Adventures in Etymology – Nonchalant

In this Adventure we’re calmly looking into the origins of the word nonchalant.

Isabelle

Nonchalant [ˈnɒn.ʃəl.ənt / ˌnɑn.ʃəˈlɑnt] means:

  • casually calm and relaxed
  • indifferent, unconcerned, behaving as if detached

It comes from the French nonchalant (indolent, cool, relaxed) from the Old French nonchaloir (to have no importance, indifference), from non- (not) and chaloir (to heat, bother, concern), from the Latin calēre (to matter or care) from caleō (I am warm or hot, I glow) [source].

Words from the same Latin roots include calorie, cauldron, chowder, caldera, coddle and scald in English, calor (heat) in Spanish, and chaleur (heat, warmth, fervour) in French [source].

If you can be nonchalant, can you be chalant? Well, the word chalent does exist, at least in informal use, and means careful, attentive or concerned [source], or concerning, frustrating and possibly hostile [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.

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Celtic Pathways – Crooked and Twisted

In this episode we’re looking at some crooked and twisted words.

Spiral staircase in Conwy / Grisiau troellog yng Nghonwy

In Proto-Celtic, the word *kambos meant twisted, crooked or bent. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European word *kh₂em- (to arch, bend, curve), from *(s)ḱh₂embos (crooked) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • cam [kaumˠ] = bend, bent, crooked, crookedness, fraud; to bend, crook, distort in Irish
  • cam [kaum] = bent, crooked, awry, not straight, squinty, wry, one-eyed; bend, curve, trick in Scottish Gaelic
  • cam = bent, crooked, deceitful, intricate, knotty, perverse, rakish, wry, wrong in Manx
  • cam [kam] = crooked, bent, hunch-backed, distorted, wry, bowed, curved, looped, winding in Welsh
  • kamm = bent, crooked, erroneous, error, wrong in Cornish
  • kamm = angled, bent, bend in Breton

The Proto-Celtic word *kambos is the root of the Galician words camba (doorjamb of an oven, handmill), cambar (to bend), cambiar (to change) [source]. The word cambiar (to change) in Spanish and Portuguese, and the word change in English come from the same Celtic roots [source].

*kambos is possibly also the root of the French word as camus [ka.my] (flat-nosed, snub-nosed) [source], which was borrowed into English as camous/camoys (flat, depressed, crooked nose – used until the 19th century) [source].

The English word kam (crooked, awry) was borrowed from the Welsh word cam, but is no longer used [source].

The name Campbell comes from the Scottish Gaelic Caimbeul, from cam (crooked) and beul (mouth) [source], while Cameron comes from Camshròn, from cam (crooked) and sròn (nose) [source].

More details of crooked words in Celtic languages can be found 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.

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 – Clan

In this episode we’re looking a the word clan and related things in Celtic languages.

Dufftown Highland Games

The word clan in English means a group of people descended from a common ancestor, a traditional social group of families in the Scottish Highlands having a common hereditary chieftain, or any group defined by family ties with some sort of political unity [source].

It was borrowed from clann in Irish or Scottish Gaelic, which come from the Old Irish cland (children, family, offspring, plant), from the Old Welsh plant (children, young people, offspring), from the Latin planta (vegetable, sprout, shoot, twig, shrub), possibly from the Proto-Italic *plāntā, from the Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂- (flat) or from the Proto-Italic *plānktā, from the Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂k-/*pleh₂g- (to strike, fast) [source].

Related words in the Celtic languages include:

  • clann [kl̪ˠɑun̪ˠ/kl̪ˠɑːn̪ˠ/kl̪ˠan̪ˠ] = children, offspring, race, descendents, clan, followers, plant, lock (of hair),
    and planda [pl̪ˠaun̪ˠd̪ˠə] = plant, scion in Irish
  • clann [kl̪ˠaun̪ˠ] = children, offspring, progeny, clan, lock of hair, curl
    and plannt [pl̪ˠãũn̪ˠd] = plant in Scottish Gaelic
  • cloan [klɔːn] = children, descendent, family circle,
    and plant = plant in Manx
  • plant [plant] = children, young people, offspring, progeny, descendents, followers, disciples, servants in Welsh
  • plans = plant in Cornish
  • plantenn = plant in Breton

The English word plant comes from the same roots, via Middle English, Old English and Latin [source], as does the word plantain, via Middle English, Anglo-Norman, Old French and Latin [source].

