livelong
Posted: 07 July 2015 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Today’s A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg gives us livelong with the following etymology:

From Old English leof (dear, used as an intensifier) + lang (long). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gleubh- (to tear apart), which is also the source of cleve, glyph, clever, clove (garlic), cleave, dermatoglyphics, lief, and lubricious. Earliest documented use: 1450.

The word’s origin is a surprise (I think that’s the theme this week).  It’s funny how the IE root changes from the meaning “to tear apart” to “to come together”.

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Posted: 07 July 2015 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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From Old English leof (dear, used as an intensifier) + lang (long). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gleubh- (to tear apart), which is also the source of cleve, glyph, clever, clove (garlic), cleave, dermatoglyphics, lief, and lubricious. Earliest documented use: 1450.

That etymology is wrong on the face of it; if it were from gleubh- it would start with a c- like cleave and clove.  It is rather from PIE leubh- “to care, desire; love”; see the American Heritage Dictionary Indo-European Roots Appendix (scroll down to leubh-).

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Posted: 07 July 2015 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It’s funny how the IE root changes from the meaning “to tear apart” to “to come together”.

I think we discussed words of this kind quite recently.

“Clove of garlic” is interesting. I never before thought to distinguish it from clove the spice. The latter name derives, of course, from the Latin clavus, “a nail”, presumably because of its shape.  In Spanish, the two kinds of clove are distinguished clearly: spice cloves are clavos de olor, whereas a clove of garlic is un diente de ajo ("a tooth of garlic")

(edit) Query: are there any other English words in which “live” is used in this way, as an intensifier? Can’t think of any offhand.

[ Edited: 07 July 2015 07:24 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 07 July 2015 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Surprised me. This Old English scholar never suspected it.

Query: are there any other English words in which “live” is used in this way, as an intensifier? Can’t think of any offhand.

Apparently not. At least according to the OED.

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Posted: 07 July 2015 05:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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languagehat - 07 July 2015 06:08 AM

From Old English leof (dear, used as an intensifier) + lang (long). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gleubh- (to tear apart), which is also the source of cleve, glyph, clever, clove (garlic), cleave, dermatoglyphics, lief, and lubricious. Earliest documented use: 1450.

That etymology is wrong on the face of it; if it were from gleubh- it would start with a c- like cleave and clove.  It is rather from PIE leubh- “to care, desire; love”; see the American Heritage Dictionary Indo-European Roots Appendix (scroll down to leubh-).

Same origin as “love”, then.

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Posted: 08 July 2015 05:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’ve added livelong to the Big List.

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Posted: 08 July 2015 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Emily Dickinson’s much loved poem “I’m Nobody!  Who are you?” uses the phrase “livelong June”:

I’m Nobody!  Who are you?
Are you—Nobody—too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell!  They’d advertise you know!

How dreary—to be—Somebody.
How public—like a Frog --
To tell one’s name—the livelong June --
To an admiring Bog!

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Posted: 09 July 2015 12:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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What a charming poem.  Until now, I only knew “livelong” from I’ve been working on the railroad”.....

Perhaps the time has come to update Ms. Dickinson’s words ----- how about “....to an admiring blog” ???

;-)

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Posted: 09 July 2015 01:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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"an admiring blog”

Nice thinking, Lionello!  Makes sense...frog/weblog

:-{)

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Posted: 11 July 2015 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Dave Wilton - 08 July 2015 05:00 AM

I’ve added livelong to the Big List.

Good entry, Dave. I had no idea at all that the first element of the word was unconnected with live, exist.

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