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, 2016



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 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 about anything at all in the comments section, feel free.

Big thanks to this week’s sources:, the OED, &

(this is a slightly revised re-posting of a post I wrote in 2011)


  1. May you have a thinkful holiday, Mr. Monger!

  2. And may thinkfulness bring you joy.

  3. Thinkfulness and thankfulness. Good things to carry with us into the next year. I am thankful for you and all of your imparted wisdom on these pages.

    1. Hi Christine - As I'm thankful/thinkful for your friendship.