The word clan was borrowed from English into various other languages, including Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. It even ended up in Turkish, via French. So the Turkish word klan arrived via French, English, Irish/Scottish Gaelic, Old Irish, Old Welsh, Latin, Proto-Italic and Proto-Indo-European – quite a journey! [source]

More details about these words on 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.

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 – Step

In this episode we are tracking the origins of the word step.

Doors Open Day 2018 - McEwan Hall 017

The Proto-Celtic word for step is *kanxsman. It comes from the Proto-Celtic *kengeti (to step), from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)keng- (to limp, walk lamely) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • céim [ceːmʲ] = step, degree, rank, pass, ravine, difficulty in Irish
  • ceum [kʲeːm] = step, footstep, pace, tread, path, degree, measure in Scottish Gaelic
  • keim = phase, step, degree, stage, standard, stile, grade in Manx
  • cam = step, stride, pace, leap, foot-fall, footprint, trace, progress in Welsh
  • kamm = pace, step, track in Cornish
  • kamm = pace, walk, tread, (foot)step in Breton

In Gaulish step was *kamman, which was borrowed into Latin as cammīnus (way), and became camino (track, path, road, way, route, journey) and caminar (to walk, stroll, travel) in Spanish, caminho (way, road, path) in Portugese, cammino (walk, path, way) and camminare (to walk, work (function)) in Italian, and chemin (path, way, pathway) in French [source].

The Proto-Celtic word *kengets (warrior) comes from the same PIE root, and became cing [kʲiŋʲɡʲ] (warrior, champion, hero), and cingid [kʲiŋʲɡʲiðʲ] (to step, proceed, go) in Old Irish, cinn [ciːnʲ] (to surpass, overcome, be too much for) in modern Irish, and cing [kʲiŋʲgʲ] (warrior, champion) in Scottish Gaelic. The word king in English comes from a different root – from the Proto-Germanic *kuningaz (king) [source].

The English word shank (the part of the leg between the knee and the ankle) also comes from the same PIE root, via the Old English sċanca [ˈʃɑn.kɑ] (leg) and the Proto-Germanic *skankô [ˈskɑŋ.kɔːː] (that which is bent, shank, thigh) [source].

More details about these words on 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.

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 – Wool

In this episode we are teasing out the origins of the word wool.

Wool

The Proto-Celtic word for wool is *wlanā. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂wĺ̥h₁neh₂ (wool), from *h₂welh₁- (hair, wool) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • olann [ˈɔlˠən̪ˠ] = wool, woolly hair, mop of hair; woollen in Irish
  • olann [ˈɔl̪ˠən̪ˠ] = wool (usually while on sheep) in Scottish Gaelic
  • ollan = wool in Manx
  • gwlân = wool, down, soft hair, grass, herbage; woollen, soft, made of wool in Welsh
  • gwlan = wool in Cornish
  • gloan = wool in Breton

The English word flannel (a soft cloth material originally woven from wool, washcloth) comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Gaulish, Old French, Anglo-Norman and Middle English. This was reborrowed into French, and from French into other languages such as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish [source].

Words for wool in other European languages come from the same PIE root, including wool in English, wol [ʋɔl] in Dutch, Wolle [ˈvɔlə] in German, and lana in Italian and Spanish [source]

More details about these words on 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.

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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Adventures in Etymology – Rabbit 🐇

Today we are burrowing into the origins of the word rabbit.

Easter Bunny

A rabbit [ˈɹæbɪt] is:

  • a mammal of the family Leporidae, with long ears, long hind legs and a short, fluffy tail.

It comes from the Middle English rabet(te) (young rabbit), from the Middle French *robotte/rabotte or the Anglo-Latin rabettus, from the Old French rabotte, probably from the Middle Dutch / West Flemish robbe (rabbit, seal). Beyond that its origins are uncertain [source].

