In this Adventure we’re calmly looking into the origins of the word nonchalant.
Nonchalant [ˈnɒn.ʃəl.ənt / ˌnɑn.ʃəˈlɑnt] means:
casually calm and relaxed
indifferent, unconcerned, behaving as if detached
It comes from the French nonchalant (indolent, cool, relaxed) from the Old French nonchaloir (to have no importance, indifference), from non- (not) and chaloir (to heat, bother, concern), from the Latin calēre (to matter or care) from caleō (I am warm or hot, I glow) [source].
Words from the same Latin roots include calorie, cauldron, chowder, caldera, coddle and scald in English, calor (heat) in Spanish, and chaleur (heat, warmth, fervour) in French [source].
If you can be nonchalant, can you be chalant? Well, the word chalent does exist, at least in informal use, and means careful, attentive or concerned [source], or concerning, frustrating and possibly hostile [source].
In this Adventure in Etymology we are getting perplexed and confused by the origins of the word befuddle.
Befuddle [bɪˈfʌdl] means:
to perplex or confuse (sb)
to stupefy (sb), especially with alcohol
It comes from be- (a prefix) and fuddle (to confuse, intoxicate, get drunk; intoxication, a muddle or confusion) [source], possibly from the Low German fud(d)eln (to work negligently) [source].
Related words include befuddlement (a state of being befuddled), fuddlesome (confusing), fuddler (drunkard) and fuddling (intoxication).
Incidentally, in some English dialects, such as in Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Bedfordshire, a fuddle is a party or picnic where attendees bring food and wine.
Such an event might also be called a potluck, potluck dinner, pitch-in, shared lunch, faith supper, covered-dish supper, Jacob’s Join, bring a plate or fellowship meal [source]. Other names are available. What would you call it?
According to the description of the photo, which is of a Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithicus rosalia) by the way, “Tamarins are easy to confuse. I just asked him what the square root of 5 was, and he got all befuddled.” So it’s a good way to illustrate befuddlement, and I like to use photos of cute animals on my posts, because why the hell not?
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].
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.
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].
Today we’re telling tales about the origins of the word 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].
Today we are uncovering the origins of the word 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].
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].
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, cé in Irish, and cei [kei̯] in Welsh [source].
Today we are burrowing into the origins of the word rabbit.
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].
Today we are exploring origins of the word campus.
A campus [ˈkæmpəs / ˈkæmpʊs] is:
The grounds or property of a school, college, university, business, church, or hospital, often understood to include buildings and other structures.
It comes from the Latin campus (field. plain), from the Proto-Italic *kampos, from the Proto-Indo-European *kh₂ém-po-s, from *kh₂emp- (to bend, curve, smooth) [source].
Words from the same roots include camp, campaign and champagne in English, campo (field) in Italian, campo (country(side), field) in Portuguese, and champ (field) in French [source].
The southern Italian region of Campania, the name of which comes from the Latin campus, was the source of bronze used to make bells, which were known as campāna in Latin Latin. This comes from Campāna (of Campania) [source].
Words from the same Latin roots include: campanile (bell tower, belfry) and campanology (the study of bells) in English, campana (bell) in Italian, campana (bell, bell-shaped object, hood) in Spanish, and cumpănă (balance, scales, equilibirum) in Romanian [source].