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INTRODUCTION. xi

consolidare, solid us, Stella (the wise men's star). See Rhys, Lectures on Welsh Philology, p. 7i. Similarly Gaelic abounds in borrowed words, which, like stolen children, are disfigured that they may not be reclaimed. Thus Armstrong's Dictionary gives prionnsa, priomhlaid, probhaid, prionntair, which merely stand for prince, prelate, profit, printer; Campbell cites daoimean for diamond, and probhaisd (lord mayor) for provost. Similarly in Gaelic, Lat. Malum takes the form of abhlan, scecidum of saoghal, apostolus of abstol, episcorpus of easbuigJ discipulus becomes deisciopuil; saccrdos, sagart; baptizare, baist; consecrate d ; confortare, comkfortaich (vid. Blackie, Language and Literature of the Highlands, p. 31). Adbhannsa, moision, coitseachan, deaspui, phairti, represent Eng. advance, motion, coaches, dispute, party (Campbell, Tales of W. Highlands, vol. iv. p. 107). Bhaigair, fudair, reisirneid, are the Eng. words beggar, powder, regiment, in disguise (Id. p. 183). So lukarn, karkara, aikeits, are Gothicized forms of the Latin lucerna, career, acetuni; in Hebrew Sanhedrin is a loan-word from Greek sunedrion, while it lends siphonia to the Greek as sumphonia. Who would recognize at a glance the Greek prosbole in the Rabbinical Pruzbul, "the defence," a legal document (Barclay, The Talmud, p. 81).

In the same way the Northmen often adopted bastard Greek words into their own tongue. Thus, from Hagiosophia, the famous church of St. Sophia, they made their JEgisif; from the Hippodrome, their Padreimr. So Elizabeth became EUisif, Hellespontum was twisted into EUijmllta, Apulia became Pulsland, S'italias-fpilf became Atals-Fjord. See Prof. Stephens, Old Northern Runic Monuments, p. 904.

Even within the limits of our own language the likeness assumed by one word to another is so deceptive that dictionary-makers have over and over again fallen into the mistake of supposing a radical identity where there was only a superficial and formal resemblance between them. Cutlet, for example, seems very naturally to denote a little cut off a loin of mutton, a "chop," as we also call it; and cutler seems equally suggestive of one who has to do with such cutting instruments as knives and razors. Accordingly Richardson, with easy credulity, groups both these words under the verb to cut, not penetrating the English disguise in the one case of Fr. cbtelette, a little rib (from cute, Lat. costa), and in the other of Fr. coutelier or cotelier, Lat. cultellarius, the man of knives (Lat. cultellus, a knife). Similarly clipper, a fast sailing vessel, from the analogy of cutter, readily falls into a line with clip, to speed along, and has often been ranged as a derivative under that word, with which it has really no connexion, as will be seen at p. GO. The same lexicographer also confuses together press and press-(gang), stand and standard, a banner, tact and tactics, and thinks an earnest is it pledge given of being in earnest about one's bargain or agreement—words totally unrelated.

Again rantism, an old pedantic word for an aspersion or sprinkling of

water, especially in the rite of baptism, has nothing to do, as Richardson

imagined, with the verb to rant, or, as Johnson puts it, with "the tenets of the

wretches called ranters" being simply the Greek rhantismos, a sprinkling,

I adopted bodily (Trench, On Some Deficiencies in our Eng. Dictionaries, p. 22). xii INTRODUCTION.

"We but an handful! to their heape, but a rantisme to their baptisme. — Bp. Andrewes, Of the Sending of the Holy Ghost, Sermons, p. 612 fol.