Until the 19th century a rabbit was a young rabbit, while an adult rabbit was con(e)y (rabbit, hyrax), which comes from the Anglo-Norman conis (rabbits), from the Vulgar Latin *cuniclus (rabbit), from the Latin cuniculus (rabbit), from the Ancient Greek κύνικλος (kúniklos – rabbit), which probably comes from Iberian or Celtiberian [source].

Words from the same root include cuniculus (a burrow or low underground passage) in Englsh, coniglio (rabbit), cunicolo (tunnel, burrow, wormhole) in Italian, conejo (rabbit) in Spanish, and cwningen (rabbit, hyrax) in Welsh [source].

In Old English the word for rabbit, and hare, was hara [ˈhɑ.rɑ], which is the root of the word hare, and comes from the Proto-Germanic *hasô [ˈxɑ.sɔːː] (hare), from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱeh₂s- (grey) [source].

Another word for rabbit is bunny, which probably comes from the Scots bun(n) (the tail of a rabbit or hare), from the Scottish Gaelic bun (base, bottom, source, butt, stump), from the Old Irish bun (base, butt, foot), from the Proto-Celtic *bonus (foundation, base, butt) [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.

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Adventures in Etymology – Campus

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Today we are exploring origins of the word campus.

A campus [ˈkæmpəs / ˈkæmpʊs] is:

  • The grounds or property of a school, college, university, business, church, or hospital, often understood to include buildings and other structures.

It comes from the Latin campus (field. plain), from the Proto-Italic *kampos, from the Proto-Indo-European *kh₂ém-po-s, from *kh₂emp- (to bend, curve, smooth) [source].

Words from the same roots include camp, campaign and champagne in English, campo (field) in Italian, campo (country(side), field) in Portuguese, and champ (field) in French [source].

The southern Italian region of Campania, the name of which comes from the Latin campus, was the source of bronze used to make bells, which were known as campāna in Latin Latin. This comes from Campāna (of Campania) [source].

Words from the same Latin roots include: campanile (bell tower, belfry) and campanology (the study of bells) in English, campana (bell) in Italian, campana (bell, bell-shaped object, hood) in Spanish, and cumpănă (balance, scales, equilibirum) in Romanian [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.

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Celtic Pathways – Wagons and Carts

In this episode we’re looking at words for wagons, carts and related vehicles.

Chariot

One Proto-Celtic word for wagon was *karros, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱr̥sós (vehicle), from *ḱers- (to run) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • *karros = wagon in Gaulish
  • carr [kɑːɾˠ / kæːɾˠ] = car in Irish
  • càr [kar] = car, cart, raft in Scottish Gaulish
  • carr = car, cab, van in Manx
  • car [kar] = vehicle, car, sled, dray; rack, stand in Welsh
  • karr [karː / kær] = car in Cornish
  • karr = car, coach, carriage, trailer, vehicle in Breton

The Gaulish word *karros was borrowed into Latin as carrus (wagon, cart, cartload), which became carro (wagon, cart, van, lorry, truck) in Italian; carro (cart, car, bus) in Spanish; car (bus, coach) in French, car, carriage and chariot in English, and related words in most other Indo-European languages [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include currus (chariot, car, wagon) in Latin, horse in English, hors (mare, female foal, frivolous woman) in Norwegian (Nynorsk), and hross (horse) in Icelandic [source].

The Proto-Celtic word *karbantos means (war) chariot or wagon and is possibly related to the Proto-Celtic word *korbos (wagon, basket). [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • carbad [ˈkaɾˠəbˠəd̪ˠ] = chariot in Irish
  • carbad [karabad] = chariot, coach, carriage, wagon, vehicle, bier, jaw(bone) in Scottish Gaulish
  • carbyd = bus, coach, vehicle, bier, hearse in Manx
  • cerbyd [ˈkɛrbɨ̞d / ˈkɛrbɪd] = car, carriage, chariot, wagon, coach; clumsy fellow, bungler in Welsh
  • cerpit = chariot, wagon in Old Cornish
  • karbed = vehicle in Breton

The French word charpente (framework, structure) comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via the Gaulish carbantos and the Latin carpentum (carriage, chariot, wagon, cart) [source].

More details about these words on 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.

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 – Horses

In this episode we’re looking at words for horses and related beasts.

