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 [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].
The Latin word cervēsa (beer) comes from the same Proto-Celtic roots. From this we get the Spanish word cerveza (beer), the Portuguese word cerveja (beer), the French word cervoise (ale, beer – archaic), and the Italian word cervogia (beer – archaic) [source].
Other words for beer in Celtic languages include:
beoir [bʲoːɾʲ] = beer in Irish
beòir [bjɔːrʲ] = beer in Scottish Gaulish
beer = beer in Manx
bir = beer, ale in Welsh
bier = ale, beer in Breton
The words in the Goidelic languages come from the Old Norse bjórr (beer), from the Proto-Germanic *beuzą [ˈbeu̯.zɑ̃] (beer), from the Proto-Indo-Eurpean *bʰews- (dross, sediment) [source]. The Welsh word were borrowed from English, and the Breton word was borrowed from French.
Today we’re exploring the origins of the word tat.
tat [tæt] is:
cheap, tasteless, useless goods; trinkets.
tatty articles or a tatty condition
a tangled mass
an abbreviation of tattoo
It comes from the Hindi टाट (ṭāṭ – burlap, gunny, hessian, sackcloth, sacking), or from tatty (worn out, shabby, tawdry, unkempt), which comes from tatter (a shred of torn cloth), from tattered (torn, ragged), from the Middle English tater (torn or ragged strips of material hanging from a garment), from the Old Norse tǫturr (tatters, rags) [source].
The word tatty also means potato in parts of northern England and Scotland. It’s a diminutive of potato, which comes from the Spanish patata (potato, piece of rubbish), from the Taíno batata (sweet potato) [source].
Another word for potato is spud [spʌd], which also means a sharp spadelike tool used for rooting or digging out weeds, and comes from the Middle English spudde [spud] (a small or inferior knife), possibly from the Old Norse spjót (spear, lance), from the Proto-Germanic *speutą/speutaz (spear), from the PIE *spewd- (to press; urge; hurry) [source].
It comes from the Dutch vrolijk [ˈvroːˌlək] (cheerful, happy, merry), via the Middle Dutch vrolijc and the Old Dutch frōlīk, from the Proto-Germanic *frawaz [ˈɸrɑ.wɑz] (happy, energetic) ultimately from the PIE *prew- (to jump, hop) [source].
Words from the same Proto-Germanic root include the German words froh [fʁoː] (glad, cheerful, merry) and fröhlich [ˈfʁøːlɪç] (happy, cheerful, merry); the Danish word fro [ˈfʁoˀ] (happy, carefree), and Icelandic word frár [frauːr] (swift, light-footed) [source].
The word frog 🐸 comes from the same PIE root, via the Middle English frogge [ˈfrɔɡ(ə)] (frog, toad, wretch, mushroom), the Old English frocga [ˈfroɡ.ɡɑ] (frog), and the Proto-Germanic *fruþgô (frog), from *fruþ (frog) [source].
Another Old English word for frog was frosċ [froʃ], which apparently became frosh in southern English dialects, such as Essex, and is cognate with German word Frosch [fʁɔʃ] (frog) [source].
In Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and other parts of northern England, the word frosk is/was used for frog, and comes from the Old Norse froskr (frog) [source].
As yesterday was April Fools’ Day, today we’re looking into the origins of the word fool.
A fool [fuːl] is:
a person with poor judgment or little intelligence.
a professional jester, formerly kept by a person of royal or noble rank for amusement.
a person who has been tricked or deceived into appearing or acting silly or stupid.
a type of dessert made of puréed fruit and custard or cream.
It comes from the Middle English fole [foːl] (fool, idiot, moron), from the Old French fol [ˈfɔl] (mad, insane, foolish, silly), from the Latin follis [ˈfol.lis] (bellows, purse, sack, belly), from the PIE *bʰelǵʰ- (bag, pillow, paunch), from *bʰel- (to swell, blow, inflate, burst) [source].
Some words in Celtic languages comes from the same PIE root, via the Proto-Celtic *bolgos (sack, bag, stomach). These include bol [bɔl] (stomach) in Welsh, bolg [ˈbˠɔlˠəɡ] (belly, stomach, bulge, bag) in Irish, and bolgan [bɔl̪ˠɔgan] (light bulb, (plant) bulb) in Scottish Gaelic [source]. More details of these words is available on my Celtiadur blog.
English words from the same PIE root include bellows, belly, and bolster, via Old English and Proto-Germanic, billow via Old Norse and Proto-Germanic, foolish and folly via Old French and Latin [source], and bulge, budge and budget via Old French, Latin and Gaulish [source].
The first part of the word foolhardy (recklessly or thoughtlessly bold; foolishly rash or venturesome) comes from the same root as fool, while hardy comes from the Old French hardi (durable, hardy, tough), from the Frankish *hartjan, from the Proto-Germanic *harduz [ˈxɑr.ðuz] (hard, brave), from the PIE *kert-/*kret- (strong, powerful), from which part of the word democratic originates [source].
Today we’re untangling the origins of the word knot 🪢.
