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PoiPoi's avatar

What is the origin of the word "word"?

Asked by PoiPoi (274points) May 19th, 2008

How did the word “word” became what it is today? Where did it come from and what language did it come from?

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2 Answers

brownlemur's avatar

O.E. word “speech, talk, utterance, word,” from P.Gmc. *wurdan (cf. O.S., O.Fris. word, Du. woord, O.H.G., Ger. wort, O.N. orĂ°, Goth. waurd), from PIE *were- “speak, say” (see verb). The meaning “promise” was in O.E., as was the theological sense. In the plural, the meaning “verbal altercation” (as in to have words with someone) dates from 1462. Wordy is O.E. wordig “verbose.” Wording “choice of words” apparently was coined by Milton (in “Eikonoklastes,” 1649). Word processor first recorded 1970. A word to the wise is from L. phrase verbum sapienti satis est “a word to the wise is enough.” Word of mouth is recorded from c.1553.

jonno's avatar

Sorry for an unrelated YouTube video, but your question reminded me of this (specifically around the 1:00 mark).

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