Thursday, 22 May 2008

word, verb, irony, rhetoric

A four-way orgy of etymology.

Proto-Indo-European *werh₁- "to speak" (not to be confused with *wer- or *wērh₂-o- or even *h₂wer- or *wer- or *wer- or *weh₁-r-) in its suffixed zero-grade form *wrh₁-dʰo- became Proto-Germanic *wurđam and then word.

In Latin, *werh₁-dʰo- became verbum "word", which was borrowed into English as verb.

The form *werh₁-yo- became Greek εἴρω eirō "to say". From this came εἴρων eirōn "someone who pretends" and εἰρωνεία eirōneia "pretending, putting on a false appearance". eirōneia was borrowed into Latin as īrōnīa "irony", which became irony thru Old French.

The form *wrē-tōr- became Greek ῥήτωρ rhētōr "public speaker" and English rhetoric.

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