Adventures in Etymology – Etymology

In today’s Adventure in Etymology we explore the etymology of the word etymology.

Etymology

Etymology [ˌɛt.ɪˈmɒl.ə.d͡ʒi /ˌɛt.əˈmɑl.ə.d͡ʒi] is:

  • the derivation of a word.
  • a chronological account of the birth and development of a particular word or element of a word, often delineating its spread from one language to another and its evolving changes in form and meaning.
  • the study of historical linguistic change, especially as manifested in individual words.

[source]

It comes from the Middle English ethymologie (the purported true, primordial and innate sense of a term), from the Old French ethimologie (etymology), from the Latin etymologia (etymology) from the Ancient Greek ἐτυμολογία [e.ty.mo.lo.ɡí.aː] (etymology), from ἔτυμος (étumos – real, true) and -λογος (-logos – word, reason, explanation) [source]

You could say that I am an etymologist, that is someone who specializes in etymology, and I like to etymologise, or find the etymologies of words.

Etymologists are also known as historical linguists or philologists, and philology is the study of historical linguistics, and more broadly the love and study of learning and literature. So I am both an etymologist and a philologist.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate 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, 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 – Adventures Arriving

In today’s Adventure in Etymology we are looking at the origins of the word adventure.

Me doing a tandem paragliding in Queenstown, New Zealand - part of my Kiwi Experience adventures in 1996

An adventure [ədˈvɛnt͡ʃə/ədˈvɛnt͡ʃɚ] is:

  • an exciting or very unusual experience
  • participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises
  • a bold, uncertain and usually risky undertaking

[source]

It comes from the Middle English aventure / a(u)nter (that which happens by chance, fortune, luck), from the Old French aventure (chance, accident, occurrence, event, happening), from the Late Latin adventūrus (about to arrive) from the Latin advenire (to arrive), from ad- (toward) and venīre (to come, approach) [source]

The word adventure has had various meanings over time, including: “risk or danger”, “perilous undertaking”, a “wonder, a miracle; accounts of marvelous things”, and a “novel or exciting incident, remarkable occurrence”. [source].

In the 15th or 16th century the d was added to the English word to make it more like the original Latin version. They tried this in French as well, but it didn’t catch on.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, 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 – Words and Verbs

In today’s Adventure in Etymology we are looking at the origins of the word word [wɜːd/wɝd].

Words in various European languages

A word is:

  • a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.

[source]

It comes from the Middle English word [wurd/wɔrd] (word), from the Old English word [word] (word, speech, verb, news), from the Proto-Germanic *wurdą [ˈwur.ðɑ̃] (word), from the PIE *wr̥dʰh₁om (word) from *werh₁- (to speak, say) [source]

The word verb comes from the same root, via the Middle English verbe [ˈvɛrb(ə)] (verb), from the Old French verbe (word, phrasing), from the Latin verbum [ˈu̯er.bum] (word, proverb, verb), from the Proto-Italic *werβom (word) [source].

The word verve [vɜːv/vɝv] (great vitality, enthusiasm, liveliness, sparkle) comes from the same Latin root (verbum), via the French verve [vɛʁv] (witty eloquence), and the Late Latin verva [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, 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 – Walls, Whelks and Helicopters

In today’s Adventure in Etymology we’re finding out what walls, whelks and helicopters have in common.

Hadrian's Wall

A wall [wɔːl/wɔl/wɑl] is:

  • a vertical construction made of stone, brick, wood, etc, with a length and height much greater than its thickness, used to enclose, divide, or support
  • a structure or rampart built to protect and surround a position or place for defensive purposes

[source]

It comes from the Middle English wal (wall), from the Old English weall [wæ͜ɑɫ] (wall), from the Proto-Germanic *wallaz/wallą (wall, rampart, entrenchment), from the Latin vallum (wall, rampart, entrenchment, palisade), from vallus (stake, palisade, point), from the PIE *welH- (to turn, wind) [source]

English words from the same PIE root (via Old English) include walk, wallow, well (source of water, etc), and welk [source].

The word helix also comes from the same PIE root, via the Latin helix (ivy, willow, whorl), and the Ancient Greek ἕλιξ (hélix – spiral) [source], as does the word helicopter, via the French hélicoptère (helicopter), from the Ancient Greek ἕλιξ (hélix) and πτερόν (pterón – feather, wing) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, 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 29 – Rain

As quite a bit of wet stuff has been falling out of the sky this week, and it’s raining as I write this, I thought I’d look into the the origins of the word rain [ɹeɪn].

