Etymology Tuesday (a day late)

Hi everyone! It’s Wednesday, but I’m doing Etymology Tuesday anyway.  I think I deserve it as a reward for getting fourteen chapters of manuscript and a synopsis sent out yesterday.

So, from the Online Etymology Dictionary, here are the histories of three words I recently used in my novel.

Knapsack: c.1600, from Low Ger. Knapsack (Du. knapzak), probably from knappen “to eat” lit. “to crack, snap” + Sack “bag” (see sack (n.1)).

While the knapsack isn’t all that important to the story, it is important to one of the characters. It’s one of the first things she’s ever been given as a gift.

Drown: c.1300, trans. and intrans., perhaps from an unrecorded derivative word of O.E. druncnian (M.E. druncnen) “be swallowed up by water” (originally of ships as well as living things), probably from the base of drincan “to drink.” Modern form is from northern England dialect, probably influenced by O.N. drukna “be drowned.” Related: Drowned; drowning.

This one’s important as part of the adventurers’ journey is underwater and only a couple of them can swim well, and one of them can’t swim at all.  Someone might be in trouble!

Possession: mid-14c., “act or fact of possessing,” also “that which is possessed,” from L. possessionem (nom. possessio), from pp. stem of possidere “to possess.” Legal property sense is earliest; demonic sense first recorded 1580s.

This definition definitely doesn’t get across the invasion and the pain that my two characters suffer when they become possessed. It’s a very violent occurrence, and not something anyone would choose to experience.

Hope you liked these words and their histories. More next week (on time perhaps?). Ta-ta!


~ by lamichaud on July 25, 2012.

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