Pitfalls like these await word-mongers at every turn, and there are few but tumble into them sometimes. I may mention one or two which I was nearly caught in while engaged on this work. Meeting the word yreen-siciness in Suckling (Fragmenta A urea, 1648, p. 82), and The Spectator (No. 4311 the chief symptom of which malady is an unnatural longing for unwholesome food, I was for a time tempted to see in this the Scottish verb green or great. to long (e.g. in Dalyell, Darker Superstitions of Scotland, p. 206), from A. Sax. gyrnan, to yearn, georn, desirous. However, it really bears its true meaning on its face, it being, as Johnson says, "the disease of maids, so called from the paleness which it produces," from green, used for pale; and so its scientific name is chlorosis, from Greek cAldroi, green, Welsh glaswst, from ever green. pale, proving my too ingenious conjecture to be unfounded. Again, on discovering that the Low Latin name for the common wild cherry is Priam aeium, and having read that Prussic acid can be made (and I believe is made from the kernels of cherries and other stone-fruit, I concluded for the momer.that Prussic acid must be that manufactured from the Prussus. Further investigation showed me that it was really the acid derived from Prussian Blu' as witness the Danish blaasyre, "blue-acid," Ger. berlinerblausaure, " Berlinblue-acid,"—that colour having been discovered by a Prussian at Berlin.

A similar blunder, though plausible at first sight, is Tyrwhitt's theory that the old expression hot fat or hotfoot, with all speed (Debate between Body and Soul, in Mape's Poems, p. 339), orfote hote (Gower, Chaucer), is a corruption of an old Eng. hautfote, adapted from Fr. hautpied, as if with uplifted foot, on the trot or gallop (see Cant. Tales, note Oh 1. 4858). The suggestion might seem to derive corroboration from Cotgrave's idioms :—

"S'en aller Itaut le pied, To flie with lift-up legs, or as fast as his legs can carry with him."

"Poursuivre au pied levc, To follow foot-hot or hard at the heels." However, as impetuosity and quick motion are often expressed by heat (cf. Hotspur; "A business of some heat" Othello, i. 2; heats in racing; and Shakespeare speaks of a horse "heating an acre"), this supposition seems unnecessary, and is certainly wrong. The worst of it is that learned men have had such confidence in the truth of their theories that they have sometimes even altered the spelling of words that it may correspond more closely to the fancied original. Thus abominable was perverted into abhominable, voisinagc into vicinage, and many other instances will be found below.

Dr. J. A. H. Murray, remarking that Abraham Fleming's alteration of old Eng. bycoket, a military cap, to ubacot (Holinshed, p. 666, 1587), was doubtless in accordance with some etymological fancy, adds that all the corruptions of the English language have been thus caused. "The pedants of the sixteenth century, like the socialists of the nineteenth, were strong for 'etymological spelling'; their constant tinkering at the natural and historical forms of English words, to make their spelling remind the eye of some Latin or Greek words with which they were thought to be connected, was a curse

INTRODUCTION. xiii

to true etymology. They exemplify to the full the incisive remark of Prince Lucien Bonaparte that 'the corrupters of language are the literary men who write it not as it is, but according to their notions of what it ought to be.'"-—■ Athenaeum, Feb. 4, 1882, p. 157.

Julius Hare had long before given expression to much the same opinion:— "A large part of the corruptions in our language has arisen, not among the vulgar, but among the half-learned and parcel-learned, among those who, knowing nothing of the antiquities of their own tongue, but having a taint of Latin and Greek, have altered our English words to make them look more like their supposed Latin or Greek roots, thereby perpetuating their blunder by giving it the semblance of truth. Thus nobody now doubts that island is connected with isle and insula, rhyme with pu6fx6g, whereas if we retained the true spelling Hand and rime, it would have been evident that both are words of Teutonic origin, and akin to the German Eiland and Reim. Such corruptions, as having no root among the people, as being mere grafts stuck in by clumsy and ignorant workmen, it is more especially desirable to remove. Their being more frequent in our language than perhaps in any other is attributable to its mongrel character: the introduction of incongruous analogies has much confounded, and ultimately blunted that analogical tact, which is often found to possess such singular correctness and delicacy in the very rudest classes of mankind: and the habit of taking so many of our derivatives from foreign roots has often led us to look abroad, when we should have found what we wanted at home. For while the primary words in our language are almost all Saxon, the secondary, as they may be called, are mostly of French, the tertiary of Latin origin; and the attention of book-mongers has been chiefly engaged by the latter two classes, as being generally of larger dimensions, and coming more obtrusively into view, while our Saxon words were hardly regarded as a part of our learned tongue, and so were almost entirely neglected. On the other hand, a great many corruptions have resulted from the converse practice of modifying exotic words under the notion that they were native; and this practice has prevailed more or less in all countries" {Phdolngicid Museum, i. 654). Thus our unfortunate vocabulary has been under two fires. The half-learned and the wholly unlettered have alike conspired to improve words into something different from what they really are.

