Monday, 22 December 2008

Valkyrie and ragout

The Valkyries, warrior-maidens of Scandinavian mythology, get their name from Old Norse valkyrja, from valr "those slain in battle" plus kyrja "chooser". Valr is from Proto-Indo-European *welh₂- "to strike, wound".

Kyrja is from kjósa "to choose" from Proto-Indo-European *ǵeus- "to taste, choose" (also the root of English choose). *ǵeus- became Latin gustāre "to taste" and gustus "taste". Ragout is from French ragouter "to have a taste", formed from re + à + goût "taste" (OED).

*ǵeus- is also found in the name Fergus, meaning "having the strength of men", from Old Irish fer "man" (from *wiH-ro "man") + *ǵeus-.

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