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 Etymology: Word Derivations and Meanings

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Ozymandias
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PostSubject: Etymology: Word Derivations and Meanings    Sun 08 Jan 2012, 22:35

I thought it might be interesting to open a thread on this subject and prompted by a recent word I came across.

That word was ‘edify’ which the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) says is derived from the Latin aedificare, to build, and which itself is a conflation of the Latin aedis, a dwelling, and facere, to make. These are the roots of the words ‘edifice’ and ‘edification’. The interesting thing about it is that the modern meaning of the verb ‘edify’ has nothing to do with house building but relates to the moral and educational improvement of the person. In Irish we have the word éadaigh (pron. ‘aid-ig’) = ‘clothes’ and éidigh (same pron.) = ‘armour’, which may be related.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Etymology: Word Derivations and Meanings    Mon 09 Jan 2012, 10:00

It seems in later Latin it became a common usage for "building up character" as in the moral education of a person and thus found its way into English via French.

What is strange though is that "to edify" now only means that particular application of the verb, though as late as the 17th century it could obviously still be used to mean physical construction of buildings etc (I take it the inspiration for your post was the quote you cited in your other thread - "Kilcolman Castle had originally been destroyed in 1598 but was subsequently ‘re-edified’").

One does wonder why perfectly logical and usable words simply "drop out" of usage and are often replaced by less precise or otherwise inferior terms.
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: Etymology: Word Derivations and Meanings    Sat 13 Jul 2013, 21:50

The word 'egregious' has gone from meaning outstanding (in a positive sense) to meaning the opposite. The word itself derives from the Latin for 'out of the herd' - (i.e. 'ex grex') so technically its use as an adjective could be either positive or negative depending on the noun applied.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Etymology: Word Derivations and Meanings    Thu 07 Nov 2013, 04:49

Really interesting site, maps of Europe that show the origin and meanings of some common words used by the various countries. Or in other words, the influence of language

http://www.businessinsider.com/european-maps-showing-origins-of-common-words-2013-11
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Etymology: Word Derivations and Meanings    Thu 07 Nov 2013, 16:50

That's an interesting site Islanddawn.

Thanks for that.

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Etymology: Word Derivations and Meanings    Fri 08 Nov 2013, 09:23

Great map - very interesting stuff there. It's spoiled a little bit for me when I see "béar" as Irish for "bear" cited as displaying similar roots to its English cognate when I grew up with "urrán" as the Irish word and know that "béar" only really appeared during the 1970s - around the same time that the powers-that-be decided "gluaisteán" was too complicated for kids to learn as a word for "car" and suddenly "carr" became the Irish word too. "Urrán" of course shows a link back to "ursa", cognate with "arknos" (Gr.).

Interestingly, even when "urrán" was the word taught in schools we still had "bheithir" for a she-bear. It obviously can indeed be linked to the English cognate but why it ever ended up only to mean a female "urrán" is anyone's guess. To complicate things even further the only word we know that was used for "bear" before Latin was introduced into Gaelic was "mathghamháin", and where that might fit on the colour-coded map is also anyone's guess.
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