Posted: 22 May 2007 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  2232
Joined  2007-01-30

This took me by surprise. Here’s the original meaning of the verb dwell, from the OED.

1. trans. To lead into error, mislead, delude; to stun, stupefy. Obs.

c888 K. ÆLFRED Boeth. xxxv. §5 Me {th}inc{th} {th}æt {th}u me dweli{asg}e [MS. Cott. dwelle]. Ibid., {Edh}u rædest ær {th}æt ic {th}e dwealde. Ac me {th}inc{th} selfum {th}æt ic {th}e nauht ne dwelode [MS. Cott. dwelle]. c1000 ÆLFRIC Hom. II. 492 {Th}a..dry~men..ferdon him ætforan mid heora scincræfte, {th}æt folc dweliende. a1300 Cursor M. 17708 {Th}ei fell als {th}ai in duale war dueld [Gött. delued]. Ibid. 28031 Quen yee sa bede your war to sell, {Th}e fole marchandis eth to duell.

Eventually, through several gradations, we get to our familiar sense by the 13th century.

Here’s the etymology.

[OE. dw{ehook}llan, pa. tense *dwalde, dwealde, (later also dw{ehook}lian, -ede, -ode) to lead astray, hinder, delay; also intr. (for refl.) to go astray, err; to be delayed, tarry, stay; corresp. to OHG. tw{ehook}llan, ON. dv{ehook}lja to retard, delay, intr. to stop, MDu. dwellen to stun, make giddy, perplex:{em}OTeut. *dwaljan, causal of strong vb. of ablaut series dwel-, dwal-, dwol-, (dul-), repr. by OHG. gitwelan to be stunned, benumbed, torpid, also to cease, leave off, give up, OS. fordwelan to cease, leave off, OE. pa. pple. {asg}edwolen gone astray, gone wrong, perverted; from an Aryan root dhwel, dhul, appearing in Skr. dhw{rdotbl}, dh{umac}r to mislead, deceive.]

(Apologies for the odd symbols, my browser just can’t cope with them. It doesn’t seem to be down to character encoding, I just don’t think I have the fonts for them on my computer. I trust that the extracts are still intelligible, at least to a degree).

Posted: 22 May 2007 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  429
Joined  2007-02-14

That makes it related to modern Dutch ‘dwalen’ (go astray, wander), ‘verdwalen’ (to get lost) and ‘dwaling’ (n., error). Interesting.

Posted: 22 May 2007 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  1363
Joined  2007-01-29

The Afrikaans use the word “dwaal” (wander, loiter), and there’s also a South African expression (both English and Afrikaans) - he’s in a dwaal - ie he’s daydreaming, confused.

Posted: 22 May 2007 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  1190
Joined  2007-04-28

from: http://www2.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/mwdictsn?va=Dawdle

Main Entry: daw·dle
Pronunciation: ‘do-d&l
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): daw·dled; daw·dling /’do-dli[ng], -d&l-i[ng]/
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: circa 1656
intransitive senses
1 : to spend time idly
2 : to move lackadaisically <dawdled up the hill>
transitive senses : to spend fruitlessly or lackadaisically <dawdled the day away>
synonym see DELAY
- daw·dler /’do-dl&r, -d&l-&r/ noun

Etymology seems known from your posts?

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