Category Archives: Etymological Illuminations

Fonny Games, So Full of Fun

FUN indeed!  How amazing that Middle English’s cheating, hoaxing, befooling fon shape-shifted down the centuries to its near polar opposite…frolicsome, amusing fun.  How is it that the horrid hoax became amusing, playful? Is it too much to read into this some optimistic lightening-up in the human psyche?  Or did we just give in to our shadow side and call it “Bob’s your uncle”?  Whatever.  We moderns only call into use its ancient dark root hidden in funny – as in funny (counterfeit) money, or when our gut ponders if there wasn’t something funny about that guy/situation/thing, something suspiciously, strangely odd.

Hmm.


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Holler!

HELLO, is it?  Hollo! Hallo! Halloo! is what your ancient Old High German/Old French predecessor did shout, bellow, exclaim, roar.  A loud cry to call attention:  quarry spotted, trespasser warned, ferryman hailed, objection exclaimed, greeting chorused, champion exhorted!  These days, it is tamed to the decorus emollient of everyday encounter…but still we sometimes holler.


Etymological illuminations brought to you by Jane

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