May 13, 2015

Etymology Expeditions: The Lovecraft Edition

I’m in a Lovecraftian mood today, so I picked some of his favorite words to explore. Okay, let’s go for it.

Eldritch, adjective. Merriam-Webster defines it as ‘weird’ or ‘eerie.’ It dates from the 1500s. Origins from Middle English elfriche elf=fairy and riche=kingdom, so … fairyland? Okay, that’s kind of disappointing. Not spooky at all.

Here’s another one.

Gibbous, adjective. This one has three definitions.
1. Marked by swelling.
2. Having a hump.
3. Of the moon or a planet. (This is the one we’re looking for, I think.) Seen with more than half but not all of the disc illuminated. Hmm. Okay.

Origins from Middle English/ late Latin gibbosus, meaning humpbacked, from Latin gibbus, hump. 

Maybe it looks like the moon has a hump or something? Weird.

Final one.

Antediluvian, adjective.
     1. Of or relating to the period before the flood in the Bible
     2. Made a long time ago
     3. Extremely primitive

Origins from Latin ante (before)+ diluvium (flood)

This one is kind of cool. I had no idea that was the origin of the word. You learn something new every day!

I hope you enjoyed this. More to come next Wednesday or wodnesdaeg from Old English Woden Odin and daeg day. And yes, I realise I'm a weirdo.

All word definitions courtesy of

1 comment:

Hello, stranger. What's on your mind?