Monday, 24 December 2007


I was thinking of writing about eggnog, but this word's etymology is unknown. It might be derived from noggin "small drink" or nog "strong ale"; another theory is that it's a contraction of egg'n'grog - grog meaning "alcoholic drink". The earliest citation of eggnog in the OED (1825) has just been antedated to 1774 by Heidi Harley.

egg is possibly from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ewi- "bird". Proto-Germanic *ajjam, Old Norse egg. The Old Norse word supplanted Old English ǣg and Middle English ey plural eyren, from the same root.

The verb egg "to incite into action" is from a different PIE root: *h₂eḱ- "sharp". Proto-Germanic *aǥjan, Old Norse eggja.

The suffixed lengthened form *āḱ-ri- became Latin ācer "sharp, bitter", becoming Old French aigre "sour", which combined with vin "wine" to form vinaigre and English vinegar.

The suffixed o-grade form *oḱ-su- became Greek ὀξύς oksus "sharp, sour", and English oxygen.


Gilbert Wesley Purdy said...

Great blog! I've listed it in the sidebar section of my Online Bibliography (where I put all the best links).

One more advantage of Google Books, it turns out, is that they can help track down etymological citations. GB lists a 1735 citation for eggnog. I've posted the details on one of my Virtual Grub Street blogs as the explanation is kind of long for a blog comment and I will want to update the information I've provided re eggnog.

leobloom said...

Extremely well done!
I like your blog very much!

a linguist-wannabe :/

gute Rutsch!