The Oxford Etymologist explores the history and development of the verb “flaunt”, “to display ostentatiously,”
Quite naturally, speakers connect words that sound alike. From a strictly scholarly point of view, “sore” and “sorrow” are unrelated, but for centuries, people thought differently, and folk etymology united the two long ago.
The Oxford Etymologist tackles the convoluted history of “bud” and “buddy” – the final part of the series.
The Oxford Etymologist tackles the convoluted history of “bud” and “buddy”.
Observing how various words for “friend” originate and develop is a rather curious enterprise.
At first sight, the origin of the verb “scratch” looks unproblematic… The Oxford Etymologist scratches beneath the surface of “scratch.”
The Oxford Etymologist explores the origin of the verb “to start”.
Some words propagate like mushrooms: no roots but a sizable crowd of upstarts calling themselves relatives. Gr-words are the pet subject of all works on sound imitation and sound symbolism.
The history of “dude” has been documented with amazing accuracy.
The Oxford Etymologist answers readers’ questions on the origin of the word “race”, variants of “in one’s stockinged feet”, the folkloric creature Lady Hoonderlarly, and “bonfire.”
One does not need to be an etymologist to suggest that stocking consists of “stock-” and “-ing”. The trouble is that though “-ing” occurs in some nouns, it looks odd in stocking. Few English words have more seemingly incompatible senses than stock.
The origin of the word blatherskite ~ bletherskate “foolish talk; foolish talker” is supposedly secure. The Oxford Etymologist investigates…
The mattock, a simple tool, has a name troublesome to etymologists even though it has been known since the Old English period. In this blog post, the Oxford Etymologist explores a new hypothesis for the origins of “mattock”.
The history of “cheek by jowl” and especially the pronunciation of “jowl” could serve as the foundation of a dramatic plot, says the Oxford Etymologist in this week’s blog post.
No one doubts that “bachelor” came to Middle English at the end of the thirteenth century from Old French and meant “a young knight.” Most conjectures about the etymology of this mysterious word were offered long ago.
Some of the most common words appeared in English late. Yet their origin is obscure. Of course, while dealing with old words, we also encounter unexpected solutions.