Adventures in Etymology – Busk

In this Adventure we investigate the origins of the word busk.

Clanadonia

Busk [bʌsk] means:

  • To solicit money by entertaining the public in the street or in public transport.
  • To sell articles such as obscene books in public houses etc. (obsolete)
  • To tack, cruise about (nautical)

It possibly comes from French busquer (to seek, prowl, filch, busk), from Old Spanish buscar/boscar (to look for, to collect wood), from Vulgar Latin *buscum (wood), from Frankish *busk (wood), from Proto-Germanic *buskaz (bush, thicket) from PIE *bʰuH- (to be, become, grow) [source].

Words from the same roots include (to) be, bower, neighbour and future in English, boer (farmer, peasant) and buur (neighbour) in Dutch, and verbs meaning to be in most Indo-European languages [source]

There are several homophones/homographs of busk with different meanings. For example, there is busk that refers to to a strip of metal, whalebone, wood, or other material, worn in the front of a corset to stiffen it, and by extension, a corset. This comes from French busc (busk [of corset]), from Italian busco (splinter), probably from Frankish *busk (wood) [source].

Then there is busk that means to prepare, make ready, array, dress, or to go or direct one’s course. It’s used in northern England and Scotland and comes from Middle English busken (to prepare, get ready, arrange), from Old Norse būask, from būa (to prepare, make, live, dress, decorate), from Proto-Germanic *būaną (to dwell, reside), from PIE *bʰuH- (to be, become, grow) [source].

So it seems that even though these words have different meanings, they possibly all come from the same PIE root (*bʰuH-).

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.

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Adventures in Etymology – Fire

In this Adventure we look into the origins of the word fire.

Up Helly Aa Fire Festival, Lerwick, Shetland

Fire [ˈfaɪ.ə/ˈfaɪ.əɹ] is:

  • A (usually self-sustaining) chemical reaction involving the bonding of oxygen with carbon or other fuel, with the production of heat and the presence of flame or smouldering.
  • An instance of this chemical reaction, especially when intentionally created and maintained in a specific location to a useful end (such as a campfire or a hearth fire)

It comes from Middle English fyr [fiːr] (fire), from Old English fȳr [fyːr] (fire), from Proto-West-Germanic *fuir (fire), from Proto-Germanic *fōr [ˈɸɔːr] (fire), from PIE *péh₂wr̥ (fire, spelt [grain]) [source].

Words from the same roots include furze, purge, pyre and pyromania in English, vuur [vyːr] (fire, heater) in Dutch, fyr [fyːr] (lighthouse, fire) in Swedish, and fyr [fyɐ̯ˀ] (lighthouse, radio beacon, boiler, fire, light) in Danish [source]

There are in fact two PIE words for fire *péh₂wr̥ (fire as something inanimate, passive and neuter), and *h₁n̥gʷnis (fire as something animate, active and masculine). The latter is the root of English words like ignite (to set fire to), igneous (resembling fire, produced by great heat, e.g. igneous rocks), and ignipotent (presiding over fire, fiery – poetic) [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 – Spears and Sceptres

In this episode we find out what links the words spear and beam in Celtic languages with words for sceptre and arrow in other languages.

Romano British spearmen

The Proto-Celtic word *gaisos means spear. It comes from Proto-Germanic *gaizaz [ˈɣɑi̯.zɑz] (spear, pike, javelin), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰoysós (throwing spear), from *ǵʰey- (to throw, impel) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • ga [ɡa]= spear, dart, sting, ray (of light), radius, suppository or (fishing) gaff in Irish.
  • gath [gah] = dart, beam, ray (of light), sting, barb or shooting pain in Scottish Gaelic
  • goull = beam, dart or ray in Manx
  • gwayw [ɡweɨ̯.ʊ] = lance, spear, javelin, shooting pain, stab, stitch or pang in Welsh
  • guw = spear in Cornish
  • goaf = spear, pike, javelin or stamen in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root in other languages include gezi [ɡe̞.s̻i] (arrow) in Basque (via Latin and Gaulish), գայիսոն [ɡɑjiˈsɔn/kʰɑjiˈsɔn] (sceptre) in Armenian (via Ancient Greek), gaesum (a Gaulish javelin) in Latin, and γαῖσος [ɡâi̯.sos] (a Gaulish javelin) in Ancient Greek [source].