"Ignorance has often suggested false etymologies; and the corresponding orthography has not unfrequently led to false pronunciation, and a serious perversion of language." Thus the old word causey came to be spelt causeway, and life-lode was turned into livelihood, and the pronunciation, as Dr. Guest observes, is now generally accommodated to the corrupt spelling; but he was certainly too sanguine when he wrote, thirty-five years ago, "that no one who regards purity of style would, under any circumstances, employ terms so barbarous" {Philological Proceedings, 1848, vol. iii. p. 2).

"It is usual,"says Thomas Fuller, "for barbarous tongues to seduce words (as I may say) from their native purity, custome corrupting them to signifie things contrary to their genuine and grammatical notation " (Pisgah Sight, 1650, p. 39). The working of this principle of misconstruction has left its xiv INTRODUCTION.

mark on the Authorized version of our Bible. "In some cases the wrong; rendering of our translators arose from a false derivation which was generally accepted in their age. Thus (iterates (Matt. x. 16, Phil. ii. 15) is rendered 'harmless' [as if originally 'hornless,' from a, not, and keras, a horn), instead of 'simple, pure, sincere' [lit. 'unmixed,' from kerdnnumi]. So also eritliii-: (Rom. ii. 8, Gal. v. 20, &c.) is taken to mean 'strife, contention,' from its supposed connexion with Eris, whereas its true derivation is from erithos, 'a hired partisan,' so that it denotes 'party-spirit'" (Bp. Lightfoot, On a P Revision of the New Testament, p. 137).

In our nursery tale Folk-etymology has clothed Cinderella's foot with glass in the place of minever. It is now generally believed {e.g. by Mr. Ralston and M. Littre) that the substance of la petite pantoufle de verre in Charles Perrault's story of Cendritton (1C97) "was originally a kind of fur called vair—a word now obsolete in France, except in heraldry, but locally preserved in England as the name of the weasel Qsee Fairy, p. 110]—and that some reciter or transcriber to whom the meaning of vair was unknown substituted the more familiar, but less probable, verre, thereby dooming Cinderella to wear a glass slipper." Balsac, so long ago as 1830, affirmed that the pantoufle was sans doute de menu vair, i.e. of minever (The Nineteenth Century. Nov. 1879).

Thus it is not alone the form of a word that undergoes a metamorphose from some mistaken assimilation, but its signification gets warped and perverted from a false relationship or analogy being assumed. Many instances of this reflex influence will be found throughout this volume. An early instance is exhibited, it is supposed, in the name of the tower of Babel, originally Bab-el or Bab-bel, " the gate of God or Bel," which by the quaint humour of primitive times had been turned to the Hebrew word "Babel" 01 "confusion" (Stanley, Jewish Church, vol. i. p. 7). But Babel or Bab-iht is itself a Semitic translation of the older Turanian name Ca-dimirra, "gate of God" (Sayce, Trans. o/Soc. of Bib. Archwology, vol. i. p. 298).

Similarly, with regard to the early belief in a stone-sprung rare (*i'9ivoi yovof, Pindar), human beings are represented as having been created out oi stones in the Greek legend of Deucalion and Pyrrha, from a notion that K people, was derived from >aaf, a stone (Von Bohlen, Genesis, ii. 170), just ;i>, if we were to connect "people" (Welsh pobl), with "pebble" (old Eng. pebble).

