle Geese

In this episode we discover the Celtic roots of words like barnacle.

Barnacles

The Proto-Celtic word *barinākos means barnacle or limpet It comes from the Proto-Celtic *barinā (rocky ground), and *-ākos (involved with, belonging to) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bairneach [ˈbˠɑːɾˠn̠ʲəx] = limpet in Irish
  • bàirneach [baːr̪ˠn̪ʲəx] = barnacle or limpet in Scottish Gaelic
  • ba(a)rnagh = barnacle in Manx
  • brennigen = limpet in Welsh
  • brenigen = limpet in Cornish
  • brennigenn = barnacle or limpet in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic roots include bernache (barnacle) in French, barnacle in English, and barnacla (brent/brant goose) in Spanish [source].

The French word bernache was borrowed from Medieval Latin barnēca (limpet), from Gaulish *barinākā. The English word barnacle arrived via Middle English barnakille, and Old Northern French bernaque (barnacle), and the Spanish word barnacla was borrowed from English.

More about words for Barnacles & Limpets and related things in Celtic languages.

You can find more connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

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Celtic Pathways – Badgered Brochures

In this episode, we unfold the possible Celtic roots of the word brochure, and find out what it has to do with badgers.

Rotten Bran

The word brochure comes from French brochure (brocade, needlework, brochure, booklet), from brocher (to stitch, sew, brocade), from Old French brochier (to jab, prod), from broche (brooch, pin), from Vulgar Latin brocca, from broccus (pointed, sharp), possibly from Gaulish *brokkos (badger), from Proto-Celtic *brokkos (badger) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • broc [bˠɾˠɔk] = badger, or a dirty-faced or a short thick-set person in Irish
  • broc [brɔxg] = badger, or a grumpy/surly person in Scottish Gaelic
  • broc(k) = badger in Manx
  • broch [broːχ] = badger in Welsh
  • brogh [bɹoːx] = badger in Cornish
  • broc’h [ˈbʁoːx] = badger in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root include brooch and brock (male badger – northern English dialects) in English, brock (badger) in Scots, broche (brooch, spit, spike, peg, pin) in French, brocco (thorn, stick) in Italian, and broco (having long projecting horns; bad-tempered) in Galician [source].

More about words for Badgers and related things in Celtic languages.

Here’s a little tune I wrote a few years ago called The Unexpected Badger / Y Mochyn Daear Annisgwyl, inspired by an encounter with a badger in Glencolmcille in Donegal in the northwest of Ireland:

You can find more connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

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Adventures in Etymology – Crotchet (♩)

In this adventure we investigate the origins of the word crotchet and related things.

Crotchet

A crotchet [ˈkɹɒtʃ.ɪt] is:

  • A musical note one beat long in 4/4 time (♩), also known as a quarter note in the USA
  • A forked support or crotch
  • A square bracket []

Historically it meant:

  • A sharp curve or crook; a shape resembling a hook
  • A hook-shaped instrument
  • A whim or a fancy.

It comes from Middle English crochet (hook, crook, hooked staff), from Old French crochet (small hook) from croc (hook, hook-shaped weapon), from Frankish *krōk- (hook), or Old Norse krókr (hook), from Proto-Germanic *krōkaz (hook) [source].

Words from the same roots include crochet and crook in English, crúca (hook, crook, clutch, claw) in Irish, and crochet (hook, square bracket, fang) and croche (quaver / eighth note) in French [source].

The musical note was apparently called a crotchet because it had a small hook on its stem in old musical notation. In modern notation it’s the quaver (eighth note) that has the hook (a.k.a. tail) ♪.

Incidentally, quaver comes from Middle English quaven, cwaiven (to tremble), from Old English *cwifer, which is probably related to cwic (alive, living, intelligent, keen) [source].

Here’s an example of some crotchets, quavers and other musical notes in action in a tune I wrote a few years ago called Dancing on Custard played by me on the harp:

You can find a score for it on MuseScore – this is not exactly the same as the recording.