Words from the same Proto-Germanic root include garfish (any fish of the needlefish family Belonidae) in English [source], geer (spear) in Dutch, Ger (spear) in German, and keihäs (spear, javelin, pike) in Finnish, [source].

Incidentally, my surname, Ager, possibly comes from the same Proto-Germanic root as well, via the Old English name Ēadgār, from ēad (happiness, prosperity), and gār (spear) [source].

You can find more details of words for spears, javelins 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 – Friend

In this Adventure we find out what links the word friend with words like afraid, free and Friday.

The winning quiz team

A friend [fɹɛnd] is:

  • A person, typically someone other than a family member, spouse or lover, whose company one enjoys and towards whom one feels affection.
  • A person with whom one is vaguely or indirectly acquainted.

It comes from Middle English fre(e)nd [freːnd] (A friend or compatriot; a close associate; A patron, philanthropist, or supporter; A family member; one of one’s kin), from Old English frēond [fre͜oːnd] (friend, lover) from Proto-West-Germanic *friund (friend), from Proto-Germanic *frijōndz (friend, loved one), from PIE *preyH- (to love, to please) [source].

English words from the same roots include afraid, free, proper and possibly Friday [source].

Friday? It comes from Old English frīġedæġ [ˈfriː.jeˌdæj] (Friday), from Proto-Western-Germanic *Frījā dag (Friday, “Frigg’s day”), a calque of the Latin diēs Veneris (Friday, “day of Venus”). Frījā/Frigg was the Norse goddess of love, and associated with the Roman goddess Venus. Her name possibly comes from Proto-Germanic *frijōną (to love, free, like), from *frijaz (free), from PIE *priHós (dear, beloved, happy, free), from *preyH- (to love, to please) [source].

So you could say that Friday is the day of freedom, or friendship or love, or all three. Whichever you prefer.

Incidentally, the second syllables of the names Geoffrey/Jeffrey, Godfrey, Siegfried and Winfred come ultimately from PIE *preyH- as well [source]. However, the name Winifred comes from Welsh Gwenfrewi, from gwen (white, fair, blessed) and ffrwd (brook, stream) [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.

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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.

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Adventures in Etymology – Ship

In this Adventure we’re uncovering the origins of the word ship.

Tall ship in Copenhagen harbour

A ship [ʃɪp] is:

  • A water-borne vessel generally larger than a boat.
  • A vessel which travels through any medium other than across land, such as an airship or spaceship.
  • A sailing vessel with three or more square-rigged masts. (archaic, nautical, formal)

It comes from Middle English s(c)hip [ʃip] (ship, boat), from Old English scip [ʃip] (ship), from Proto-West-Germanic *skip (ship), from Proto-Germanic *skipą (ship), possibly from PIE *skey- (to split, dissect) which originally meant a hollowed tree [source].

Words from the same roots include skipper in English, Schipp (ship) and Schiff (ship, nave, vessel, boiler) in German, schip (ship, nave) in Dutch, skepp (ship, nave) in Swedish, and sgioba (crew, team) in Scottish Gaelic [source].

The English word skiff (a small flat-bottomed open boat) also comes from the same roots, via Middle French esquif (skiff), Old Italian schifo (small boat, dingy), and Lombardic skif (ship, boat) [source].

Incidentally, the Scots word skiff (a light, fleeting shower of rain or snow; a gust of wind; to move in a light airy manner, barely touching the ground) does not come from the same roots. Instead, it probably has onomatopoeic origins. The English word skiffle (a type of folk music made using homemade or improvised instruments) was possibly borrowed from this Scots word [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 – Wheel

In this Adventure in Etymology we’re unrolling the origins of the word wheel, and finding out how its linked to such words as pole, telephone, cult, collar and cycle.

Snaefell Wheel (Lady Evelyn)

A wheel [wiːl/ʍiːl/wil] is:

  • A circular device capable of rotating on its axis, facilitating movement or transportation or performing labour in machines.

