Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011



Gratitude is a fine thing, and in honor of the one holiday that focuses on gratitude, let’s dip our toes into the etymology of the word thanks. It came to Old English through a heap of loosely related languages including Old Saxon, German, Old Norse, Danish, and Old Frisian. We can still see the relationship with the modern German word danke.

All these terms shared the simple meaning, “to thank.” What I find fascinating is that the Proto-Indo-European grandmother of all these gratitude-expressing words instead meant “to think or to feel.” This might suggest that one must be thinkful in order to be thankful. The flipside being that thinklessness causes thanklessness.

This post is intentionally brief, as I’m hoping you’ll take some time to indulge yourself in thinkfulness and thankfulness. If you are inspired to express gratitude in the comments section, feel free.

My thanks go out to those who read this and to this week’s sources,, the OED, &


  1. Yes, Charlie, I am grateful.

    Thank you for another post on the history of words.

    Happy Thanksgivings!

  2. Hey Anne & Jean Ann,
    Thanks again for your stalwart & regular following skills. It's good to have you aboard.
    All the best,