The fact is, man is an etymologizing animal. He abhors the vacuum of an unmeaning word. If it seems lifeless, he reads a new soul into it, and often, like an unskilful necromancer, spirits the wrong soul into the wrong body. In old writers we meet the most ludicrous and fanciful suggestion about the origination of words, quite worthy to range with Swift's ostler fo oat-stealer, and apothecary from a pot he carries. Alexander Neckam, in the twelfth century, delights in "derivations" like "passer a patiendo" "ardc< quasi ardua," "alauda a laude diei" "truta a trudendo" "pellicanits, the pellican, so called because its skin (pellis) when touched seems to s (canere) by reason of its roughness" (De Naturis Renim, I. cap. 73). Other

INTRODUCTION. xv

mediaeval etymologies are equally amusing, e.g. Low Lat. colossus, a gravestone, i.e. colens ossa, "bones-keeper" (Prompt, Pare. s.v. Memoryal); Lat. nepos, a spendthrift, from negans possum, M. ad bonum, not a step taking to anything good (Id. s.v. Neve); "sepulckra, id est, semipulchra, halfe faire and beautiful" (Weever, Funeral Monuments, p. 9, 1631), "extra nitidum, intus foetidum " (T. Adams, Sermons, ii. 466). Durandus thinks that Low Lat. jmliantrum, a tomb or mausoleum (for pnlyandrum, the place of " many men "), is from poSutum antrum, a polluted cave; and cemetery, "from cimen which is sweet, and sterion which is station, for there the bones of the departed sweetly rest "! (Symbolism of Churches, p. 102, ed. Neale). Philip de Thaun, in his Norman-French Livre des Creatures, derives Samadi, Saturday, from senium, seed (1. 251); Septembre from Lat. imber, rain; Fermi, an ant, Lat. Formica, because "fort est e porte mie" (1. 502), it is strong (fortis) and carries a crumb (mica); perdix, partridge, so named because it loses, pert (perdit), its brood. Equally whimsical is his affiliation of vervex, a wether, on ver (vermis), a worm (1. 563). In the Malleus Maleficarum, 1520, it is explained that the etymology of Lat. femina, a woman, shows why there are so many more female sorcerers than male, that word being compounded of five (= fides), faith, and minus, less, the woman having less faith (p. 65, see R. R. Madden, Phantasmata, i. 459). Mons, it was believed (apparently on the Tertullian principle of its being impossible), was derived a movendo, "A mount hath his name of Rad (Wycliffe, Unprinted Works, p. 457, E. E. T. S.), just as "Stella a stando dicitur,—A star, quasi not stir" (T. Adams, Sermons, i. 455). Indeed Thomas Adams is much given to these quaint derivations; so is Thomas Fuller, whose style and vein are very similar. Devil for Do-evil is one of the suggestions of the former (ii. 41), while the latter is responsible for compliment from campleti mentiri (Joseph's Parti-coloured Coat, 1640); malignant, as a political nickname, "from malus ignis (bad fire) or ma lignum (bad fewell)" (Church History, bk. xi. p. 196);—the latter already hinted parenthetically by Quarles, with allusion to the forbidden tree, "totus mundus in maligna (ma/iligno) positus est" (Emblems, I. i.);—crocodile, from the Greek xfttcd-fctto;, or the Saffron-fearer, "proved by the antipathy of the Crocodiles thereunto" ( Worthies of England, i. 336). To Fuller also is due "Needle quasi Ne idle, the industrious instrument" (Id. ii. 50), for a parallel to which he might have adduced the somewhat similar Lithuanian word nede/e, a week, originally the Sabbath, from ne, not, and dielo, labour, and so denoting "the day of rest" (Pictet, Origines Indo-Europeenes, ii. 601; compare negotium, business, from nee otium, "not leisure "). As other old guesses which did duty as etymologies, may be noted Ascham's war, from old Eng. werre (Scot, waur), that thing which is worse than any, and losing, a lie, as if losing; Peacham's penny, from Greek Trivia, poverty, as if the poor man's coin (Worth of a Penny, p. 30, repr. 1813); Latimer's homily from homely, as if a familiar discourse; Henry Smith's marriage from merry age, "because a play-fellow is come to make our age merry " (Sermons, p. 12,1657) ; mastiff from mase-thief; Ben Jonson's crmstable from cyning and staple, "a stay for the king" (Tale of a Tub, iv. 2); rogue "from the Latine error, by putting a G to it"! (Conversations with Drum

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