NerdFury - Big Daddy (nerdfury) wrote in 1word1day,
NerdFury - Big Daddy

  • Mood:
Merry Christmas to all that celebrate, and happy whatever else for the other holidays. Happy Festivus for the rest of us, and happy public holiday for those that are only in it for the presents and food.

I'm feeling really tired and just a little bit sick at the moment, so I thought I'd do something just a little bit different today. Instead of a single word, I thought I might provide some intriguing information about some fairly common words. Okay, so it might be seen as a little bit of a cop-out for some of you, but hopefully most of you find something interesting out of it. Personally, I've just spent my Christmas Day dealing with a bunch of Chinese guests for an 'authentic Aussie Christmas dinner' (none of whom spoke English!) and today with my dear mother who's just turned fifty. I'm exhausted!

Onto the wordy stuff:

Some long-lost words remain in our language as pieces of other words. Take, for example, the word "ruthless." The old word "ruth", meaning roughly, "pity", has dropped out of the language entirely, but "ruthless" remains, its difference from "pitiless" somehow making it still a useful word.

"Unkempt" is another example of an orphaned piece of a word. The word "kempt", meaning "combed", has long since vanished.

"Dismay" is another interesting word. The "may" part of it comes from the Anglo-Saxon "maegen", (the "g" is pronounced as a "y") the word for strength in Old England. It is the same word that is used in the expression "with might and main." Later it was extended to mean "courage". The word "dismayed" meant "deprived of courage or resolution".

As in "maegen", the "g" before a high front vowel (like "i" or "e") was pronounced as a "y". Our word "if" was originally "gif", and you can still sometimes see it written that way in old manuscripts, but since the "y" sound at the beginning was almost silent, it got dropped off.

And are you gruntled yet? The "dis" of disgruntled is not the same as the "dis" of "dismayed." It means "completely", and so "gruntled," just as it sounds, is an old word that means "grumbling." Today, however, "gruntled" has found its way into dictionaries as a word in its own right. If you look at the origin, you will see that it gives "gruntled" as a back-formation from "disgruntled." People assumed that "disgruntled" was a negative and invented the word "gruntled." Similar back-formations add new words to the English dictionary every year. One of the most well-known as a back-formation is "edit, " which arose because the word "editor" sounds as if it should mean "one who edits."

Hope everyone's having a great day!
Tags: wordsmith: nerdfury

  • Tuesday word: Solace

    Tuesday, Jul. 27, 2021 Solace (noun, verb) sol·ace [sol-is] noun Also called sol·ace·ment. 1. comfort in sorrow, misfortune, or trouble;…

  • Sunday Word: Saltings

    saltings [ sawlt-ings] noun: (British English) areas of low ground regularly inundated with salt water, often taken to include their…

  • Tuesday word: Criterion

    Tuesday, July 20, 2021 Criterion (noun) cri·te·ri·on [krahy-teer-ee-uhn]; plural cri·te·ri·a [-teer-ee-uh] noun a standard of judgment or…

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded