We all know about the word peccadillo, meaning a small sin or fault and perhaps about picadillo, a spicy Spanish dish made of seasoned ground meat and vegetables. The former has Italian origins, while the latter has Spanish origins.
How many other words can you come up with that are very close in spelling, but have different roots?
Well, one is niggard (of Scandinavian origin) which means "stingy". I've forgotten for a moment how to spell the other one is but it's of Spanish origin and comes from the word for "black"
Not what you asked, Kalleh, but here's another one probably from the same Spanish root as your spicy dish - this item is said to be how the London street got its name (a 17thc landowner made his fortune there from these):
A piccadill or pickadill is a large broad collar of cut-work lace that became fashionable in the late 16th century and early 17th century.
The term may originate from a conjectured Spanish word picadillo, from picado meaning punctured or pierced. This is similar to the Spanish word picadura, used for the lace collars of the seventeenth century that contained much elaborate cut work.
auger (a tool for boring holes), a Middle English contraction of an Old English term meaning 'nave drill', and augur (portend good or bad), from Latin (religious official who interpreted omens)
cleave "to separate" from Old English clēofan and cleave "to adhere" from Old English clīfan. They are not related.
miniature from Latin miniāre "to make red" and minor, minus, minuscule, minimum from Latin minus "smaller".
female from Latin fēmina "woman" and male from Latin mās "male".
human from Latin hūmānus and man from Old English man.
whole from Old English hāl and holistic from Greek ὅλος.
Nice examples! Goofy, from your site I found this:
I have always thought cushy to mean "easy," such as, "He really has a cushy job." Indeed, Dictionary.com agrees with me as to the definition and says it's "less likely" that it originates from Hindi, stating that it's "probably" from "cushion."
The OED says it's from Hindi fwiw, although there don't seem to be any south Asian connections in the citations.This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
Island from Old English īegland and isle from Latin insula.
somatic from Greek σῶμα "body" and soma the drug from Sanskrit सोम.
ooze "soft mud or slime" from Old English wāse "mire, mud" and ooze "to flow slowly" from Old English wos "sap" of unknown origin.
impregnable from French imprenable "not able to be taken" and impregnate from Latin impraegnāre "to make pregnant". They are not related at all; they even use different in- prefixes.This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
You are good, goofy!
I think I'll have to believe the OED, the Gold Standard.
Just came across this one:
diffuse - Latin 'diffusus', past part. of diffundere "to pour out or away"
defuse - de (Latin prefix undoing the verb's action, used as an Eng. word-former) + fuse, from Latin 'fusus' (spindle)
One sees fairly regularly the mistake: "to 'diffuse' a situation"
Goofy, 2 questions:
(1)RE: whole/holistic - do you have a phonetic spelling for the Greek root of holistic? Is it unrelated to the PIE 'koilas' which I read is the root for the OE/Germanic roots of 'whole'?
(2)The human/man and female/male pairs are so interesting! Etymonline says 14thc ms changed the spelling of'femelle' to 'female', assuming an incorrect parallel to 'male'. But I wonder why 'human' - L. humanus - is assumed to be related to L.'homini'. Isn't there also a possibility that the Latin word was based on the PIE root 'man'?
do you have a phonetic spelling for the Greek root of holistic?
Greek ὅλος (holos) < PIE *solo- 'every, all': cf. Sanskrit sarva 'whole, every, all'. It's from an entirely different root than English whole.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
No, it's from a root similar to hōmo plus the suffix -ānus "belonging to". Although the reason for the vowel change is unclear.
thanks, zmj & goofy!
villain - vilify
Love this thread. This example was in Goofy's link above but since I lazily did not read that before, came upon it myself. The link explains that villain comes from L. villa (farm) & morphed in meaning from farm hand/boor/churl to its current purely negative sense. Left out of the explanation: vilify and its relative vile come from L. vilis, cheap or base; 'vilify' to lower in value graduated to today's 'to slander, spak evil of'.
Home Anus? I've known a few!
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
Yes, but... how did they both end up with "pregn"? I get it in the case of "impregnate": im + prae (before) + gnasci (OL form of nascere to be born)-- the Old Latins threw in that "nya" sound, created by 'gn', that we still see in Italian today... But what of the "gn" in "impregnable", which simply doesn't belong there? This goes back to L. prehendere (to grasp, take - think of the prehensile thumb), which became "prendre" in French. So the French dropped the pesky 'h' -- but the English supposedly 'added an intrusive g in the 15thc. along the model of deign, reign'... Huh? Both deign and reign come by their "g's" directly from the word root so there's no parallel. Anybody know anything about 'intrusive g's' a few centuries ago? I've only heard of that to mean pronouncing the English ending "ing" as "ing-ah".
AND while I'm at it. I noticed there is YET ANOTHER word root for "pregnant"! In its secondary meaning, the adjective pregnant modifies, e.g., evidence or an argument as being convincing, weighty, compelling. This goes back to L. premere, to press, which became priembre then preindre (obviously related to Engl 'print' and Fr 'imprimer'). Who put the "g" in there??
how did they both end up with "pregn"? I get it in the case of "impregnate": im + prae (before) + gnasci (OL form of nascere to be born)--the Old Latins threw in that "nya" sound, created by 'gn', that we still see in Italian today...
Classical Latin gn /gn/ was not pronounced the same way as today's Italian gn or Spanish ñ /ɲ/.
But what of the "gn" in "impregnable", which simply doesn't belong there? This goes back to L. prehendere (to grasp, take - think of the prehensile thumb), which became "prendre" in French. So the French dropped the pesky 'h' -- but the English supposedly 'added an intrusive g in the 15thc. along the model of deign, reign'... Huh? Both deign and reign come by their "g's" directly from the word root so there's no parallel. Anybody know anything about 'intrusive g's' a few centuries ago? I've only heard of that to mean pronouncing the English ending "ing" as "ing-ah".
Well, sometimes folks added letters which they felt belong. That's how Middle English parfit (cf. French parfait) got its intrusive 'c', which after a while people started to pronounce. Not sure what you're on about with -ing. The suffix is pronounced by some as /ɪŋ/ and others as /ɪn/. In neither is there a /g/ sound. Now if you compare how Germans pronounce Finger 'finger' and we pronounce finger, you'll see we've stuck a 'g' in there: German /'fɪŋɚ/ and English /'fɪŋgɚ/. (NB, that there is no intrusive 'g' in English singer /'sɪŋgɚ/.
There are all kinds of intrusive letters to be had, mainly because English has a crazy and unsystematic spelling "system". One of my favorites is the 'd' in admiral. Go back to the original emir[ from the Arabic and there's no 'd', but somewhere, somebody got to "correcting" French forms and noticed that the 'd' in words like adventure had been misplaced by the French, who did not pronounce the 'd' anyway, and so, they stuck one in for admiral, thinking erroneously that the word had a Latin origin. There is a famous saying in historical linguistics "Chaque mot a son histoire" (every word has its history).
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
That doesn't matter. Some words contained g before n , so g was added to another word by analogy.
Thanks for that! This pregnant was associated with the other pregnant from an early date and the spelling was influenced by it (says the OED).