A knot [nɒt/nɑt] is:
any of various fastenings formed by looping and tying a piece of rope, cord, etc, in upon itself, to another piece of rope, or to another object
a small cluster or huddled group, e.g. ‘a knot of people’
It comes from the Middle English knotte [ˈknɔt(ə)] (knot, tie, binding), from the Old English cnotta [ˈknot.tɑ] (knot), from the Proto-Germaic *knuttô [ˈknut.tɔːː] (knot), from the PIE *gnod- (to bind) [source].
The Latin word nōdus (knot, knob, bond) comes from the same PIE root, and is the root of the English words such as noose, node and nodule [source].
The English word knit comes from the same PIE root, via Old English and Proto-Germanic, as does the name Canute, via the Old Norse Knútr, probably from the Old Norse word knútr (knot) [source].
A knot is also a unit of speed used by ships and aircraft that equal one nautical mile (1.85 km) per hour. This usage comes from a method of calculating the speed of a ship in use since at least the 16th century with a long rope with knots are regular intervals [More details].
Today we’re delving into the secret and mysterious origins of the word rune.
Rune [ɹuːn] means:
any of the characters of certain ancient alphabets of Germanic languages, esp. of Scandinavia and Britain, from about the 3rd to 13th centuries.
something written or inscribed in such characters.
something secret or mysterious.
It comes from Old Norse rún (secret, rune), from Proto-Norse ᚱᚢᚾᛟ [ˈruː.noː] (runo – secret, mystery, rune, inscription, message), from Proto-Germanic *rūnō [ˈruː.nɔː] (secret, mystery, rune), possibly from Proto-Celtic *rūnā (secret, mystery) [source].
Words for runes in Germanic languages come from the same Proto-Germanic root, including rune [ˈrynə] in Dutch, rune [rʉːnə] Norwegian, and runa in Swedish [source].
Words from the same Proto-Celtic root include rún (mystery, secret, intention, purpose, love, affection) in Irish, and rhin (secret, mystery, enchantment, virute, occult) in Welsh [source].
In Irish a rún is used as a term of affection meaning “my dear/darling”. It appears in the traditional song Siúil a Rún:
It tends used in set expressions, such as “without further ado” and “with much ado” and is sometimes replaced with to-do, which means the same thing.
It comes from a Northern Middle English expression at do – the at comes from Old Norse, where it’s an infinitive marker, and such infinitive markers are still used in Danish (at), Swedish (att) and Norwegian (att). The do comes from the Middle English do(n) (to do) [source].
– the region of the clouds or the upper air; the upper atmosphere of the earth
– the heavens or firmament, appearing as a great arch or vault
– the supernal or celestial heaven
It comes from the Middle English word sky [skiː] (sky, cloud, mist), from the Old Norse ský [ˈskyː] (cloud), from the Proto-Germanic *skiwją [ˈskiw.jɑ̃] (cloud, sky), from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)kewH- (to cover, hide, cloud) [source].
In Old English the word for sky (and heaven) was heofon [ˈhe͜o.von], from the Proto-West Germanic *hebn (sky, heaven), which became heaven in modern English [source].
Related words in other languages include sky [ˈskyˀ] (cloud) in Danish, sky [ʂyː] (cloud) in Norwegian, sky [ɧyː] (sky, cloud) in Swedish, ský [sciː] (cloud) in Icelandic,and skýggj [skʊt͡ʃː] (cloud) in Faroese. A more common word for sky in Swedish is himmel, and cloud is moln [source].
Today we are looking at the word window [ˈwɪndəʊ / ˈwɪndoʊ].
Definition: an opening in the wall of a building, the side of a vehicle, etc., for the admission of air or light, or both, commonly fitted with a frame in which are set movable sashes containing panes of glass [source].
Window comes from the Middle English windowe/windohe/windoge, from the Old Norse vindauga (window) or literally “wind-eye/wind-hole”, as windows were originally unglazed holes in walls or roofs that allowed the wind to pass through [source].
Another word for window in Middle English was fenestre/fenester, which was used in parallel with windowe/windohe/windoge until the mid 16th century. It comes from the Old French fenestre (window), from the Latin fenestra (window, breach, loophole, orifice, inlet), which possibly came from Etruscan.
In Old English a window was known as an eagþyrel [ˈæ͜ɑːɣˌθyː.rel] (“eye-hole”) or ēagduru [ˈæ͜ɑːɣˌdu.ru] (“eye-door”). This fell out of use by about 1200 AD [source].
Words for window in some other Germanic languages are similar to window, including vindue [ˈvend̥u] in Danish, vindu in Norwegian, vindeyga [ˈvɪntˌɛiːja] in Faroese, and vindöga in Swedish, although that is no longer used, and fönster is used instead.
Words for window in the Goidelic languages were borrowed from Old Norse: fuinneog [ˈfˠɪn̠ʲoːɡ] in Irish, uinneag [ɯn̪ʲag] in Scottish Gaelic and uinnag [onˈjaɡ] in Manx [source].