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

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Celtic Pathways – Cream

In this episode we look into the Celtic roots of the word cream.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Cream comes from Middle English cre(i)me (cream, chrism [a mixture of oil and balsam]), from Old French cresme (cream), from Late Latin crāmum (cream), probably from Gaulish *crama, from Proto-Celtic *krammen (skin), from Proto-Indo-European (s)krama- [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages possibly include:

  • screamh = a deposit on surface, coating, crust, scum in Irish.
  • sgrath [sɡrah] = bark, husk, peel, skin, crust in Scottish Gaelic
  • scrooig = crust, incrustation, scab, slime, scale in Manx
  • cramen [ˈkramɛn] = scab, sore, boil, crust, layer in Welsh
  • kragh = scab in Cornish
  • kramm = grime, filth in Breton

Other words from the same Proto-Celtic root include crème (cream, cool) in French, schram (scratch, scrape, graze) in Dutch, and creme (cream [coloured]) in German.

Incidentally, the Old English word for cream was rēam [ræ͜ɑːm], which comes from Proto-Germanic *raumaz (skin, film, cream), from PIE *réwgʰmn̥ (cream). A descendent of this word, ream, is apparently still used for cream in English dialects in northern England [source], and in Scots [source].

You can find more details of words for beaks, snouts and related things on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

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Adventures in Etymology – Chair

In this Adventure we’re taking a seat to uncover the origins of the word chair.

Three Chairs

A chair [t͡ʃɛə(ɹ)/t͡ʃɛɚ] is:

  • An item of furniture used to sit on or in, comprising a seat, legs or wheels, back, and sometimes arm rests, for use by one person.

It comes from Middle English chayer/chaier(e) [ˈtʃɛi̯ər(ə)] (a comfortable seat, such as a chair or couch; a throne), from Old French chaiere (chair, seat, throne) from Latin cathedra [ˈka.tʰe.dra] (armchair, ceremonial chair, office/rank of a teacher or bishop, pulpit, chair), from Ancient Greek καθέδρα [kaˈθe.ðra] (seat, posterior, base of a column, imperial throne), from κατά [kaˈta] (down) and ἕδρα [ˈe.ðra] (seat, chair, stool, bench), from PIE *sed- (to sit) [source].

English words from the same roots include cathedra (the chair or throne of a bishop, the rank of bishop), cathedral, catastrophe, cataract and chaise (an open, horse-drawn carriage for one or two people).

Words from the same roots in other languages include cadair (chair), and cadeirlan (cathedral) in Welsh, cathaoir (chair, seat, throne) in Irish [source], and words for cathedral in many other languages [source]

The native English words for chair or seat were stool and settle. When chayer was borrowed from French their meanings changed: stool came to mean “A seat, especially for one person and without armrests.” [source], and settle, which originally meant a seat of any kind, came to mean “A long bench with a high back and arms, often with a chest or storage space underneath” [source]

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

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Celtic Pathways – Truant

In this episode we find out what links the word truant with words for beggar, wretch and related things in Celtic and other languages.

Begging

Truant [ˈtɹʊənt/ˈtɹuː.ənt] means:

  • Absent without permission, especially from school.
  • Wandering from business or duty; straying; loitering; idle, and shirking duty
  • One who is absent without permission, especially from school.

It comes from Middle English truant/truand (one who receives alms, a begger, vagabond, vagrant, scoundrel, rogue, shiftless or good-for-nothing fellow) from Old French truand (vagabond, beggar, rogue), either from Gaulish *trugan (wretch), or from Breton truant (beggar), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *terh₁- (to rub, turn, drill, pierce) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • trua [t̪ˠɾˠuə] = pity, sympathy, compassion, miserable person or wretch in Irish.
  • truaghan [truəɣan] = poor soul, poor thing or wretch in Scottish Gaelic
  • truanagh = miserable, mournful or sorrowful person in Manx
  • truan = wretch, miserable person; wretched, miserable, pathetic, poor or weak in Welsh
  • truan = sad, miserable, unfortunate or wretched in Cornish
  • truant = beggar in Breton

Other words from the same Proto-Celtic root include truand [tʁy.ɑ̃] (crook, gangster, beggar) in French [source], truhan [tɾuˈan] (scoundrel, scammer, swindler, rogue, crook, [historically] jester, buffoon) in Spanish, truão (jester) in Portuguese, and trogo (jester) in Galician [source].

Incidentally, words for truant in Celtic languages include: fánach in Irish, air falach in Scottish Gaelic, truggan in Manx, and triwant in Welsh.

