…… which is the study and history of the origin of words. Have you ever wondered how some words came to mean what they do? I did – as a kid, I always wondered how the word ‘cup’ came to describe something that held your drink.
Well, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins, the word ‘cup’ is an Old English one, from the Latin, cupa (meaning tub or cask). Such a funny word, when you stop and think about it long enough.
I remember holding a cup, a blue one with ridged sides, contemplating its meaning and why this particular word was chosen to identify this object. I think I was twelve and it was a hot summer day. I had just made up some iced tea and sweetened it with sugar, before drinking it down from that blue cup. Mid-way through the drink, I found myself wondering about the word and the object and their strange, symbiotic connection.
It’s one of the things I wonder about, a lot. Something I try to incorporate in my writing – words are chosen for their meaning, whether it’s a place name or a character’s.
Words have meaning and meaning has power. My fascination with etymology continues to grow.
January 24, 2017 at 9:08 AM
With such a love for words, I’m wondering if you’ve read Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue. It’s a great (and funny) look at the English language.
January 24, 2017 at 9:35 AM
Not yet, no, but thanks for reminding me that I need to add that to my To Be Read bookcase. 🙂
January 24, 2017 at 9:39 AM
I think you’ll love the humor and the etymology!
January 24, 2017 at 9:40 AM
I’ve heard nothing but praise for his work, so I think you’re right. 🙂
April 16, 2017 at 5:48 AM
I agree. As an English teacher, I have a fascination with Etymology and really appreciate authors who think deeply about the nomenclature of their writing. An obvious choice, but J.K.Rowling is such a master of name choosing. From latin influences, to English myths and legends, her names are so beautifully chosen.
April 16, 2017 at 2:14 PM
Rowling has a good ear for names. 🙂