Sunday, 12 April 2009

bollocks and folly

The AHD tells us that Proto-Indo-European *bʰel- "blow, swell" became Old English beallucas "testicles", then modern bollix, bollocks. The -ock diminutive suffix is found in other words such as hawk (earlier heafoc), bullock, hillock and buttock.

Also according to the AHD, *bʰel- became Latin follis "bellows", as in "windbag, fool". This became French folie, and English folly and fool. The Latin diminutive folliculus "little bag" became follicle.

2 comments :

Drew said...

Honest to god, I hadn't checked your blog since before the weekend and wrote about bollocks myself by total coincidence.

What an amazing word to synchronize for.

Glen Gordon said...

Strange about the blogger coincidence. I guess "butt" was just written in the stars this week... {giggles}. Oh how crass I am.

But seriously now, I never had realized that -ock was a diminutive suffix before, apparently from Old English. Great stuff.