What do you call the action of playing truant?

For me its skiving (off) and when you do it, you’re a skiver.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

You can find more details of these words on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

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Adventures in Etymology – Story

In this Adventure we’re telling tales about the origins of the word story.

In Honor of The Story Teller

A story [ˈstɔː.ɹi] is:

  • An account of real or fictional events.
  • A lie, fiction.
  • History (obsolete).

It comes from Middle English storie (story, history, quip), from Old French estoire (history, story, tale), from Latin historia [isˈtoɾja] (history, account, story), from Ancient Greek ἱστορία (historía – learning through research, narration of what is learned), from ἱστορέω (historéō – to learn through research, to inquire), from ἵστωρ (hístōr – the one who knows, the expert, the judge), from PIE *wéydtōr (knowner, wise person), from *weyd- (to see) [source].

English words from the same roots include guide, history, idea, idol, idyll, video, vision, visit, wise, wit and wizard [source].

In Old English the word for story was talu, which also meant tale, talk or account. It comes from Proto-West Germanic *talu (narration, report), from Proto-Germanic *talō (narration, report), from PIE *del- (to reckon, calculate) [source].

Words from the same roots include tale, talk and tell in English, taal (language) in Dutch, Zahl (number, numeral, figure) in German, and tala (to speak, tell, talk) in Swedish [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

Adventures in Etymology – Herbs

In this Adventure we’re digging up the origins of the word herb.

Herbs

A herb [hɜːb/(h)ɝb] is:

  • Any green, leafy plant, or parts thereof, used to flavour or season food.
  • A plant whose roots, leaves or seeds, etc. are used in medicine.

It comes from Middle English herbe [ˈhɛ(ː)rb(ə)] (a herbaceous plant, herbage, woody plant, tree), from Old French erbe [ˈɛr.bə] (grass, herb), from Latin herba [ˈher.ba] (grass, herbage, herb, weeds, plant), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰreh₁- (to grow, become green) [source].

The initial h sound in herb disappeared at some point, and was restored during the 15th century based on the Latin spelling. However, it wasn’t pronounced by many people until the 19th century, and still isn’t by many speakers, especially in North America.

Words from the same roots include grow, green, graze, gray/grey in English, herbe (grass) in French, erba (grass, herb) in Italian, and hierba (herb, grass) in Spanish [source].

Incidentally, this is the 100th episode of this series, which started in March 2021. You can find a list of all the words covered on Radio Omniglot. If you would like me to look into any words that I haven’t already covered, in English or other languages, you can leave your suggestions there as well.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Land

In this episode we’re looking into words for land and related things.

Llangwyfan church Eglwys Llangwyfan

The Proto-Celtic word *landā means (open) land, and comes from the Proto-Indo-European *lendʰ- (land, heath) [Source].

Related words in Celtic language include:

  • lann [l̪ˠaun̪ˠ] = land, ground, site; building, house, church (obsolete/archaic) in Irish
  • lann [l̪ˠaun̪ˠ] = enclosure, enclosed area, precinct; repository, house or church in Scottish Gaelic
  • lann = enclosure, habitation in Manx
  • llan [ɬan] = (parish) church, monastery, heaven, churchyard, enclosure or yard in Welsh
  • lann [lan] = yard in Cornish
  • lann = moor, heath or moorland in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Gaulish and Latin, include lande (moor, moorland, heath) in French, landa (a (sandy) plain) in Spanish, landa (country, field, piece of land) in Basque [source].

The (archaic) English word laund [lɔːnd] (a grassy plain or pasture, especially one surround by woodland; a glade) possibly comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Middle English, Old French, Latin and Gaulish, or from the Proto-Germanic *landą (land), which comes from the same PIE root [Source].

Other words from the same PIE root include land in English, land (land, country) in Dutch, Land (country, state, province, land) in German, land (land, country, nation, state, ground, earth) in Swedish, lado (uncultivated, wild land) in Czech and ледина [ˈlɛdina] (untilled land) in Macedonian [source].

Incidentally, the new theme tune is one I wrote recently called the Tower of Cats. You can here the whole of it on Instagram.

You can be find more details of words for Land, parishes and enclosures in Celtic languages on the Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.