Thursday, February 04, 2010

Hirsute, horror, urchin

Proto-Indo-European had (it is reconstructed) a root *ghers- meaning "bristle."

A suffixed form with -tu in Latin gives us hirsūtus, whence "hirsute."

A lengthened form *ghēr gives (h)ēriciōnem "hedgehog" in Latin, which winds its way through various Frankish dialects until it emerges in English at yrichon in the 13th century, becoming "urchin," later acquiring the denotation of "ragamuffin."

And a suffixed ablaut form gives us he verb horērre, whence English "horror."

I originally laced these together when I realized I didn't know the derivation of urchin, and the semantic threads are fairly early to follow. [I have bitten bradshaw of the future's style here for a moment, if poorly, but still in good fun.]

1 comment:

goofy said...

Also "arugula"!