Sunday, 2 March 2014

sorry and sorrow

are not related! Not etymologically related anyway. They were associated with each other phonologically and semantically in Middle English.

sorry and sore are from PIE *seh₂i- "suffering" (Old English sār "painful" and sārig "distressed, sad" (cognate with West Frisian searich "sore, spotty, scabby")).

sorrow is from PIE *swergh- "worry, be sick" (Old English sorg "anxiety, sorrow").


Shelley said...

Oddly, that makes sense. On a fundamental level, "sorry" and "sorrow" touch on two totally different feelings.

Piotr Gąsiorowski said...

Yes, it's one of the most spectacular coincidences of this kind in English, on a par with cook : cookie and isle : island.