Thursday, 23 April 2009

borscht, fastidious, bristle

The Proto-Indo-European root is *bʰars- "projection, bristle, point" (the American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots says this is Pokorny bhar- 108 but I think they mean Pokorny bhares 109-110). The form *bʰrs-tio- became Russian борщ boršč "cow parsnip", due to its sharp leaves. This was one of the ingredients of borscht.

The form *bʰrs-ti- perhaps became Latin fastus "pride" from the notion of prickliness, and also fastīdium "disdain" (from *fasti-tīdium from fastus plus taedium "loathing"), borrowed into English as fastidious.

*bʰars- became English bristle, and also braird, a word for the first shoots of grass, corn or other crops. The OED quotes a Scottish proverb: "There is no breard like midding breard" (Kelly,
A complete collection of Scotish proverbs 1721). Midding is midden - I guess because corn grows well there.

7 comments :

Nick said...

Do you teach English? Let me guess...as a second language?

Nick said...

As for English plurals like "agenda", I was always taught it was "agendum" singular and agenda(sing or plur) or agendas plural because it's a borrowed word from Latin so English can do whatever it might want with it.

The media are lambasting President Bush would be the correct way to say this because "media" is a plural group(collective) noun.

Nick said...

Are you from Scotland? or England or Canada? I noticed you had written "favour" when you messaged me and that is usually an indication that someone is not American. I really am just curious.

goofy said...

Nick, I'm Canadian.

Nick said...

Thanks!

Nick said...

Do you teach English?

Nick said...

Why'd you delete your comment? I mean, I wanted to hear your reply.