Adventures in Etymology – Quibble

In this Adventure we getting all trivial and petty and looking into the origins of the word quibble.

Quibble

Quibble [ˈkwɪbəl] means:

  • A pun (rare. from 17th century)
  • An objection or argument based on an ambiguity of wording or similar trivial circumstance; a minor complaint.
  • To complain or argue in a trivial or petty manner.
  • To contest, especially some trivial issue in a petty manner.

It comes from quib (a quip or gibe), probably from Latin quibus (in what respect, how?), which appeared frequently in legal documents and came to be suggestive of the verbosity and petty argumentation found therein. [source].

Quibus comes from quī/quis (who, that, which, any), from Proto-Italic *kʷoi (who, what), from Proto-Indo-European *kʷós/*kʷís (who, what, which, that) [source].

Words from the same roots include what, who, why, when, which, how in English, and similar question words in other Indo-European languages [source].

Incidentally, the word quip (a smart, sarcastic turn or jest; a taunt; a severe retort or comeback) possibly comes from Latin quippe (indeed, since, after all, why), from quid (what, why, well), from PIE *kʷid, a form of kʷís (who, what, which) [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 – Haven

In this Adventure we’re finding a safe haven and other peaceful places.

Armadale harbour

A haven [ˈheɪvən] is:

  • A harbour or anchorage protected from the sea
  • A place of safety
  • A peaceful place

It comes from Middle English haven(e), from Old English hæfen [ˈxæ.fen] (inlet, harbour, port), from Proto-Germanic *hab(a)nō [ˈxɑ.βɑ.nɔː] (harbour, haven), from PIE *kh₂p(ó)neh₂, from *keh₂p- (to take, seize, grasp) [source].

The English word abra, which means a narrow mountain pass, was borrowed from Spanish abra (small bay, inlet, glade, clearing), which comes from French havre (haven), and comes ultimately from Proto-Germanic *hab(a)nō via Middle Dutch, Old Dutch and Proto-West-Germanic, or Old Danish and Old Norse [source].

Other words from the same Proto-Germanic roots include Hafen (harbour, port, haven) in German, haven (harbour, port) in Dutch, hamn (harbour) in Swedish, and havn (harbour, haven) in Danish [source].

Incidentally, the word heaven doesn’t come from the same roots as haven. Instead it comes from Middle English heven(e) [ˈhɛv(ə)nə] (heaven, the heavens), from Old English heofon [ˈxe͜o.fon] (sky, heaven), from Proto-West-Germanic *hebun (sky, heaven), the roots of which are uncertain [source].

In case you’re interested, here details of the origins of the word harbour.

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 – Chemise

In this Adventure we are uncovering the origins of the word chemise and related items of clothing.

Chemise - blouse Alice

A chemise [ʃəˈmiːz] is:

  • A short nightdress, or similar piece of lingerie
  • A woman’s dress that fits loosely
  • A wall that lines the face of a bank or earthwork
  • A loose shirtlike undergarment, especially for women (historical)

It comes from French chemise (shirt, folder, chemise (wall-enforcing earthwork)), from Old French chemise, from Late Latin camīsia (shirt, nightgown), from Gaulish camisia (shirt), from Frankish *chamithia (shirt) from Proto-Germanic *hamiþiją (shirt), from PIE *ḱam- (to cover, conceal) [source].

Words from the same roots include shimmy in English, chemise (shirt, folder) in French, camisa (shirt) in Spanish, hemd (shirt, undershirt) in Dutch, Hemd (shirt) in German, and komża (surplice) in Polish [source].

The Arabic word قميص‎ (qamīṣ – shirt or robe) was probably borrowed from Latin camisia. It was also borrowed into English as kameez [kəˈmiːz], as in shalwar kameez (a loose shirt worn in some South Asian and Islamic countries), and into various languages in South Asia, via Urdu قَمِیْض (qamīz – shirt) [source].

donkeymen

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 – Obtuse Pronking

In this Adventure we are being indirect and circuitous and looking for an angle on the word obtuse.