Horse in a field / Capall i bpáirc

One Proto-Celtic word for horse was *kaballos, which possibly comes from an Asiatic source, and may ultimately come from the Proto-Indo-European *kebʰ- (worn-out horse, nag) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • *caballos = horse in Gaulish
  • capall [ˈkapˠəl̪ˠ] = horse, mare in Irish
  • capall [kahbəl̪ˠ] = mare, colt, horse, small horse in Scottish Gaulish
  • cabbyl = horse in Manx
  • ceffyl [ˈkɛfɨ̞l / ˈkɛfɪl] = horse, nag in Welsh
  • cevil, kevil = horse in Middle Cornish
  • kefel = horse in Breton

The Gaulish word *caballos was borrowed into Latin as caballus. In Classical Latin it was only used in poetry, while equus was the usual word for horse. In Vulgar Latin and Late Latin caballus was more commonly used, and mean a horse, nag, pack-horse, jade or hack.

Words for horse in various other languages come from the same Latin root, including cavallo in Italian, caballo in Spanish, cavalo in Portuguese and cheval in French [source]. The English words cavalry, chivalry and cavalier also come from the same Latin roots [source].

Another Proto-Celtic word for horse was *ekʷos, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁éḱwos (stallion, horse) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • epos = horse in Gaulish
  • each [ax] = horse (archaic) Irish
  • each [ɛx] = horse in Scottish Gaulish
  • agh [ax] = steed, riding horse in Manx
  • ebol [ˈɛbɔl / ˈeːbɔl] = colt, foal, sucker in Welsh
  • ebel = horse in Cornish
  • ebeul [ˈe.bøl] = foal in Breton

The English words equine, equestrian come from the same PIE root, via Latin [source], as do words beginning with hippo-, such as hippopotamus, hippodrome and hippomancy (divination by the interpretation of the appearance and behaviour of horses) the via Ancient Greek [source].

Another Proto-Celtic word for horse was *markos, which possibly comes from the Proto-Indo-European *márkos (horse) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • marc [mˠaɾˠk] = horse (literary, archaic) Irish
  • marc [marxk] = charger, warhorse (literary) in Scottish Gaulish
  • mark-sleih = horseman in Manx
  • march [marχ] = horse, stallion, war-horse, steed in Welsh
  • margh [ˈmaɾx] = horse in Cornish
  • marc’h [ˈmaʁχ] = horse, easel in Breton

The English words mare and marshal possibly come from the same roots [source].

More details about these words on 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.

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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Adventures in Etymology – Library

Shankland Reading Room, Bangor University
Shankland Reading Room, Bangor University. Photo by Richard Simcott

Today we are unpeeling the origins of the word library.

A library [ˈlaɪbɹi / ˈlaɪbɹəɹi] is:

  • a building, room, or organization that has a collection of books, documents, music, and sometimes things such as tools or artwork, for people to borrow, usually without payment.

It comes from the Middle English librarie [libˈraːriː(ə)] (library, reading room, bookshelf, bookcase, archive, collection (of texts)), from the Anglo-Norman librarie (library, collection of books), from the Old French librairie, from the Latin librārium (bookcase, library), from liber (book, inner bark of a tree) and -ārium (place for) [source].

The word liber comes from the PIE *lewbʰ- (to peel, cut off, harm), perhaps from *lew- (to cut off). The English words leaf, lobby and lodge possibly come from the same roots [source].

A Middle English word for library was boch(o)us, from the Old English bōchūs [ˈboːkˌhuːs] (library), from bōc (book) and hūs (house). The word bookhouse (a repository/store of books, library) exists in modern English, although is not in common usage [source].

Cognates of library in Romance languages, such as librarie in French and librería in Spanish, mean ‘bookshop / bookstore’. They used to mean library until about the 16th century, and were replaced by words derived from the the Latin bibliothēca (library) [source].

The word bibliotheca used to be used in English to mean a collection or catalogue of books, or a library. It was borrowed from the Latin bibliothēca (library), from the Ancient Greek βιβλιοθήκη (bibliothḗkē – bookcase, library, records office, ), from βιβλίον (biblíon – book) and‎ θήκη (thḗkē – box, chest) [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.

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