A photo of rain taken from my house

Definition:

  • condensed water falling from a cloud
  • any matter moving or falling, usually through air

[source]

It comes from the Middle English reyn/rein [rɛi̯n/reːn] (rain), from the Old English reġn [rejn] (rain), from the Proto-West Germanic *regn [rejn] (rain), from the Proto-Germanic *regną (rain), possibly from the PIE *Hreǵ- (to flow) [source], or from *reg- (to water, moisture, wetness) [source]

Words for rain in other Germanic languages come from the same Proto-Germanic root, including regen [ˈreɣə(n)] in Dutch, Regen [ˈʁeː.ɡŋ̍] in German, and regn in Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic, with different pronunciations in each language [source].

The English word irrigate comes from the same PIE root, via the Latin irrigare (to irrigate), from irrigō (I water, irrigate, flood), from in- (after) and rigō (I wet, moisten, water) [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Here’s a song I wrote about rain:

A slightly different version can be heard at:

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, 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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Episode 47 – Emoji (🖼️✍️)

Today we are looking at the origins and use of emoji, those little symbols that appear
in text messages, emails and other electronic communications.

An emoji is a pictogram, logogram, ideogram or smiley used in electronic messages and web pages. Emoji are used to fill in emotional cues otherwise missing from typed conversations. They include facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather and animals [source].

The word emoji comes from the Japanese word 絵文字 (emoji), which is also written えもじ or エモジ, and means emoji, pictorial symbol, pictograph or pictogram, or literally “picture writing” [source].

Emoji first appeared in 1997 on a Japanese mobile phone made by J-Phone called the SkyWalker DP-211SW, which included 90 black and white emoji. It didn’t sell well and the emoji were rarely used.

A set of 176 colour emoji were created in 1999 by Shigetaka Kurita (栗田穣崇), who was inspired by manga (漫画) comics, which use symbols known as manpu (漫符) to represent emotions, actions, etc. They appeared on the i-mode pager developed by NTT DoCoMo. The emoji became popular in Japan and other companies starting add similar symbols to their mobile systems.

Between 2007 and 2010, the Unicode Consortium and other standarization bodies in the USA, Europe and Japan discussed and eventually agreed on a set of 722 emoji. These were included in the version 6.0 of Unicode, which was released in 2010. More emoji have been added since then, and they have become popular worldwide.

In 2014 the founder of Emojipedia, Jeremy Bruge, declared 17th July as World Emoji Day [source].

In 2015 the face with tears of joy emoji 😂was named Word of the Year by the Oxford Dictionaries [source].

There have been several musicals based on emoji in Los Angeles and New York, and The Emoji Movie was released in 2017 [source]..

According to a 2017 study at the University of Michigan that analysed emoji use in over 1.2 billion messages, the most widely used emoji are the face with tears of joy (😂), the red heart (❤️) and the smiling face with heart eyes (😍). People in Australia, France and Czechia are more likely to use happy emoji, while these in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina prefer more negative emoji.

The emojitracker site shows realtime emoji use on Twitter. As I’m writing this, the face with tears of joy (😂) appears in the top spot, followed by the red heart (❤️), the loudly crying face (😭), the smiling face with heart eyes (😍), and the recycling symbol (♻️).

The appearance of emoji vary between different operating systems, and the way they’re interpreted can vary from person to person. Some have developed particular meanings in specific contexts or places. Some are culturally specific, such as the white flower emoji (💮), which is used by teachers in Japan when their students have done well. It is also used to indicate love, happiness and beauty on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day. If you include emoji in a message, the person or people receiving it might not get the same meaning from them as you intended.

The novel Moby Dick has been ‘translated’ into emoji to become Emoji Dick or 🐳 (spouting whale), and a few other stories have been written in emoji. Whether readers understand them or not is another matter. Judging by the comments on one of them, most don’t. [source].

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 28 – Neighbour

As I got to know some of my neighbours better this week I thought I’d look into the the origins of the word neighbour [ˈneɪbə] / neighbor [ˈneɪbɚ].

Hector, my neighbour's dog

Definition:

  • a person who lives near or next to another
  • a person or thing near or next to another
  • to be or live close (to a person or thing)

[source]

It comes from the Middle English neighebor [ˈnɛixəbur] (neighbour, citizen), from the Old English nēahġebūr [ˈnæ͜ɑːx.jeˌbuːr] (neighbour), from the Proto-Germanic *nēhwagabūrô [ˈnɛː.xʷɑ.ɣɑ.ˌbuː.rɔːː] (neighbour), from *nēhwaz [ˈnɛː.xʷɑz] (near, close) and *gabūrô (dweller) from *būraz (room, chamber, dwelling, residence) [source].

