Adventures in Etymology – Quiver

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

Mongol Bow and Arrow Quiver

A quiver [ˈkwɪvə / ˈkwɪvɚ] is:

  • A portable case for holding arrows
  • A collection or store

To quiver means:

  • To shake with a slight, rapid, tremulous movement
  • To tremble, as from cold or strong emotion.

Quiver as an adjective means:

  • fast, speedy, rapid
  • energetic, vigourous, vibrant

The quiver for arrows comes from the Middle English quiver/whiver (a quiver, arrow case, case for a bow) from the Anglo-Norman quivre (a quiver), from the Old Dutch cocere/kokere (a quiver, case) from the Proto-West Germanic *kukur (container), possibly from Hunnic and/or ultimately from Proto-Mongolic *kökexür (leather vessel for liquids, snuff bottle) [source].

Words from the same Proto-Mongolic root include хөхүүр / ᠬᠥᠬᠦᠦᠷ [xoxur] (leather bag for holding liquid, wineskin, waterskin, snuffbox) in Mongolian, koker [ˈkoː.kər] (tube, cylinder, quiver) in Dutch, Köcher [ˈkœçɐ] (a quiver) in German, and kukkaro [ˈkukːɑro] (purse) in Finnish [source].

The verb to quiver and the adjective quiver (fast, energetic, vigourous) come from the Middle English quvier/cwiver (active, agile, lively, brisk, quick), from the Old English *cwifer, possibly related to cwic (alive. living, intelligent, keen), from which we get the modern English word quick [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 – Rubble

There’s some building work going on at my house, so in this Adventure we’re digging into the origins of the word rubble.

Rubble

Rubble [ˈɹʌb.əl] is:

  • the broken remains of an object, usually rock or masonry
  • rough, irregular stones broken from larger masses, esp. waste fragments from the demolition of a building, etc.

It comes from the Middle English rouble/rubel/robel, from the Anglo-Norman *robel (bits of broken stone), possibly from the Old Norse rubba (to huddle, crowd together, heap up), from the Proto-Germanic *rubbōną (to rub, scrape) [source].

It is probably related to the word rubbish (refuse, waste, garbage, junk, trash), which was robous (rubbish, buidling rubble) in Middle English [source]. The word rub possibly comes from the same roots as well [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 – Hallow

As it’s near the end of October, in this Adventure in Etymology we’re investigating the origins of the word hallow, as in Halloween.

Halloween in Hallow

Hallow [ˈhæləʊ / ˈhæloʊ] is an old word that means:

  • A saint; a holy person; an apostle.
  • (plural) The relics or shrines of saints or non-Christian gods.

It comes from the Middle English halwe (saint, holy thing, shrine), from the Old English hālga (saint), from the Proto-Germanic *hailagô (holy person), from *hailagaz (holy, sacred), rom *hailaz (whole, intact, hale, healthy), from the PIE *kóylos (healthy, whole) [source].

The word Halloween comes from the Scots Hallow evin/even, from Allhallow evin, from Allhallow (all the saints) and evin (evening) [source].

English words from the same roots include holy, hale (healthy, sound, robust), as in hale and hearty, hail (to greet, salute, call) and whole [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 – 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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Adventures in Etymology – Spell

Today we’re telling tales about the origins of the word spell.

Spell

Spell [spɛl] means:

  • Words or a formula supposed to have magical powers.
  • A magical effect or influence induced by an incantation or formula
  • To put under the influence of a spell, to affect by a spell, to bewitch, fascinate, charm

Spell used to mean speech or discourse. It comes from the Middle English spel(l) (story, tale, narrative, report), from the Old English spell (news, story, prose), from the Proto-Germanic spellą (news, message, tale, story, legend),from the PIE *spel- (to tell) or from *bʰel- (to speak, sound) [source].

Words from the same roots include gospel and byspel (an example — rare) in English; spjall (talk, gossip) and spjalla (to chat, converse) in Icelandic; and fjalë (word) in Albanian [source].

