Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weird Word of the Week: Weird

Did you know that the word "weird," which we usually use as an adjective to describe something strange or out of the ordinary, can also be a noun?

According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, the noun "weird" means "fate" or "destiny" or "fortune" (but usually "ill fortune"), or "soothsayer."

Our "weird" comes from the Middle English "werd" or "wird," which comes from the Old English "wyrd," which is related to the Old Norse "urthr" ("fate") and Old English "weorthan" ("to become").

Does knowing this change the way you'll use the word "weird"? It doesn't for Madame L, who will continue to use the word as she always have, with no concern about weird occult meanings or the idea that someone might "become" anything, especially a soothsayer, because of the use of the word "weird."

(Side note: This is one of the few English words that doesn't follow that old rule we used to have to memorize: "I before E, except after C." Madame L will write about the reasons for the exceptions to that rule in the future.)

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

Hmmm. This helps me - a little bit, anyway - to understand why people at Berkeley called me "Wyrd Wynn".

I just noticed something else here: "at Berkeley" and "in Berkeley" don't mean the same thing.