Obtuse Climbing Angle

Obtuse [əbˈtjuːs] means:

  • Blunt, pointed or acute in form
  • More than 90° and less than 180°
  • Intellectually dull or dim-witted
  • Deadened, muffled or mutted (sound)
  • Indirect or circuitous

Obtuse comes from Middle French obtus (obtuse, boring, dull, lifeless), from the Latin obtūsus (blunt, dull, obtuse), from obtundō (to batter, beat, strike, blunt, dull), from ob- (against) and tundō (to beat, strike, bruise, crush, pound), from PIE *(s)tewd- (to push, hit) [source].

Words from the same roots include student, study and studio in English, and tundir (to shear, mow) in Spanish [source].

Also from the same roots we get the word stot, which means a leap using all four legs at once. This is what springboks, Thomson’s gazelles, pronghorns and other species do as a way to show predators that they would be difficult to catch (see below) [source].

Pronking

Stotting is also known as pronking or pronging, which come from Afrikaans pronk (to show off, strut or prance), from Dutch pronken (to display, show off) [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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Adventure in Etymology: Harbouring Harbingers

In this Adventure we find out what connects the words harbinger and harbour.

harbingers

A harbinger [ˈhɑːbɪndʒə/ˈhɑɹbɪnd͡ʒəɹ] is:

  • One that indicates or foreshadows what is to come;
  • A person sent in advance of a royal party or army to obtain lodgings for them (obsolete)

Harbinger is used most often in particular phrases: it can be negative, as in a harbinger of doom, or positive, as in a harbinger of Spring [source].

It comes from Middle English herberjour [ˌ(h)ɛrbi(r)ˈd͡ʒuːr] (a host, one who provides accommodation or hospitality, a person sent in advance (of an army) to arrange lodgings), from Old French herbergeor (innkeeper, host), from herbergier (to set up camp, to (take) shelter), via Frankish, from Proto-West-Germanic *harjabergu (army camp, barracks, refuge, shelter), from *hari (army) and *bergu (protection) [source].

Words from the same roots include harbour in English, Herberge (hostel, inn) in German, herberg (inn, lodging) in Dutch, härbärge (a place to stay, homeless shelter) in Swedish, herbergi (room, apartment) in Icelandic, and auberge (hostel) in French [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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Amok and Havoc

In this Adventure we’re looking into the origins of the words amok and havoc. It’s a double bill this week as I had a break for Christmas last week.

cry havoc

Amok [əˈmɒk/əˈmʌk] means:

  • Out of control, especially when armed and dangerous.
  • In a frenzy of violence, or on a killing spree; berserk.

It usually appears in the phrase to run amok, which means to go on a rampage, to be in an uncontrollable rage, to go beserk, to go postal or to wreak havoc [source].

Amok comes from the Portuguese amouco (amok), from the Malay amuk (to go on a killing spree, to run amok), from the Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *hamuk. The Tagalog word hamok (fierce fighting, brawl) and the Māori word amo (to charge, attack) come from the same roots [source].

Other English words derived from Malay include bamboo, camphor, cassowary, cockatoo, compound (as in an enclousure), gecko, gingham, gong and orangutan [source].

The word havoc [ˈhævək] means:

  • Widespread devastation and destruction, mayhem
  • to pillage, cause havoc

It comes from the Middle English havok (plunder, pillage), from the Old French havok, from havot (pillaging, looting) [source].

It appears in the phrase to wreak havoc, which means to cause damage, disruption or destruction [source]. Incidentally, I wrote about the word wreak on the Omniglot blog this week.

In Middle English it was used in the phrases crien havok (to give the signal for general plundering, and maken havok (to plunder thoroughly and indscriminately) [source]. The phrase, to cry havoc (to give an army the order to plunder) was and possibly still is used in modern English [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I chose these words because I spent Christmas with my family (see below), including my niece and nephews, who are all under 10. While they didn’t exactly run amok or wreak havoc, a house full of young children can be a bit chaotic.

