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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

School


School

This time of year in the northern hemisphere, students & teachers are heading back to school. This post takes a look at some of the words we associate with school.

A student is one who studies, though in modern American culture, not every student who fits the definition of study established in the early 1100s, to strive toward, devote oneself, cultivate or show zeal for. Of note is the fact that study’s mother word from Proto-Indo-European was (s)teu-. Its meaning may fit another percentage of the modern student population, to push, stick, knock or beat. Then again, it’s possible that pushing, knocking & beating may be a figurative reference to the parents & teachers “encouraging” those students who aren’t naturally showing zeal for their education.

The first English form of the word teach was tæcan, which meant to show, point out, declare, direct, warn, persuade or demonstrate. It came from Proto-Indo-European & is related to the words diction, dictionary, dictate, & token.

The word education came to English in the 1400s from the Latin verb educare/educere, to rear, educate, train, nourish, or support, made of the word parts ex + ducere, & meaning to lead out or draw forth.

Old English’s leornian, to get knowledge, be cultivated, study or read, gave us our modern word learn, which came from the Proto-Indo-European word leis, to follow or find the track or furrow.

And last, the word school showed up in Old English through Latin from the Greek word skhole, meaning spare time, leisure, rest, ease or idleness, because one didn’t engage in such things as learning until the work of surviving was done. Given that, I find it fascinating that skhole comes from the Proto-Indo-European word segh, which meant to hold in one’s power.

Please leave a thought or two about all this in the comments section.



My thanks go out to this week’s sources: OED, Merriam Webster, Wordnik, & Etymonline

8 comments:

  1. Looks like you're writin' in redneck-speak there, Mr. Monger. We can get us some book-leornian in skhole, huh?

    And school means holding onto power? I think that's still true. :-)

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  2. For most of my time within the walls of academe, I was the type of (s)teud-ents who needed a whole bunch of pushing, sticking, knocking, and beating, not to mention clubbing, pleading, and smacking upside the head.

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  3. I miss being in your class. That's the first comment that comes to mind.

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  5. Francis Bacon was right, "knowledge is power."

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  6. Hey Trevor, Heather, Anne & Anonymous - thanks for coming by. Anonymous, you are not alone. A lot of students need a bit of a thump now & then, not like Trevor, who I miss having in class after lo these many years. I also miss Heather's phenomenally positive energy --no thumping needed there.

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  7. The origin of the word "school" surprised me. It makes sense, though.

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  8. Howdy Vickie! It's true. Those crazy etymologists come up with some nutty stuff, don't they?

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