The word spell (to be able to write or say the letters that form words), also comes from the same root, via the Middle English spellen (to mean, signify, interpret, to spell out letters), the Old French espeler (to call, cry out, shout, explain, tell), the Frankish *spelôn, and the Proto-Germanic *spellōną (to speak) [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 – Jelly

Today we are uncovering the origins of the word jelly.

Strawberry Jelly

Jelly [ˈd͡ʒɛl.i] is:

  • a dessert made by boiling gelatin(e), sugar and some flavouring (often derived from fruit) and allowing it to set (In the UK, Australia and NZ) – known as jello in North America (see below)
  • A clear or translucent fruit preserve, made from fruit juice and set using either naturally occurring, or added, pectin.

Note: there are various kinds of fruit preserves with different names in different countries. For example, what people in North America call jelly, might be called jam in the UK. More details.

Jelly comes from the Middle English gele [dʒɛˈleː] (jelly made from meat stock), from the Old French gelee (a cold spell, period of coldness), from geler (to freeze, become very cold), from the Latin gelāre (to freeze), from gelō (I freeze) from gelū (frost),from the PIE *gel- (to be cold, to freeze) [source].

Related words in English include gel, gelatin, gelid (very cold, icy, frosty), glacier, cold, cool, chill and congeal [source].

In North America the dessert made from gelatine and flavoured with fruit is known as jello. It was invented and trademarked by Pearle Bixby Wait in New York in 1897 as JELL-O. Since then the name has become genericized and is used to refer to any brand of fruit flavored gelatin dessert mix [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 – Investigate

Sherlock

Today we are looking into, examining, scrutinizing and underseeking the origins of the word investigate.

Investigate [ɪnˈves.tɪ.ɡeɪt/ɪnˈves.tə.ɡeɪt] means:

  • to inquire into or study in order to ascertain facts or information.
  • to examine, look into, or scrutinize in order to discover something hidden or secret.
  • to conduct an inquiry or examination.

It comes from investigation, from the Latin investīgātiō (a searching into), from investīgātus (investigated), from investīgō (I track, trace out, search after, discover), from in- (in, within, inside) and vestīgō (I follow a track, search, investigate), possibly from the PIE root *steygʰ- (to walk) [source].

Related words in English include vestige (a mark left on the earth by a foot; a faint mark or visible sign left by something which is lost, or has perished, or is no longer present), vestigial, and the old word pervestigate (to investigate thoroughly) [source].

A synonym for investigate is underseek (to examine, explore, investigate, spend too little time or effort in seeking). It comes from the Middle English underseken, from the Old English undersēcan [ˌun.derˈseː.t͡ʃɑn] (to investigate, examine), from under (beneath), and sēċan (to look for, seek, visit, attack) [source].

Related words in other languages include onderzoeken (to investigate, research) in Dutch, untersuchen (to examine, investigate) in German, and undersøge (to examine, test, investigate) in Danish [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 – 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 – Quay

Nyhavn, Copenhagen / København

Today we are unloading the origins of the word quay.

A quay [kiː/keɪ] is:

  • a stone or concrete structure on navigable water used for loading and unloading vessels; a wharf.

It comes from the Middle English key(e) [ˈkɛi̯(ə)] (quay), from the Old French kay / cail (quay, wharf), from the Gaulish *kagyum / *cagiíum (enclosure), from the Proto-Celtic *kagyom (pen, enclosure), from the Proto-Indo-European *kagʰyóm (enclosure, hedge) [source].

The spelling quay was adopted in the 1690s to emulate the French spelling quai. In Middle English it was spelled kay, kaye, key or keye.

Other words from the Proto-Celtic root *kagyom include cae [kaːɨ̯/kai̯] (hedge, fence, field, enclosure) in Welsh, ke (fence, hedge) in Cornish, kae (hedge, quay) in Breton, quai (quay, wharf, platform) in French, and cais (quay, wharf, pier) in Portuguese [source].

Words for quay in the Celtic languages come from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Middle English / Anglo-Norman and Gaulish. They include cidhe [kʲi.ə] in Scottish Gaelic, in Irish, and cei [kei̯] in Welsh [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 – 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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