It comes from Middle English whele [ʍeːl] (wheel), from Old English hwēol [xwe͜oːl] (wheel), from Proto-Germanic *hwehwlą [ˈxʷe.xʷlɑ̃] (wheel), from PIE *kʷékʷlom (wheel) from *kʷel- (to turn) [source].

Words from the same roots include pole, telephone, chakra, cult, collar and cycle in English, kolo (bicycle, wheel) in Czech, kakls (neck, throat) in Latvian, and चाक (cāk – wheel) and चक्र (cakra – circle, ring, wheel, cycle) in Hindi [source].

Incidentally, words for chariot or wheel in Sumerian (𒄑𒇀), Aramaic and Hebrew (גַּלְגַּל‎) and Chinese (軲轆) possibly come from the same PIE roots [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 – Surface and Skin

In this episode we’re looking into words for surface, skin and related things in Celtic languages.

Hippo very close

The Proto-Celtic *tondā means surface or skin and comes from the Proto-Indo-European *tend- (to cut off) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic language include:

  • tonn [t̪ˠɑun̪ˠ] = surface or skin in Irish.
  • tonn [tɔun̪ˠ] = skin or hide in Scottish Gaelic
  • ton [tɔn] = rind, crust, peel, turf, unploughed land or lawn in Welsh
  • ton = grass in Cornish
  • ton [tɔn] = rind or surface in Breton

There doesn’t appear to be a cognate in Manx.

The English word tonne/ton comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via French, Latin and Gaulish [source]. Other words from the same Proto-Celtic root include tonne (tonne/ton) in French, tona (tun – a type of cask, ton/tonne) and tonya (a type of sweet bun) in Catalan, tona (surface, skin, bark) and tonel (barrel, tun) in Galician, and tonel (barrel) in Spanish [source].

Incidentally, the English word tun (a large cask, fermenting vat) probably comes from the same roots, via Middle English, Old English, Proto-Germanic, Latin and Gaulish, as does the German word Tonne (barrel, vat, tun, drum), the Dutch word ton (barrel, ton, large amount), and the Irish word tunna (cask), which was borrowed from Latin [source].
(A bit of bonus content that’s not included in the recording.)

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.

Adventures in Etymology – Kith and Kin

In this Adventure we’re looking into the words kith and kin.

We had all the kinfolk over fer Thanksgivins.

Kith [kɪθ] means:

  • Friends and acquaintances (archaic/obsolete)

It appears in the expression kith and kin (both friends and family) and comes from the Middle English kith (kinsmen, relations), from Old English cȳþþu [ˈkyːθ.θu] (knoweldge, native land, home) from Proto-Germanic *kunþiþō (knowledge, acquaintance), from PIE *ǵneh₃- (to know) [source].

Engish words from the same roots include can, cunning, gnome, know, noble, quaint and uncouth [source].

Kin [kɪn] means:

  • Race, family, breed, kind
  • Persons of the same race or family, kindred
  • One or more relatives

It comes from Middle English kyn (family, native, tribe, clan), from Old English cynn (kind, tribe, race, species, family), from Proto-West-Germanic *kuni (family, kin), from Proto-Germanic *kunją (kin, family, clan) from PIE *ǵenh₁- (to beget, give birth) [source]

Engish words from the same roots include cognate, engine, gene, genius, gentle, kind and nature [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 – Caboodle

In this Adventure we’re looking into the word caboodle.

Kits and Kaboodle-001

A caboodle (also written kaboodle) is:

  • Any large collection of things or people.

It appears in the US slang expressions the (whole) kit and caboodle and the whole caboodle and means “everything entirely; the whole lot; all together; as one” It first appeared in writing in the 1830s as the whole boodle, and as the whole caboodle in 1848 [source].

Caboodle/kaboodle comes from boodle,which originally meant a crowd, and later phony money or swag, from Dutch boedel [ˈbu.dəl] (property, riches), from Proto-West-Germanic bōþl (house, dwelling, property), from Proto-Germanic *bōþlą [ˈbɔːθ.lɑ̃] (house, dwelling), possibly from PIE *bʰuH- (to become, appear, grow) [source]

Words from the same roots include baile (home, place, town, city) in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, balley (town, village, farm) in Manx, ból (dwelling, abode, home, lair, bed) in Icelandic, and bosky (bushy, bristling) in English [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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