Other words derived for the Proto-Germanic *nēhwaz include near, next and nigh (near, close by), as in ‘the end is nigh’ in English, nah [naː] (near, close, nearby) in German, and na (close) in Dutch [source].

Other words derived for the Proto-Germanic *būraz include bower in English, buur(man/vrouw) [byr] (neighbour) in Dutch, boer [buːr] (farmer, peasant) in Dutch and Afrikaans, Bauer (birdcage) in some German dialects, and bur [bʉːr] (cage) in Swedish [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

German, Dutch and Swedish words pronounced by https://speakabo.com/text-to-speech/

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, 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 27 – Bucket

Today we’re looking into the the origins of the word bucket [ˈbʌkɪt/ˈbə-kət].

Fire buckets

Definition:

  • a container made of rigid material, often with a handle, used to carry liquids or small items.
  • a part of a piece of machinery that resembles a bucket

[source]

It comes from the Middle English buket/boket [ˈbukɛt] (bucket), partly from the Old English bucc (bucket, pitcher), partly from the Anglo-Norman buket/buquet (tub, pail), from the Old French buc (abdomen, object with a cavity), from the Frankish *būk (belly, trunk, torso), from the Proto-Germanic *būkaz [ˈbuː.kɑz] (belly, abdomen, body), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰōw- (to blow, swell) [source].

Words for the same Proto-Germanic root include bowk (to retch, vomit, emit smoke) in Scots, buik [bœy̯k] (belly, paunch) in Dutch, buque [ˈbuke] (ship, vessel) in Spanish, and buco [ˈbu.ko] (hole, gap, hovel) in Italian [source].

The English word trebuchet also comes from the same Proto-Germanic root, via the Old French trebuchet/trebuket (trebuchet, bird trap), from trebuchier (to fall/knock over), from tres (trans-, across, intensifying prefix) and buc (abdomen) [source].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, 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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Omniglot News (12/09/21)

This week I added details of Xiǎo’érjīng (小兒錦 / ثِیَوْعَرڭٍ۟), which is a way to write Mandarin Chinese (普通话) and Dungan (Хуэйзў йүян) with the Arabic alphabet that’s sometimes used by Muslims in China.

There are two new constucted scripts: Elithnah and IKON.

  • Elithnah was created by Richard Orbeck, and is used in his novel Lost Blood to write Dadeirom b’Vae, a constructed language that features in the book.
  • IKON is a graphical communication system designed to be an easy, intuitive, international and transcultural visual language developed by the KomunIKON project.

There are two new languages on Omniglot this week, thanks to Wolfram Siegel: Singlish and Provençal.

  • Singlish is a creole spoken in Singapore that combines elements of English, Hokkien, Malay, Tamil and other languages.
  • Provençal (pro(u)vençau) is a variety of Occitan spoken mainly in Provence in the southeast of France.

There’s also a new numbers page in Provençal.

There are Omniglot blog posts about Iron Ferrets and about the IKON script, as well as the usual language quiz.

The Celtiadur post this week is about words for kisses and related things in Celtic languages.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology delves into the origins of the word iron, and versions of this adventure can be found on Instagram and TikTok and YouTube, which includes some extras bits.

For more Omniglot News see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, 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 26 – Iron

Today we’re getting elemental and delving into the origins of the word iron [ˈaɪ.ən/ˈaɪ.ɚn].

iron fence

Definition:

  • an element which usually takes the form of a hard, dark-grey metal that can be used to make steel.
  • an electrical device with a flat metal base that heats up and is used to remove creases from clothes.

[source]

It comes from the Middle English word iren [ˈiːrən] (iron), from the Old English īsern [ˈiː.sern] (iron), from the Proto-West-Germanic *īsarn (iron) from the Proto-Germanic **īsarną [ˈiː.sɑr.nɑ̃] (iron), from the Proto-Celtic *īsarnom (iron), probably from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁ēsh₂r̥no- (bloody, red), from *h₁ésh₂r̥ (flowing blood) [source].

Words for iron in Germanic and Celtic languages come from the same Proto-Celtic root, including ijzer [ˈɛi̯zər] in Dutch, Eisen [ˈʔaɪ̯zn̩] in German, haearn [ˈhai.arn] in Welsh and iarann [ˈiəɾˠən̪ˠ] in Irish [source].

Incidentally, the word irony is not related to iron at all. Instead it comes from the Middle French ironie (irony), from the Latin īrōnīa (irony), from the Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία [eː.rɔː.něː.a] (irony, pretext), from εἴρων (one who feigns ignorance) [source].

I also write about etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog and a recent post was about Iron Ferrets.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, 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.

Blubrry podcast hosting