My family / Fy nheulu

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 – Snort

In this Adventure we are snuffling around the origins of the word snort.

harbor seal thrusting head back and snorting

Snort [snɔɹt] means:

  • The sound made by exhaling or inhaling roughly through the nose.
  • to exhale roughly through the nose; to make a snort
  • to inhale snuff or another snortable substance

It comes from the Middle English snorten (to snore, breathe heavily, snort), from fnorten/fnōren (to snore loudly, to snort in one’s sleep, (of a horse) to snort), from the Old English fnora (a sneeze, sneezing), from the Proto-Germanic *fnuzô, from the Proto-Indo-European *pnew- (to breathe, snort, sneeze) [source].

Words derived from snort include chortle (a joyful, somewhat muffled laugh, rather like a snorting chuckle) – a blend of chuckle and snort [source]; and snortle (a hearty laugh that is punctuated by a snort on the inhale) – a blend of snort and chortle [source].

Words from the same roots at snort include πνέω [ˈpne.o] (to blow) in Greek; niezen (to sneeze) in Dutch; sneeze, pneumonia and pneumatic in English; and fnysa (to snort, scoff, sniff, harumph) 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.

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Adventures in Etymology – Jail / Gaol

In this Adventure we unlock the origins of the word jail / gaol.

Kilmainham Gaol

A jail / gaol [d͡ʒeɪ(ə)l] is:

  • A place of confinement for persons held in lawful custody.

Gaol was the standard spelling in the UK and Australia until about the 1930s, when apparently the game Monopoly popularised the jail spelling. It comes from the Middle English gai(o)le (jail, prison, birdcage), from the Old North French gaiole (cave, prison), from the Medieval Latin gabiola (cage) from the Late Latin caveola, a diminuative of cavea (hollow, cavity, cage), from cavus (hollow, concave) [source].

Jail comes from the Middle English jaile (jail, prison, birdcage), from the Old French jaiole (cage, prison), from the same Latin roots as gaol. Both words come from the Proto-Italic *kawos, and possibly from the PIE *ḱowh₁ós (hollow), from *ḱewh₁- (to swell) [source].

English words from the same roots include cave, cavern, cavity, cage and church [source].

Apparently in the USA a jail is under the jurisdiction of a local government (such as a county) and is used to confine people awaiting trail or those convicted of minor crimes [source], while a prison is under state jurisdiction and is used to confine those convicted of serious crimes [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.

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Adventures in Etymology / Celtic Pathways – Brogue

In this episode we’re look into the tangled origins of the word brogue. I decided to make this a joint Adventures in Etymology / Celtic Pathways episode rather doing two separate ones. I hope you don’t mind.

John Baker's Doppelmonk Brogue K188 Kalbsleder hellbraun (brown) (1)

The word brogue in English refers to a type of shoe, or a strong accent, particularly a strong Irish accent when speaking English, although it originally referred to Irish spoken with a strong English accent, or a heavy shoe of untanned leather.

It comes from the Irish word bróg (boot, shoe), from the Old Irish bróc [broːɡ] (shoe, sandal, greave), from the Old Norse brók (trousers, breeches) or the Old English brōc (underpants), both of which come from the Proto-Germanic *brōks (rear end, rump, leggings, pants, trousers), from the PIE *bʰreg- (to break, crack, split) [source].

Related words in other Celtic languages include:

  • bròg [brɔːg] = shoe, boot, hoof in Scottish Gaelic
  • braag = brogue, shoe in Manx
  • brog = brogue (shoe) in Welsh

Brogue in the sense of accent might come from the Irish word barróg (hug, wrestling grip, brogue, impediment of speech) [source], which comes from the Old Irish barróc (fast hold, tight grip, embrace, gripe, stitch) [source],

Other words from the Proto-Germanic root *brōks include breeches/britches in English, brók (trousers, underpants) in Icelandic and Faroese, brok (trousers) in Swedish and Norwegian, and broek (trousers) in Dutch [source].

The Irish word bríste (trousers), the Manx word breeçhyn (breeches) and the Welsh word brits/britsh (breeches) were borrowed from the English word breeches. The Scottish Gaelic word briogais (trousers) comes from the Scots breeks (trousers, breeches), from the Middle English breke, from the Old English brēċ [breːt͡ʃ] (underpants) [source].

More details of shoe– and trouser-related words in Celtic languages can be found on the 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 – 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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