Adventures in Etymology – Bizarre

Today we’re looking into the strange and unusual origins of the word bizarre.

Bizarre!

Bizarre [bɪˈzɑː/bəˈzɑɹ] means:

  • markedly unusual in appearance, style, or general character and often involving incongruous or unexpected elements
  • outrageously or whimsically strange
  • odd

It comes from the French bizarre [bi.zaʁ] (odd, peculiar, bizarre), either from the Basque bizar [bis̻ar] (beard), or from the Italian bizzarro [bidˈd͡zar.ro] (odd, queer, eccentric, bizarre, weird, frisky), possibly from bizza (tantrum), from the German beißen [ˈbaɪ̯sən] (to bite) [source].

In French backslang (Verlan), bizarre becomes zarbi [source] and features in the expression On est tous un peu zarbi(tes) (We’re all a little freaky), or as they as in northern England, There’s nowt so queer as folk [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 words, etymology, and other language-related topics, on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

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Episode 40 – Spanish (español)

In this episode I talk about the Spanish language, looking at its history, grammar, current status, and how I learnt it.

Links
https://www.omniglot.com/writing/spanish.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Spanish_language
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_grammar
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_phonology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language_in_the_Americas
https://www.ethnologue.com/language/spa
https://english.elpais.com/elpais/2017/11/29/inenglish/1511950198_079424.html

Music featured in this episode

Hedge Cats / Cathod y Gwyrch

See the score for this tune.

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