Tuesday, 29 September 2009

vanilla and vagina

Proto-Indo-European *weh₂g- "to break; split, bite" (AHD) (or "cover, sheath") became Latin uāgīna "sheath", because sheaths were probably made from a simple split piece of wood.

Latin uāgīna became Spanish vaina, the diminutive of which is vaynilla/vainilla, borrowed into English as the word for the sheath-shaped vanilla bean. Cf. Italian vainiglia, Portuguese bainilha, French vanille.

Also: etymological vaginas (seen on the Valve).


Glen Gordon said...

Eeeeeeeew. Lol.

Adam Roberts said...

And here's something I wrote a while ago about Lord Byron's vagina. If I'd thought to add vanilla (as it were) into the mix of that piece, what a splendid thing it would have been!