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The Origin of
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Shakespere coined over 1600 words including countless, critical, excellent, lonely, majestic, obscene.
From Ben Johnson we got damp, from Isaac Newton centrifugal and from Thomas More: explain and exact.
This came into English where the fruit was a NARANJ. Words ending in J are not common in English so the spelling quickly changed to a NARANGE.
The initial N moved to the a because of mis-hearing to give an ARANGE (this is called metanalysis).
Over time, the initial A became an O to give an ORANGE.
The TL sound is common in the Aztec language but not in Spanish. The Spaniards mispronounced the drink CHOCOLATO.
This drink was brought to Europe (with sugar added) where the pronunciation and spelling in English became CHOCOLATE.
Mohammad al-Khwarizmi was a mathematician who flourished in Baghdad around the year 800. He wrote a book about the solving of equations. It was called ilm al-jabr wa'l muqabalah (the science of transposition and cancellation).
The term al-jabr from this title gave the English word, ALGEBRA.
The word SHAH means a "king" as in the last monarch (or SHAH) of Iran. MATE has the same root as the English "murder" and the Spanish "matador" (killer).
The word came via French (where the SH became a CH) and into English where the MA-TE (two syllables) became MATE (one syllable) to give CHECKMATE.
|awful||deserving of awe|
|brave||cowardice (as in bravado)|
|girl||young person of either sex|
|luxury||sinful self indulgence|
|neck||parcel of land (as in neck of the woods)|
|quick||alive (as in quicksilver)|
|tell||to count (as in bank teller)|
The word silly meant blessed or happy in the 11th century going through pious, innocent, harmless, pitiable, feeble, feeble minded before finally ending up as foolish or stupid.
Pretty began as crafty then changed via clever, skilfully made, fine to beautiful.
Buxom began with the meaning obedient and changed via compliant, lively, plump to large breasted.
The word nice meant stupid and foolish in the late 13th Century. It went through a number of changes including wanton, extravagant, elegant, strange, modest, thin, and shy. By the middle of the 18th Century it had gained its current meaning of pleasant and agreeable.
Words are changing meaning now: consider how the words bad and gay have changed in recent years.
Examples include: sellable, brightness, pavement, disestablish, antimatter.
Words can be combined to form new words (air and port gave airport; land and mark to give landmark). Sometimes the combination can go in more than one way (houseboat, boathouse; bookcase, casebook).
Many common words have been shortened from the original term as in the table below.
|Modern Word||Original Form|
|bus||omnibus (Latin: for everyone)|
|mob||mobile vulgus (Latin: fickle crowd)|
|petrol||petroleum (Greek: rock oil)|
Metanalysis is the process where a letter is added or subtracted because of a nearby word. Examples below.
|Modern Word||Original Form|
|a nickname||an ekename|
|a newt||an ewt|
|an adder||a nadder|
|an apron||a napron|
|an orange||a narange|
|an umpire||a nonper|
|Archer||bow and arrow user|
|Shepherd||herder of sheep|
|Devonshire||an English county|
|Lincoln||an English city|
|Kent||an English county|
|Preston||an English city|
|Kennedy||Gaelic: ugly head|
|Morgan||Welsh: white haired|
|Russell||French: red haired|
|Whistler||one who whistles|
|Johnson||son of John|
|MacDonald||son of Donald (Scottish)|
|O'Connor||son of Connor (Irish)|
|Robinson||son of Robin|
There is a Search facility for finding names or meanings.
|ac||Anglo-Saxon||oak||Ac-, Oak-, -ock|
|baile||Gaelic||farm, village||Bally-, Bal-|
|bearu||Anglo-Saxon||grove, wood||Barrow-, -ber|
|beorg||Anglo-Saxon||burial mound||Bar-, -borough|
|burh||Anglo-Saxon||fortified place||Bur-, -bury|
|burna||Anglo-Saxon||stream, spring||Bourn-, -burn(e)|
|by||Old Norse||farm, village||-by|
|ceaster||Latin||fort, Roman town||Chester-, -caster|
|daire||Gaelic||oak wood||-dare, -derry|
|dalr||Old Norse||valley||Dal-, -dale|
|denn||Anglo-Saxon||swine pasture||-dean, -den|
|dun||Anglo-Saxon||hill, down||Dun-, -down, -ton|
|ea||Anglo-Saxon||water, river||Ya-, Ea-, -ey|
|ey||Old Norse||island||-ey, -ay|
|ham||Anglo-Saxon||homestead, village||Ham-, -ham|
|hyrst||Anglo-Saxon||wooded hill||Hurst-, -hirst|
|-ing||Anglo-Saxon||place of ...||-ing|
|leah||Anglo-Saxon||glade, clearing||Leigh-, Lee-, -ley|
|mere||Anglo-Saxon||lake, pool||Mer-, Mar-, -mere, -more|
|stoc||Anglo-Saxon||meeting place||Stoke-, -stock|
|stow||Anglo-Saxon||meeting place||Stow-, -stow(e)|
|straet||Latin||Roman road||Strat-, Stret-, -street|
|tun||Anglo-Saxon||enclosure, village||Ton-, -town, -ton|
|thorp||Old Norse||farm, village||Thorp-, -thorp(e)|
|thveit||Old Norse||glade, clearing||-thwaite|
|wic||Anglo-Saxon||dwelling, farm||-wick, -wich|
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